Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Go Green By Driving It 'Til The Wheels Fall Off



  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,584
    He said that he wants to cry when he sees cars declared totaled, that could be repaired, because of a stupid Maryland law that was passed by the powerful dealer and salvage yard lobbies. I'm not sure exactly what the law states, but it's something to the effect that a vehicle MUST be totaled if the damage is some percentage (75%, maybe, or something well below 100%) of the used value. I don't know whether the value used is wholesale or retail. Anyway, other states have variations of this law on the books, and it doesn't favor the consumer.

    Unless things have changed since 1998 when my '86 Monte Carlo got t-boned, it only takes a crash that's estimated at 60% of the car's retail value to get it totaled.

    I think where the aggravation with the new law comes in is this, though: If you decide to keep your car and fix it, you have 90 days to get it fixed, and inspected, and you're only issued a salvage title. So, you have to hustle to get the car fixed. And even if you do it all yourself, you still have to get the car inspected, so a repair shop is going to profit...and they're going to inspect the whole car, not just the repair. And, with a salvage title, I'd imagine your car is pretty much worthless.

    Initially, I was going to try and fix my Intrepid myself. I was in the process of splicing the wiring harness back together, and was planning on buying another headlight assembly, either from a junkyard or a dealer if necessary. I was willing to live with the slight damage to the hood and fender, and the front fascia could be reattached. Oh, and a reservoir bottle had also been broken...windshield fluid, I think.

    But, when the insurance adjuster said I'd have to get it inspected and the car would just get a salvage title, I decided to let it go. At that point, it was ten years old and had 150,000 miles on it. It could have lasted for years, but who knows? It could have lost the transmission a couple months later, or the engine could have sludged up, or it might have developed some serious electrical problems from an amateurishly spliced together wiring harness. So, I took the $1988 and bidded the car a fond farewell.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,068
    ...I'll probably be keeping my Grand Marquis until the wheels fall off. I have no doubt it will endure mechanically, but it's getting beat to heck being in the city and parked out on the street. My wife's LaCrosse looks like it'll be around a while, but it's only got 71K on it.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,560
    So I think 12 years is really pushing what is realistically possible.

    I would have to argue that point. I would think that it would be easy to get a car past 200K these days with little work outside regular maintence. Not to mention that at 12 years a typical driver would be at 150K to 160K give or take. I would think that what is realistically possible is closer to 15 years.

    There are three types of people in this world. Those who are good at math and those who are not.

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,931
    edited October 2013
    Ruking1 came up with an interesting angle that could be affecting our increased car sales - the European makers can't sell their cars at home and that's probably helping to keep our car prices attractive and helping to pump sales a bit.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,269
    edited October 2013
    I wonder how much of a factor sentimental value influences the average years of ownership.

    It certainly influences me. I have four vehicles that I (or a family member) have owned for a long, long time. The fewest years of ownership on any of those is 16 years, and the newest of the vehicles is 37 years old.

    But, that sentimentality is also tempered by my personal requirement that each vehicle be in good operating condition for its purpose. So, if I'm not willing to put in the effort to keep it there, then it is time for the vehicle to go. As such, my daily drivers (which are quite new in comparison, even when I do buy one that is 10+ years of age) tend to be cycled through rather than retained.

    Even so, I've only sold four cars thus far (with a fifth one having been destroyed in a crash), and I have purchased seven (three new, four used) and acquired all of my others (the four old ones) by other means.

    I think part of the purchases were due to a growing family. Had we never had my daughter, for example, I think my vehicle purchases would be at least three fewer. :blush:
  • 15 years is certainly possible for a modern car but between cosmetic damage, environmental wear and tear, and the continually escalating costs of car repair, keeping a car that long could turn out to be a rather grim determination rather than something rational.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,931
    edited October 2013
    Ah, but they're "disposable" at that point. And after 15 years, you could have saved enough to buy a new or used one to replace it if it dies and the repair price exceeds your pain point.
  • I'm kinda fussy. I don't like to drive some worn out crap car. If it looks sharp, drove well and was safe, I wouldn't mind how old it was--but I don't do shabby. Dents, faded paint, rust spots--are intolerable.

    You can often tell how well off a person is if you see little orange flecks of seat stuffing on their jacket :)
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,269
    Dents, faded paint, rust spots--are intolerable.

    That's funny! I have never had any issues with these (though haven't needed to deal with rust on any of my cars), but I am fussy about interiors and mechanical health. If the interior doesn't clean up well and I can't get it running right, I don't want it.
  • What I meant was rust holes. As for some faded clear coat, I could live with that.

