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Buying American Cars What Does It Mean?

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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,883
    I can easily change the oil in the Wrangler, '02, and X3 without raising them an inch. On the ti I raise up the right side with my floor jack and stick a piece of 4X4 under the RF wheel. That gives me enough room to get under the car and pull the drain plug. I then lower it and let the oil drain- repeating the procedure to refit the plug.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited September 2013
    "Let me see-
    My 1993 Taurus went 325000 miles before I gave it up. It drove to the scrap yard, and the kid there took one look at it and bought it for himself.
    My 2000 Intrepid has 175000 miles now. I just spent(happily) $1200 on needed repairs this Summer. The old girl still gets 30 mpg every day I drive her. A great comfortable commuter.
    I have done absolutely no repairs to my 2007 Focus. 130000 miles. Just tires, brakes and oil changes.
    Would I buy another domestic sedan?
    Why not?"

    I don't think anyone would consider what you've experienced anything less than a personal success story. In your case, I'd be asking the very same question..."Why not?"

    But, there are a few caveats to consider.

    As an example, Volvo has created a "high mileage club" for owners of Volvos that have attained mileage amounts comparable or in excess to what you have done. However, I doubt the average Volvo owner would reasonably expect 250K trouble-free miles, even with the appropriate maintenance performed.

    IMO, you attained your mileage levels because of the way you treated your vehicles, rather than getting it because of the way your vehicles treated you.

    As a side note, my BIL just crossed the 275K mile mark in his 2000 Buick. If you asked him, he'd tell you the car has been a trouble-free car, but he has a tendency to forget the number of times he's been stranded on the side of the road, waiting for a tow truck. The last time he visited us, the car had 2" of water in the floorboard, due to a non-draining A/C evaporator. To him, that wasn't anything to be concerned about. He borrowed my drill and punched a few holes in the floorboard. He was in a work car pool until the other 3 riders kicked him out, due to the lack of reliability of his chosen vehicle.

    I'm not suggesting you're anything like him, or that your experience is anything other than exactly what you described. Still, excessively high mileage figures on any make are usually far more anecdotal than an expected reality for most owners.

    The point is that, given the proper maintenance, just about any modern car can run unlimited mileage. Overall, the thing that once spelled doom for an automobile (rust) is nowhere near the issue it once was, and the mechanicals can be maintained indefinitely. I suspect the new "killer" of modern autos is going to be the electronics, or rather the long-term availability of replacement electronic parts...
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,966
    Yep, I also believe for proper oil drainage the car must be perfectly flat, if not level. :-) I think I'd trust my Chinese floor jacks more than a 4x4 though.

    My CJ-5 was easy too. I even pulled the gas tank one time by just crawling under.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,173
    I cannot imagine owning a vehicle with 200k miles or more. I made the mistake of buying a 1999 Ford Ranger V6 FFV with 106k miles on it. Seemed ok driving around the block. We live in the hills and that was a totally gutless pig. At 114k the engine gave up and I traded it on a used Nissan Frontier which is 10 times the truck that Ranger was. No better mileage. Both were lucky to get 17 MPG. Just NO Substitute for a diesel engine.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    This guy proved high mileage can be done...

    http://autos.yahoo.com/news/the-first-car-to-3-million-miles-.html

    Although, if he really did have all the maintenance done, especially by a 3rd party, there's no telling how many new Volvos he could have driven for the same $$$...
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,173
    Those are one of the few Volvos that had any real style. Keeping a classic like that up and running is commendable. I have been driving 54 years and don't think I am even close to a million miles. That is way too much driving for me to think about. That would be 150+ miles per day every day for 54 years. No thanks.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,883
    Every car in the RB garage has over 100k on the clock except for my wife's car. We drove the 2004 X3 to church today; at 156k it is still tight and rattle-free. The last used oil analysis indicated that the engine was in excellent condition, so I'm confident that it will serve us well for several more years.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    gagrice said: "I cannot imagine owning a vehicle with 200k miles or more."

    It is kind of a problem when you have a great Japanese brand such as Honda or Nissan. When you get near or over 200K and everything is fine and you like your car, you look for excuses to get rid of it and buy a new car. Probably boredom and looking for something different.

    We finally got rid of a 247K Honda, a 195K Honda, and a 191K Nissan when we got bored and wanted something more current in style, features, etc. and ended up with what? Another Japanese brand. Maybe American brands will be tempt us what with Cadillac and Chevrolet having some interesting offerings. Question remains about reliability.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,427
    >> Yep, I'd just as soon not fool with jacks or jack stands.

    Amen to that!

    I changed the oil today on our minivan and used ramps and was thinking, I'll not do the jackstand thing again if I can help it. Somehow when I was in my 20s it didn't bother me, but I *hate* getting under a car. Ramps I trust. Especially the steel kind...

    Must be getting old.

    Cheers -Mathias
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,173
    It is kind of a problem when you have a great Japanese brand such as Honda or Nissan. When you get near or over 200K and everything is fine and you like your car, you look for excuses to get rid of it and buy a new car. Probably boredom and looking for something different.

