Almost 14

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That’s the age of the average car in daily use – and a new record.

Several things can be gleaned from this number. The first is that cars made that long ago were – are – probably among the best cars ever made, if by that one means durable and reliable. Because it’s not really feasible to drive one that isn’t every day for as long as this.

It’s testimony to how good we’ve had it, as well.

And for a long time – now ending.

Cars were durable – and affordable. Almost anyone could afford to buy one – new – and after it was paid for, you could keep on driving it for a decade (or longer) after it was paid for. This meant not having to make payments for a decade or longer – which meant having money to pay for other things, including fuel and insurance, the two major peripheral costs associated with owning a car. But these were small costs relative to the monthly payment and once the latter was done with easy enough to pay for.

Maintenance costs were also low – as most cars made since the late ’90s generally didn’t require much in the way of that, beyond the usual oil, filter and fluid changes. Even these were infrequent, relative to what was once obligatory.  Annual tune-ups became a thing of the past decades ago and so long as you did change the oil and filter and fluids per the schedule, there was – and is – a good chance you won’t have to do (or pay for) much else other than occasionally, for tires and brake pads. Even clutches – in cars (and trucks) with manual transmissions routinely last for 15 years and 150,000 miles or longer.

So it’s no wonder so many people are still driving what they paid off, a long time ago. It enables them to avoid paying for a new car – which many are hesitant to buy because these cars are not likely to be as reliable as the cars they bought almost 14 years ago. Most are afflicted with over-tech, including direct-injected engines that are too small for the car they’re in – and heavily turbocharged to make up for it.

They are also much more expensive to buy – about $35,000 on average now, up almost $15k over just three years – and you are obliged to buy a lot of things many people have no interest in paying for, such as a suite of “advanced driver assistance technology” (translation: the car is programmed to correct you when it does not like how you drive), touchscreen controls that are not likely to last ten years – let alone 14 – and creepy “connectedness,” which they all have and which means that they can be controlled by someone other than you.

Many people also want no part of EVs, which are the apotheosis of all of the foregoing – in addition to being as emotionally interesting as an ATM machine, except it withdraws from you.

This brings us to what is probably the main reason why people are “clinging” to the wheels they’ve got:

The double-whammy of attenuated buying power – i.e., the devaluation of money that is styled “inflation” – and the very real increase in the amount of money it takes to buy a new car – have pushed a new car into unaffordability territory for a lot of people. Especially when you factor in the increasingly obnoxious additional costs of insuring a new car – up by 10 percent on average – and the pile-on “property taxes” many states apply as form of serial rent (like the serial rent you are forced to pay on the home you “own,” even if you long ago thought you’d paid it off).

Holding onto an older, paid-for car can mitigate much of that – especially as regards the insurance and taxes, both of which are based on the value of the vehicle, which isn’t much after 14 years.

The older, paid-for car is thus what you often hear a new car is – but isn’t. That being an investment. The latter being something that doesn’t cost you money, which the buying of a new car will. Whereas the holding-onto of an older car will at least save you some (usually a lot of) money. And also make you some – in that they money you didn’t spend on a new car (and obnoxious insurance premiums, taxes, etc.) is still available to invest in things that do make money – or are at least worth something, such as food.

But durable cars that can be daily driven for 14 years or more (often, a lot more) are money-losers for the car industry, which can’t make money if people aren’t spending it on a new car. The industry wants a return to the good ol’ days when people had to buy a new car shortly after they had paid off their old one – because by then, it was beginning to become a money pit.

Electric cars will restore that balance.

You will need a new battery long before the car is 14-years-old. Probably by seven, if the EV is used daily – and depleted (and then “fast” charged).

That’s just physics and chemistry. And since replacement EV battery packs cost more than a 13-year-old EV is worth, you will be nudged into a new EV. Since you probably won’t be able to afford to buy it, you will rent the use of it (this is what a lease is) and ownership will be replaced by serial renting, on the WEF model.

The prospect of that probably accounts for people holding onto what they’ve got. So as to not be nudged into what they don’t want.

Of course, it is not likely this opting-out will be allowed – once it becomes obvious that millions of people will never buy a new car, much less an electric one. And at that point, we enter the Red Barchetta Era of what used to be America.

. . .

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  1. Have 2 08’s in my “fleet” of 4 vehicles at home. Equinox with 186 K and a Aura with 110 K They’re not perfect but they both seem to have been engineered and built well.

  2. After 19 years I got rid of my VW TDI. At 535,000 the clutch started slipping. Mechanic told me engine also was in need of rebuild. So I had to move on. All I could afford was a 2005 Chrysler T&C minivan that I found local with 80,000 miles.

    Anyway, I moved from a 25 yr old vehicle to an 18 yr old. I was told by my mechanic that this Chrysler would give the VW a run for it’s money on reliability. Hope he’s right.

