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Old 12-10-2012, 04:12 PM   #46
TooFast
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Just turned 240K miles on my GM Savana motovan, been a good truck once they replaced my 1997 fuel injection with the 1999 upgrade at no cost to me. I have done my maintenance....

My 03 Corvette has had no issues

My suggestion is to go with time proven products - not all first/second, etc year products have had time for short comings to show up.

When you manufacture 100,000s to 1,000,000s of vehicles like GM or Toyota does, sometime there are supplier and engineering problems that show up.

CVT transmissions are a good examples of the public being real world Alpha/Beta testers

P.S. I don't buy any chinese electronics, vehicles, mechanical products, tools, etc don't have much choice on sneakers, etc

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Old 12-10-2012, 04:28 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by PoundSand View Post
let's start by setting expectations- how long a expected life do you think cars should be built for?
I was a Tech for 20 years. I don't think this is the right approach. Rather, I think it is fair to ask the question "how many miles should a car run without major powertrain failure, and how many years should it be able to survive use in the rust belt states without turning into a pile of iron oxide?"

There's a counter-productive game going on among car makers nowadays. That game entails writing the service and maintenance guidelines to play to the now popular metrics involving "cost of ownership". In short, when car makers design components and write maintenance requirements for their vehicles it is all about keeping that cost of ownership as cheap as possible for the first 100,000 miles. That is why you see significantly extended oil change intervals, 100,000 mile spark plug intervals, 5 year/150,000 mile coolant change intervals, "lifetime" fuel filters (which by the way are part of the fuel pump basket and are located in the tank - they are anything but lifetime filters), etc. For example, our 2010 Ford Fusion - which has been flawless so far for the 36,000 we've put on it - has 7500 mile oil change intervals and runs on 5 w 20 oil. I don't care how clean or efficient the engine is, 20 weight oil is not up to the rigors of 7500 miles of stop & go traffic in 90 + degree temperatures. Yet that is exactly what the oil life system in the car allows you to do before turning on the change oil indicator.

My opinion is the answer to my original question should be 200,000 miles without a major powertrain failure, and 15 years no rust through. Likewise, cars shouldn't eat tie rod ends, ball joints, water pumps, and other less major items anywhere in the 5 digit mileage category. If coolant is good for 150,000, what good does that do if the water pump fails at 80,000 and requires you to drain the cooling system to replace it?

Chances are if you follow maintenance intervals set up to change fluids and filters when they are really needed (as determined by oil analysis and other methods) you should get 200,000 out of major components. The engine may likely run longer, but I don't think it is unreasonable for an automatic transmission to be due for overhaul at that mileage. However, I'm not convinced if you follow the manufacturer's fluid and filter intervals - which are aimed at the best possible rating in the "cost per mile" category - that you have the same chances of achieving that magical 200,000 mark without major failure.
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:44 PM   #48
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Maybe my expectations are too high. Perhaps I've been spoiled by a lucky run of well made vehicles.
The worse vehicle manufacturers get lucky sometimes and have a vehicle that'll go half a million miles. And the best mfgs have a clunker now and then like the one you had. I don't think I'd rate a car maker, good or bad, based on one vehicle. I've had a few stinkers and a few that were wonderful, of the same brand and from different manufacturers. Car built on a Friday afternoon or a Tuesday before lunch, it really can make a difference. At an American plant or in Japan/Germany/Sweden, etc.? Lots and lots of combinations and permutations about why one vehicle is fantastic and the next one on the line is a junk pile. YMMV
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:47 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by PoundSand View Post
let's start by setting expectations- how long a expected life do you think cars should be built for?
Fair question. I had to think about it.
In this day and age, with my automotive experience, this is my conclusion:

A modern vehicle should be able to be generally day to day reliable to approx 200k at a standard use / wear rate, while properly maintained (at the interval set by the manufacture), without incurring a failure that costs more than the vehicle's current market value to correct.

I tried to rule out the ability for the car to sit for 20+ years without moving (that is not standard use/ wear) & properly maintained is a key component of this. Crash and abuse damage & costs are obviously not part of this. There will always be exceptions and exclusions (even the best product line has lemons).

