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Old 24 Feb 2004, 02:57 pm
Brian Bergin
Posts: n/a
Default Re: At what point does a car become not worth keeping?

"Crunchy Cookie" <> wrote:

|I thought I'd get a little cost/benefit analysis discussion going. I've always
|thought the best used-car deals were ones between, oh, 2 and 8 years old. If
|it's too new, you might as well buy new, but if it's too old, you're just asking
|for trouble, right? What's the average (range of) mileage where cars start
|konking out to a higher expense than their value? Most people seem to casually
|say between 100K and 200K; most consider 200K to be a long life. The engine and
|transmission rebuilds are the only really huge items, right? How much does
|rebuilding those cost? Anything else to watch out for?
|And is it me, or do Japanese car alternators die really easily?

Don't know about anyone else, but my wife and I had an '84 Honda Civic that had
262k on it when we sold it to a friend in 1997 and the only major non-scheduled
work it had done on it was a clutch at 250k (that replaced the original clutch
that came in it when my wife's Dad bought it new in '84). The alternator did
go, but that was after she and I had it out in the floods caused by a hurricane
and it shorted out. We know the current owners and at 20 years old it has over
400k on it and still runs great. My thoughts:

Change the oil
Change the trans fluid
Change the filters (oil, air, fuel, etc...)
Change the spark plugs (& wires when needed)
Change the timing belt
Change the radiator fluid
& drive it right and it will last a long time.

The problem with any used car that you don't know and trust the previous owner
is you have no idea how it was driven. Even "certified" used cars cannot have
everything inspected. They cannot be removing the transmission to see what it
looks like and I doubt they even do compression tests, though I'm willing to be
corrected on that. Buy from a reputable dealer who will backup the sale with
service and I'm guessing your ok.

As for that '84 Honda, it's worth about $20 (based on the gas in the tank), but
it's A/C works and it still gets 35mpg. How'd have thought 20 years ago that in
2004 that car would still be running!

Current cars: '04 Xterra XE V6 w/ 1,060 miles on it
'97 Outback Sport w/ 106k on it - still running great and driven
60 miles/day up and down a 2000' elevation to and from work.

Just my thoughts...

Brian Bergin

I can be reached via e-mail at

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