    • Hi Ben,

      Those TDI VWs – especially with the manual – were/are brilliant cars. I’d have kept it – and put a clutch in it/rebuilt the engine. If it cost you $10k for another 300,000 miles, I’d say it would have been money well spent! I hope the TC lasts.

  3. Excerpt from a worshipful Wired interview with ‘Secretary’ Pete Buttigieg:

    Pete: Maybe that’s why someone characterized electric vehicles as emasculating. I think it was Marjorie Taylor Greene.

    Wired: Are they not?

    Pete: To me, a car is a car.

    Actually, the electric truck has got more torque than a regular truck. And it’ll tow just as well.

    Wired: And yet EVs unaccountably fall on the femme side of the ledger, like Impossible burgers.

    Pete: Right. A lot of this discussion about masculinity doesn’t have anything to do with the immediate function that’s at stake.

    The vehicle I get around DC in is a Mustang Mach-E. The fact that Ford made one of their first electric vehicles a Mustang is probably not an accident. It has three modes. Whisper, Engage, and Unbridled. There are propulsion sound effects involved in the different modes to help you feel conscious of the power of the engine.

    ‘[An electric truck] will tow just as well.’ Eric has systematically debunked that BS.

    ‘Propulsion sound effects to help you feel conscious of the power of the engine.’ An induction motor is not an ‘engine.’ And the sound effects are about as real as an escort’s feigned shrieks of ecstasy.

    Isn’t being called a ‘secretary’ emasculating, Pete? Do you take shorthand dictation? And what happened to the bicycle you used to ride to work?

    • Some overcompensating simp was weaving through traffic today in front of me in a Beemer EV with a license plate that read “IPassGas.” No insecurity there, no siree.

  4. I’m driving Honda and Acura products at the moment. The 2012 TL just turned 200k miles and the 06 Pilot has 231k on the odometer. Both engines run fine. Suspensions are solid and none of the engines have leaks. Transmission fluid is clean. I will be running these cars until I can’t drive anymore. I will not be purchasing any other type of car. I like interchangable transmission fluid and oil filters too much. I like Hondas because they are easy to fix compared with Lexus or Toyota.

    I have heard too much bad crap about American cars to want to drive them. Besides, I lost respect for American manufactuers three decades ago. Since about 1970, they viewed the government as the main customer to please rather than the car buyer.

    It seemed to become apparent when for the 1974 model year, they began cutting back on the numbers on the speedometers even prior to the 55 mph speed limit. In 1974, the Fleetwood had a 100 mph unit. American manufacturers were the last to get rid of their 85 mph units after the 1979 rule was rescinded for the 1983 model year.

    In 1987 or so, Chrysler started selling cars equipped with Airbags in their “safety sells” marketing campaign.
    In 1995, GM voluntarily placed Daytime Running Lights on their cars.
    In 1995, GM installed ABS as standard on their J-car models.

    GM is the primary offender, but Ford and Chrysler were equally as bad.

    In any case, no USA cars for me.

  5. Looks like it’s about time for another “cash for clunkers” fraud sponsored by Uncle, and paid for with our extorted tax contributions.

  6. My 2001 Maxima SE (standard drive) is now considered “vintage” at 22 years old. With only 167k miles on what was arguably one of the best of Nissan’s engines, I will continue to repair it until it falls apart. There is nothing like it today for torque, pick-up, comfort and sheer driving pleasure.

    • Amen, Gwyneth!

      Camrys and Accords of the same era are also brilliant. If you have any of these, hold onto them as if they were worth their weight in gold. Because they almost are.

      • Eric, I thought of you and this site today. While in town driving, I saw a white, 1974 Trans AM. I know it was a ’74, ’cause the personal plate said so. Hee hee. I will not pretend to know by looking at vehicles the year. I just do not have that skill He (the driver) was wanting to merge in front of me, so he did, and I let him in. I got in the right lane, and got up next to him, because, well, I wanted to drool over his vehicle. Sigh…I wish they made vehicles the way they used to, as that was one, damned fine looking automobile.

        • Hi Shadow,

          ’74 was the last year for the square rear glass; the ’75-’81 models have wraparound rear glass. 1974 was also the last year for the SD-455 engine option and the last year you could buy a new Firebird without a catalytic converter. I took my ’76 out yesterday for a drive. To remember why I like cars. It reminded me!

  7. Let’s see….I have a 2000 Toyota 4Runner, purchased 2015 (or so).
    The only major problem I had was (~2016?), towing a small trailer, the trans totally gave up and had to be rebuilt. The only salvaged part was the case.
    Come to find out, Toyota had divided the radiator into two parts for the engine coolant (water based) and the trans coolant (petroleum based). Well, as will inevitably happen, corrosion caused the engine coolant to leak into the trans. Oops! And you don’t find out until you’re pulling a load.
    Other then maintenance as needed (front sway bar/suspension assy), and dual cat converters (3?4?5? yrs), she’s been a runner.
    With the new synthetic oil, changes once/year. Ditto air filters.
    Spark plugs and wires, every 1-2 years.
    So far, 245K miles, and hope to get her to half-a-million before I need to replace the engine (3.2 V6).
    I only wish she was a manual instead of an automatic.