    Or you have a Japanese vehicle that was out dated technology wise when you bought it new. Our 07 Sequoia has a lot of good characteristics, such as comfort, roominess, reliability. What it has always lacked is handling, fuel economy and decent electronics. It was my first experience with a NAV. I expected it to be at least close to up to date. When I realized freeways that were at least 3 years old that did not exist. I looked at the DVD that has all the maps. It has a 2005 copyright. Hmmm I have a 2007 top of the line limited Toyota with a 3 year old map DVD. When I mentioned to the service guy he was like whatever. Should be a new one soon. Well soon came in 2009 when they had an updated DVD that they offered me for $500. By then I was using a handheld that was better and cost under $200. The Nav also went dead in 2009 and took months for Toyota to get a new one from India. As a purely people hauler heavy duty vehicle it is fine. I am glad to be rid of it. More than likely my last Japanese vehicle.

    If I am ready to update my PU within the next few years I will look at the Ram diesel. Maybe some other domestic diesels will be available.

    I really do not see the attraction to Honda. Having rented a 2010 Accord for two weeks and ridden in a friends CRV, they are not anything I would consider buying.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,989
    edited September 2013
    I'd have no problem OWNING a car with over 200K on it, I'd just have a problem giving you more than $500 for it.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    I changed the oil today on our minivan and used ramps and was thinking, I'll not do the jackstand thing again if I can help it. Somehow when I was in my 20s it didn't bother me, but I *hate* getting under a car. Ramps I trust. Especially the steel kind...

    I seem to be missing something here. What's the problem with jack stands? Floor jacks, yes, absolutely, I understand not wanting to get under a car / truck supported only by a floor jack. But I've never seen nor heard of a jack stand collapsing.
  • are deadly. I put my faith in a good set of jack stands, properly installed on a solid level surface. Jacking a car up and putting blocks under the tires is another safer alternative. I do this when I really have to get it high up.
    One day I am going to splurge on a small garage lift. There are several inexpensive models available. I just need to do something with the low roof.
  • I traded a couple posts with you on the Intrepid forum. It has since degenerated into a complaint board where people who bought a old used car complain about it. Very few original owners left.
  • Buying a car, and driving it well past the last payment provides the most cost effective ownership experience. I maintain my vehicles, and I try to be proactive with repairs. Any vehicle regardless of age or mileage can break down- just go to any new car dealership and watch what comes into the service dept. I commute 100+ miles a day, so reliability is critical to me. Tires and brakes etc are consumables regardless whether your car is three or thirteen years old. This summer I put an alternator, a/c compressor, front struts, tie rods, sway bar bushings-front and back, and an exhaust on my 14 yr old car. Plus a couple small items. The total was less than 4 months new car payment.....a reasonable risk. The biggest chunk I have spent at any one time as well.
    Rust is still the big killer of autos where I live-the salt used in winter rots everything. The old Dodge is starting to go underneath and at a couple other spots-I will keep an eye out, and retire her when it comes time.
    Two more years please???
    PS to keep on topic(kinda)-parts for "American Cars" are cheap and readily available. A friend of mine recently bought an "Un-american car" for his wife.....Range Rover (used). Enuff said........
  • certainly means less today than ever. Cars are produced globally out of globally sourced parts. There is less difference today than ever wrt build quality, parts quality etc than ever before. I would happily buy a "domestic" car or an "import". It all depends on the particular car, price etc..
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,173
    I have tried over the last 40 years to buy vehicles built in USA. Most of the domestic trucks were built in Canada or Mexico. The only one a 2005 GMC Sierra Hybrid was USA built and not as well assembled as the foreign assembled ones. 2007 I bought a Sequoia that was 60% US made and better built than the GMC. The 2008 Nissan Frontier 55% US made also much better than the Ford Ranger it replaced. This time I was determined to get a diesel SUV and ended up with one totally made from foreign parts. I will keep everyone posted on how well it does.

    For 2014 the top selling GM vehicles the Sierra and Silverado are down to 40% US content and 51% Mexican. With final assembly both US & M. Our tax dollars at work in Mexico. The 2013 Sierra and Silverado were both 67% US and 29% Mexican made.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,151
    Did you do a lot of that work yourself? The last major expense I had on my 2000 Intrepid was when the a/c compressor seized up, and ended up contaminating the whole system. It was my own fault, as I knew it was low on Freon. I was trying to hold off until warmer weather to get it fixed, but one winter morning, picking up a friend from the airport, and running the defroster, it seized up about a half mile from home.

    That bill was $1300...about 4 months of car payments right there!

    Kinda sad that the Intrepid forum has degenerated like that. But, considering the last LH rolled off the assembly line sometime in September 2003, I guess it was destiny. Funny thing is, after I bought the Park Ave, I never really frequented the Park Ave forum on Edmund's. I guess I just didn't bond with this car the way I did the old Trep!

    Last year I bought a 2012 Ram, and I don't think I've even set foot in a Dodge Ram forum on Edmund's. And they say pickup buyers are the most fiercely loyal of all! :-/
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Mr Shift states: "I'd have no problem OWNING a car with over 200K on it, I'd just have a problem giving you more than $500 for it."