Based on that rule, GM turned out a whole product line of cars (the ion was notorious for these failures) that did not meet expectations, knew about it, and did not correct it. Due to this, I will never again give them another penny of my money.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:02 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Nytelyte View Post
Fair question. I had to think about it.
In this day and age, with my automotive experience, this is my conclusion:

A modern vehicle should be able to be generally day to day reliable to approx 200k at a standard use / wear rate, while properly maintained (at the interval set by the manufacture), without incurring a failure that costs more than the vehicle's current market value to correct.
...
Based on that rule, GM turned out a whole product line of cars (the ion was notorious for these failures) that did not meet expectations, knew about it, and did not correct it. Due to this, I will never again give them another penny of my money.
based on that rule, i think you've ruled out most manufacturers of inexpensive cars. 200k is, on average, a 15+ year old car. even high resale value cars don't have much of a market value at 15 yrs and 200k if they didn't start out really expensive. most of those cars are going to be under $2k, even if the car is running well. a new cat will easily eat up more than half that price point, with a new window regulator eating up the rest.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:02 PM   #51
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The last american made vehicle I owned was a ford van. Before I got rid of it at 65000 miles: the sliding door fell off, the transmission went, the serpentine belt pulley on the front of the engine sheared off, the rear springs broke, the power steering pump failed, went through two alternators, the radio died, the windshield leaked around the top gasket, the entire exhaust system wore out, the intake manifold cracked...that all I can remember off the top of my head. Before that I had a Pontiac, I got rid of it before 50k, it spent more time at the dealership than in my driveway, something went wrong almost weekly.

Since then, three Mitsubishi Montereos, 250k on the first with routine maint, 285k on the second with a rebuilt head at 225, the third has 145 on it and has gone through one front brake caliper. A Hyundia Sonata that had nothing wrong with it at 265k (replaced the radiator) when we traded it for another Sonata. A Suzuki we put 210k on before selling it to a freind who sold after it reached 250k. A Hyundia Elantra with 142k and nothing outside regular maint.

I am sorry to say I won't even look at anything from Ford or GM.


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Old 12-10-2012, 05:02 PM   #52
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My opinion is the answer to my original question should be 200,000 miles without a major powertrain failure, and 15 years no rust through.
That pretty much sums my feelings pretty well, and I wrote mine before I read yours.

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The worse vehicle manufacturers get lucky sometimes and have a vehicle that'll go half a million miles. And the best mfgs have a clunker now and then like the one you had. I don't think I'd rate a car maker, good or bad, based on one vehicle.
True. Everyone has lemons. I have bad days & I'm certain my code on those days isn't optimal.
However, the problems I've experienced with that car are epidemic of the line. Not one or two offs, but almost every one had the frozen starting solenoid (car disabling problem) and the door lock problem (kills battery, so car disabling problem), and on just about every single one of them the sunroof leaks (not car disabling, but damn annoying and interior ruining) and the plastic tracks deteriorate and break (not disabling, but an unsealed hole in the roof of your car is damn annoying, loud, and leaky). The crappy interior trim and fit/finish is a side issue that no other car I've ever had experienced, regardless of age or miles.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:08 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by PoundSand View Post
based on that rule, i think you've ruled out most manufacturers of inexpensive cars. 200k is, on average, a 15+ year old car. even high resale value cars don't have much of a market value at 15 yrs and 200k if they didn't start out really expensive. most of those cars are going to be under $2k, even if the car is running well. a new cat will easily eat up more than half that price point, with a new window regulator eating up the rest.
You say that, but I've had 2, and one more that got close, I believe my civic would have beat that record with no problems (I was 20k away with no indicators of any problems in any way). And the two that were over were FLOGGED. Raced frequently, off roaded, tow cars, etc. But maintained.
Most cars also seem to hit a bottom price and only discount slightly more due to miles. A 150k mile civic is only slightly more expensive than a 200k mile civic of the same year, all else equal.