    • Unfortunately all the geniuses at all the manufacturers now make radiators and transmission coolers combined. Some are even combining evaporator coils into the radiator, which obviously increases failures and costs for any systemic issues!

      • Hi. I’ve been a professional “Wrench” for 50+ years. There are several reasons those coolers fail but past damage, un-repaired, is about top (Happens after physical damage by an accident which does not get repaired). It actually is a pretty good idea. It not only helps cool the automatic trans, but it also helps heat it up quicker on those stone-cold mornings – which makes it shift better and last longer.
        That idea of trans-cooler in the radiator was probably from the USA. Seems to me the first one I ever saw was in a 1956 Chevy!

  8. I have a 2007 GMC Envoy 6 cyl w/4 wheel drive. Has 303,000.00 miles. Still runs great needs an exhaust manifold, getting noisy. I have always fixed it when things break. A Michigan vehicle so yeah rust. Not to bad, it was my daily driver until a month ago.

    I bought a Subaru Cross trek on Erics review. Last of the manual tranny’s. I like the car except for the the obey all traffic laws message that comes up when I go and of course the nanny warnings as to this that and other things. All of which I ignore. Will try to excise them.

    Back to the Envoy I am going to replace the exhaust manifold and keep on fixing the things that break. The car will probably outlive me. If anyone has any thoughts they would be appreciated.

  9. I would like to chime in from the fuel economy gallery. Another reason US cars don’t sell is because fuel economy ratings suck compared to Europe and Japan:

    Gasoline is expensive and the 1970’s oil crisis – which forced manufacturers to improve mpg is over 4 decades ago – and cars overseas are getting super fuel economy by the same manufacturers that sell cars here. So it would be a cinch for Honda and Toyota to sell super mpg cars here as they already have an extensive dealership networks. So what the hell is the excuse?

    They simply do not market good fuel economy cars in corrupt and unfree Amerika. For instance, in the UK, our sister English speaking country, you can buy a quality Toyota car that gets over 60mpg (non-turbo and non-hybrid) called the Toyota Aygo. Here is a real time mpg test at 55 mph (90 kilometers/hr):

    Fuel Consumption Toyota Aygo @ 90 km/h

    The car at 55 mpg is getting over 60 mpg (which is 3.9 liters per 100 km on the gauge). If I plot that data point on a mpg vs. mph chart and draw a parallel line:

    You can see that a Toyota Aygo could get 80 mpg @ 42 mph. Getting vastly improved fuel economy means that the consumer could justify a capital expense of replacing an aging car with poorer mpg.

    • Well grief, YK, and here I just pulled out my calculator when I filled up the Camry the other day, as I had run it down to a quarter tank, and did the math, and saw (with mostly highway driving) that I was getting around 28 miles to the gallon. Not bad, considering my old, WRX only got around 25 mpg. The only car I had that got 60 mpg’s was my three cylinder Geo Metro, but I heard (??) that it had a Toyota engine in it. Not sure if that was true or not. Either way, I am happy with the Camry for now. We will see how it is five years from now…

    • We drive our cars fast. The average speed on a rural interstate highway is north of 75 mph and prevailing is around 80. In some states that figure is higher. In some states lower. When I drive in Oklahoma, I keep my speed at 85 and about 1/5th of the vehicles are going even faster. Maybe more.

      In any case, fuel mileage does drop when you go more quickly. I wish people did fuel econonmy tests at 70, 80 and 90 mph. That’s more realistic.

      My car gets its best mileage probably at 70, but I can’t keep it there. Unless there is a bonafide energy shortage.

  10. Hoping & praying my stable of four vehicles stay healthy.
    Newest is a 13-year-old Subaru; oldest a ’73 slant-6 Duster; and two Ford trucks in-between: one gas, one diesel, both over 20 years old.
    Don’t want anything newer than 2010.
    Can’t really afford anything newer regardless.

  11. I drove from north Alabama to north central Indiana in my 23 year old truck today. I keep a basic toolkit, some extra coolant, and a good bottle Jack & breaker bar. Everything went just fine.