    Interiors have to be clean and fresh though. I can't drive inside a dumpster.
  • slorenzenslorenzen Posts: 241
    re: your wife's Lacrosse,

    What year is it, and what motor does it have?

    I've been considering a used one, and I see them with different motor options.

    I'm tired of the road noise in my Honda...

    Might even get a used Lucerne.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,584
    edited October 2013
    From time to time, I've thought about a used Lucerne, as well, to replace my 2000 Park Avenue Ultra. I just worry about the engines, though. I've heard the 3.8 is pushing its limit in these cars, and the 3.9 isn't much better. I'd have to get the Northstar to get the performance of my old Ultra, but fuel economy will suffer. And I do wonder about the long-term reliability and repair cost of the Northstar, as it ages.

    Another issue is that I got used to the stretch-out room in the Park Ave, and they just don't make 'em that big anymore. The Lucerne feels smaller inside. Even the Ford Panthers feel smaller inside...more shoulder room, but legroom and headroom are tighter. So, I'm just going to have to resign myself to the fact that any newer car I get is going to be smaller inside. I'd have to go for one of those long-wheelbase BMW 7-series or something equivalent from the Germans to get something that feels that big, I'm afraid. And, those are a bit too blue for my blood!

    Oh, as for Lemko's wife's Lacrosse, he'll probably answer soon, but it's a 2005 and has the regular 200 hp 3.8. I think the Lacrosse was offered with the 200 hp 3.8, the supercharged 3.8 (had 240 hp in my Park Ave, not sure about the Lacrosse), and a handful of them had a 5.3 V-8! I don't think the Chevy 3.9 ever got put in the Lacrosse, but I could be wrong.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,068
    My wife's car is a 2005 model in Sapphire Blue Metallic with beige cloth interior. We bought it new on March 12, 2005. It's got the 3.8 litre V-6 and is very good on fuel economy. You can get them with a 3.6 V-6. The car has been extremely reliable.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,584
    That's right, I totally forgot about the 3.6 V-6. Thanks for reminding me, Lemko! And now that I think back on it, could you get the supercharged V-6 in a Lacrosse? Or was it gone by then?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    The supercharged 3.8 was never offered in the Lacrosse.
  • slorenzenslorenzen Posts: 241
    Yeah, that 3.8 is a solid engine, though a little raspy to some folks.

    I guess the later ones have the 3.6(same as the Impala engine)?

    I'm not as tall as Andre, but I'm 6'2 and 210 lbs., and I'm tired of shoehorning into the Honda.

    I took early retirement, and don't commute anymore, so mileage isn't the issue it once was.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,560
    Well as for cosmetic damage all I can say is you are not paying attention when you drive. By that I mean there are plenty of cars with cosmetic damage and that doesn't see to deter their owners.

    As for for environmental wear and tear and escalating costs of repair I have taken that into account. Cars built today car withstand the environment much better these days. I am near Chicago and I hardly see the rust buckets that I saw when I first was driving well over 30 years ago. And for repairs your repair bills for the first 200K miles should be minimal if you keep up the maintence.

    I do see 15 years as realistic but that does not mean we would ever reach it. We are a consumer driven society.

    There are three types of people in this world. Those who are good at math and those who are not.

  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    I also see a lot of cosmetic damage. Primarily from very minor wrecks, scrapes down the side from brushing up against another car, dent in a rear quarter panel from someone backing into you in a parking lot -- you can always tell those at a glance, no way that a person could drive into an object and create that dent, had to be someone driving into you.

    I don't see as much of it as I used to, though. I think that's because more people have insurance. Once people were forced to buy liability, I think most of them went ahead and got full coverage.

    Here in SE Texas, land of no snow, we never did see a lot of rusted out cars. And even though the average age of cars on the road is much higher than it used to be, the paint seems to hold up much better than it did when I was young.
  • I meant cosmetic damage caused by other people. I can assure you that if you parked on the streets of San Francisco, your car would look pretty bad after 5-6 years.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,931

    "A rising number of smaller, more powerful but troublesome four-cylinder engines led to the first decline in vehicle dependability in 15 years, according to J.D. Power & Associates' U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study released Wednesday.

    The rise in complaints was led mostly by engine and transmission problems and among four-cylinder engines — which now account for more than 53 percent of new-vehicle sales in the U.S. and could account for two-thirds of sales by the end of the decade."

    J.D. Power: 4-cylinder engines lead to 1st dependability decline in 15 years (Detroit News)

Sign In or Register to comment.