That saturn was 7 years old and had less than 140k miles.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:21 PM   #54
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You say that, but I've had 2, and one more that got close, I believe my civic would have beat that record with no problems (I was 20k away with no indicators of any problems in any way).
i drive my wife's 2002 acura rsx (basically a civic). it has 235k miles on it. guess how i know how much it costs to replace a catalytic converter and a window regulator? it also has broken passenger side and rear hatch actuators. figuring out the prices and options, it was pretty clear that these were not exactly rare problems.

the problem isn't that there's anything inherently wrong with the car- it still runs great. but as cars get more snazzy goodies, they become more expensive to fix. and they need more fixing simply because there are more things to simply wear out, and on relatively inexpensive cars, the fix it $ / market price $ ratio doesn't work out that well- relatively major mechanical problems can be cheaper to fix than crappy little fancy electronics problems...
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:25 PM   #55
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i drive my wife's 2002 acura rsx (basically a civic). it has 235k miles on it. guess how i know how much it costs to replace a catalytic converter and a window regulator? it also has broken passenger side and rear hatch actuators. figuring out the prices and options, it was pretty clear that these were not exactly rare problems.

the problem isn't that there's anything inherently wrong with the car- it still runs great. but as cars get more snazzy goodies, they become more expensive to fix. and they need more fixing simply because there are more things to simply wear out, and on relatively inexpensive cars, the fix it $ / market price $ ratio doesn't work out that well- relatively major mechanical problems can be cheaper to fix than crappy little fancy electronics problems...
Understood. Thats why I said this:
Quote:
A modern vehicle should be able to be generally day to day reliable to approx 200k at a standard use / wear rate
I guess I call day to day reliable "You know you can get to work, even if you aren't in the most perfect ride." Even with a broken window regulator or an imperfect cat (which is $200-$300, not $2000) you are getting to work. Nytelytette was not able to get to work in a car with 100k less miles than that today without correction that cost greater than the vehicles fair market value.

Heck. The passenger side lock in my civic was broken. You could use it manually, but electric actuation was inop. I still drove it to work.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:32 PM   #56
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..., "lifetime" fuel filters (which by the way are part of the fuel pump basket and are located in the tank - they are anything but lifetime filters)...
here's the thing about "lifetime" fuel filters in the module...

that's the lifetime of the module, not necessarily the car.

i don't know how that particular ford module is set up, but many modules have a filter on the pump in the reservoir, and a large cartridge style filter in the module between the pump and the supply line. (neither of which are user replaceable).

that said, the brushes or comm face on the pump will probably wear out before the filter gives up.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:37 PM   #57
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here's the thing about "lifetime" fuel filters in the module...

that's the lifetime of the module, not necessarily the car.

i don't know how that particular ford module is set up, but many modules have a filter on the pump in the reservoir, and a large cartridge style filter in the module between the pump and the supply line. (neither of which are user replaceable).

that said, the brushes or comm face on the pump will probably wear out before the filter gives up.
That all depends on whether or not you get a dirty tank of gas
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:50 PM   #58
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Understood. Thats why I said this:
yeah, but the following part about the cost to fix ruined it... ;D

Quote:
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Even with a broken window regulator or an imperfect cat (which is $200-$300, not $2000) you are getting to work...
a busted cat in cali means you're not re-registering your car. and you've never had a cat replaced if you think it's $200...
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:54 PM   #59
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Based on that rule, GM turned out a whole product line of cars (the ion was notorious for these failures) that did not meet expectations, knew about it, and did not correct it. Due to this, I will never again give them another penny of my money.
Come up here and i'll take you for a ride in my 05 grand am, that even if pontiac is around i'd never buy another car from them. The alternator was bad from the factory, battery went a year later, lights dim and brighten with engine rpm, replaced bad fuse panel, struts and strut mount all before 50,000 miles. My girlfriends mazda has 120,000 miles and is twice as quiet going down the road.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:57 PM   #60
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yeah, but the following part about the cost to fix ruined it... ;D
a busted cat in cali means you're not re-registering your car. and you've never had a cat replaced if you think it's $200...
I have, but not in Cali. If something special there precludes your replacement of a cat, I'm not aware of it, and that sucks. I found those prices on a quick google search for the parts, and thats easily replaceable in your driveway (I've done it).

But if cali has rules about fixing your own car... that sucks.

*EDIT* An OEM cat and pipe for that car looks to be about $1100... and thats way to much for what you are getting. There are better options. Only reason to pay for one of those is if you are worried about factory warranty, which at 10YO you will not be.

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