Yes William, I have to agree. My 1968 Tempest still drives great. Mind you, the manual drum brakes require a strong leg, but they work. I do like the modern brakes and handling and can upgrade this older car, but my 1993 Suburban (though much heavier) can stop very well compared to the classics.
However, trying to chang ethe spark plugs in the 1993 compared to the 1968 is night and day. I also have a 1984 Oldsmobile v-6. Good luck changing the plugs in this car!
I also recently had to change the starter in the 1993 and found I had to remove a lot of extra stuff. The 1968, two bolts and two wires, easy (other than having to jack the car up compared to fitting under the Suburban).
I wonder how much older the average would be if "Cash for Clunkers" was not responsible for destroying a segment of used cars?
Corrosion is certainly a big cause of vehicle failure. Most of the time, when I am forced to replace a vehicle it is because of corrosion. And yet here in southeastern Michigan they apply salt to the roadways at a rate of several tons per mile. Is it any wonder that both cars and roadways fail more frequently? The salt concentration is far greater than the ocean, and far worse than the military salt spray tests.
And, of course, the auto company execs who get a new assigned vehicle every six months really do not care, nor do the politicians, who have chaufer driven state owned vehicles that are replaced whenever they get a bit shabby.
But if modern technology were used to produce a vehicle like my 1965 vehicle, it would easily be good for multiple hundreds of thousands of miles.
I am firmly in the camp which believes that vehicles are better now than they were 25, 50, or 75 years ago. Regardless of how people complain about the plastic on their bumpers, the fact is that advancements in materials along with good engineering and improved design has clearly trumped heavy gauge sheet metal and mass. My only frustration is that making repairs is more difficult when something actually does need to be fixed.
Thats not the average age of the cars on the road. Thats the average age of roadworthy cars. Stands to reason that the older cars are those which see litle annual mileage, whereas cars with high annual mileage never reach 10 years. A measure of average mileage would be more useful.
That is good to know! When I lived in the United States my cars were never more than five-seven years old, but here in Portugal I drive a car that's 14 years old and still going. (It's a VW Transporter, which can go for a long time with the right maintenance.) So I am not alone! We all drive pretty old cars around where I live, though. Which is why it was so funny when Porsche recently took over a local beach to do a car showcase and for a week there were about 100 Porsches driving around the roads--the fanciest cars these parts have ever seen. :)
All good data points supporting the conclusion – However, having only been taking data since 1998 does not give a much more than an anecdotal conclusion – Certainly not strong enough to warrant any hard strategy decision from an Auto-Maker, for example.
I'm on my third 1997 Chevy Lumina in last few years. Nothing wrong with the first two - traded one for a different car and gave the other away - they are still driving it. Love my current one - easy to work on, only normal wear and tear maintenance, highly rated for safety, seats six with a huge trunk.
I think part of the upgrades, back in the day, was that the designs changed more frequently.
There is a big difference between a '68 Mustang and a '74 Mustang. The body styling in 2008 and 2013 aren't radically different.
I think we'll see a small surge in car sales soon. Part of the aging is that people can't afford to buy a new car or they're being cautious. The other key trend is that younger people (teens and 20's) aren't interested in owning cars in the same way that older generations were.
Us too, we regularly hit better than 150K and as much as 250K a couple of times before giving the cars to other family members. Here in Chicago, keeping the car in a garage is key to longevity, but as far as the engine goes, the manufacturers have done an excellent job of engineering a drivetrain that lasts so long.
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