    Got $1000 cash for the 14-year old Honda with 247K on it after putting in an ad in a newspaper.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,989
    Well that's a fair enough price really for anything that can drive around the block.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,151
    I was kinda shocked that my uncle was able to get $2000 in trade for his '03 Corolla, which had about 240K on it, and was pretty beat. Of course, being a trade, sometimes they'll fudge the numbers. But he got (I thought, at least) a pretty good deal on the 2013 Camry he traded on. It was at CarMax.

    For comparison, one of my friends traded an '04 Crown Vic with about 232K on it last year, at CarMax. He traded for an '09 Grand Marquis, and they only gave him $300! And his Crown Vic was in a LOT better shape than my uncle's Corolla was.

    Now, I just wish I could get my mother to realize that nobody in their right mind would pay the ~$2,000 that KBB says her 340K 1999 Altima is worth. :-P
  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    I've always thought the online pricing guides (or, in the old days, the NADA Blue Book) were too lenient when it came to high miles. The "standard" is supposed to be 12k miles per year, if memory serves, and anything over that is to be penalized. But the deduct for 150k miles on a 5 or 6 year old used car is not nearly as high in the books as what it should be in my mind.

    It's getting harder and harder to find a used car with no more than 12 to 15k per year on the clock. I have been reading that Americans are driving less the last few years, but you couldn't prove it by me. My experience used car shopping would indicate the opposite.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,966
    The "standard" here has been 15,000 miles for many years. We use that number for TCO as well as TMV.

    Got new tires for my '99 van a few month back, which tripled its value. But I probably would just keep it instead of selling it for the ~$500 TMV.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Not so. The Honda had mainly highway, interstate miles. Drove very well. Was very tight and rattle free, good paint, very little rust, excellent shape interior. This in contrast to my Chevrolet Suburban of the exact same vintage year as the Honda. The quality, reliability, body integrity, engine, interior of the two was light years apart. And, the Chevrolet had one-third the overall miles being it was used mainly for utility, was garage kept. Chevrolet of that vintage year was far inferior to the Honda in every regard. Of course, hauling capacity not included here.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,151
    edited September 2013
    I've always heard that the standard is 10-12,000 per year when you're trading a used car to the dealer, but when you're buying one from the dealer, suddenly it's 15,000.

    Regardless, once a car gets to a certain mileage, I don't think it deserves a low-mileage credit. For instance, my '68 Dart was 42 model years old when I got rid of it, and had 338,000 miles on it. That may only be 8,047 miles per year, but that car was NOT low mileage! :P
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,173
    The most expensive part of keeping vehicles you don't drive much is the insurance and license. This year on the 24 year old LS400 smog and license $188. Liability insurance $320. New battery was $124 as the 6 year battery went bad at 4 years just sitting in the garage most of the time. Add a $70 synthetic oil change. I would sell it and save us $58 a month. Its the wife's baby. So it gets a spot in our 3 car garage.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,173
    The above mentioned 24 year old Lexus has 105K miles on the odo. That is low mileage. I don't think anyone would pay much attention. As it would take someone that wants a first year LS400 in primo condition. They seem to be going around $5000.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,151
    edited September 2013
    How many miles per year does that Lexus get driven? Even if the wife loves it, does it get used enough to keep it around? Also, with it taking up garage space, does that force another car to sit out in the elements?

    BTW, what would the going rate be for a garage space these days, I wonder, if you had to rent one? I wonder if that should be factored into the cost of the car?

    I had a 4-car garage built back in late 2005, and it was finished up in early 2006. I'm probably in that garage about $33,000 at this point, and had full use of it for about 7 1/4 years. I figure that works out to around $95 per month, per space. Not too expensive, I guess. But, if I didn't have the old cars, I never would have had to build it!

    **Edit...wow Gagrice, you must have been reading my mind!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,989
    high miles is not only about how the car looks and drives, but it's about statistics.

    At 250,000 miles, a car could look and drive fine, and just let loose in one catastrophic moment, and nobody would say "Gee, only 250,000 miles and your transmission burned up..."

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,173
    Most of the miles this year were put on by my wife's niece and family. They were here for 3 weeks in June. They did leave it spotless full of gas and a $30 gift certificate for Phil's BBQ. Best experience yet lending a car. Just looking at the spreadsheet. It had 106,805 when I got it smogged a week ago. All original exhaust and emissions. And it was way below the max on all the tests. It had 96k when I first added it to my spreadsheet in January 2009. Less than 3000 a year. We drive it to the zoo or downtown. Just to keep it charged up. I don't like the low slung tuna boat ride. Not bad as cars go. A heck of a lot better than the Accord we rented in Indiana. I did put a new set of Michelins on it back in 2009. She had some nearly new off brand tires a friend sold her. One had a bubble that caused the car to shimmy. Needless to say the friend and tire shop was gone. I don't buy cheap tires even for a parked car. And yes it takes a space in the garage. I don't think I would put the PU in there anyway.
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