  12. My semi-retired WRX (bought in late ’06, but is an ’07 model) has 254,000 miles on. I beat Eric’s purported record (and the dealership where I bought), and replaced the original clutch at 219,000. Had all the maintenance schedules done every 30,000 miles, and it makes a great back-up car. Went 13 years without car payments, which is why it killed me to get another vehicle. I loved not having payments all those years. I did not realize that the tire gage saaaaafety crap came out the year after I bought the WRX. I take my old car out for a spin, just to enjoy the standard trans (still lookin’ for that clutch on my new car), and not having the safety stuff that on this new one-shut off, of course. I am going to keep this new one (a ’22 Camry) as long as possible after I pay it off. For I sure as hell do NOT want one with the up-and-coming, speed limiters that are being proposed. I have people wanting to buy my old WRX all the time, even with the mileage. But, I took care of that care, and for times such as this. What I notice, is that between buying that, and this newer one, the body on the ’22 is really flimsy. Even the ’07 has more metal to it. Also, the last thing I want is even more, mother-in-law crap that I have to pay for. Thanks, but no thanks.

  13. What I always found interesting, being a guy who runs old cars myself, is that the “utility value” of a fully depreciated car far outweighs its “market value”. Rule of thumb, say cars are fully depreciated after 10 years, say worth only a few thousand bux. But if you can find one in good repair at the fully depreciated price, and subsequently get good service out of it, you reap “utility value”. Granted, you have to think of your car in terms of the utility it provides, versus luxury, status and the like.

    I have an 05 Outback (165k) with the head gaskets having been done at 75k (they are still good, too) that is basically sound, but has many “features”. My wife wants a new one, which is okay by me, but I’m wondering if I should keep this as a SHTF spare/red barchetta.. (Although I also have a ’14 VW that could serve that purpose.)

      • Aaah yes, walking down memory lane. I do remember replacing the head gaskets early on. Only had to do that once, and have never had to replace them again since then. So perhaps that they solved the problem?

      • I hear reports that in 2014 or such (the same time they went from a timing belt to a timing chain – whenever that year was) was the time they fiiiinnnnaaalllllly fixed the damn head gaskets. It blows my mind that the automotive press did not crucify Subaru for that failure for all of those years! The mainstream automotive press has always gushed over, and provided cover for, Japanese cars. Imagine if a Chevrolet had that large of an issue for that long of a time. I cant really think of any major issue such as that, so chronic, and so devastating going on for such a long time with ANY of the domestic cars. So the lamestream automotive press is worth nothing.

  14. Another consideration – every year you keep the old rig is another year the state/county/city doesn’t get thousands in sales tax. Most places in King County WA is 10.1% my area in Central WA is 8.1%

    So, $5000 in tax, or put that money towards a trans, engine, suspension fixes on a serviceable vehicle. Plus, that money flows into the economy NOT wasted on the bloated State/County/City Bureaucracy.

  15. Perhaps not surprisingly, the effort by U.S automakers and the government to push Americans into increasingly expensive, unaffordable, and unwanted vehicles may have increasing unintended consequences. As is discussed above, many will hold on to older cars longer (thankfully, my 1994 Camry still drives like it’s almost new). In my urban environment, I am repeatedly surprised by the number and variations of new and powerful kinds of scooters and small motorcycles on the streets and roads. I suspect some use those less costly vehicles in part to extend the useful lives of their cars — don’t use the car unless absolutely necessary. And once the car is left behind, public transportation and walking may also seem an even more sensible alternative. I also suspect the demand for stick shift cars and trucks will increase, as they are believed by many to be longer lasting than automatic and CVT transmission alternatives, especially as many automatic transmissions become — at least to me — hideously and unnecessarily complex, and far more problematical as they begin to age. Foreign manufacturers may respond to the demand for manual transmissions sooner than the domestic manufacturers, which would would presumably serve to depress the market shares of the ailing domestics further. Smaller size ICE trucks, at possibly lower cost, also seem to be on the horizon, if reports about a smaller Toyota Scout are accurate.

    • Funny you mention because we have two scooters and three motorcycles and put about 10k a year on them combined. Truth is we have always ridden bikes tho, the 60-90mpg, low cost plus fun factor are just bonuses. Wife & I also have two trucks, a 1999 and a 2001. Garage kept and serviced they both still look and run like new, wife and I plan to keep them until we’re dead. No plans to ever buy another car/truck unless its a toy. Probably will keep buying motorcycles. 🙂

      • Hi AMC Guy,

        Yup; same. I have several bikes, including an ancient but rock solid ’83 Honda GL650 that averages 60 MPG and has three suitcase-style hard bags that can carry a surprising amount of stuff. I ride it as often as I can – because it’s almost free to ride it and the fun is it’s own payoff.

    • Re: “Perhaps not surprisingly, the effort by U.S automakers and the government to push Americans into increasingly expensive, unaffordable, and unwanted vehicles may have increasing unintended consequences.”

      “Unintended consequences”? From where I sit, there’s plenty of fully-intended consequences! With due respects, of course. The globalist billionaires and the extremely wealthy have never liked the fact that ordinary people of relatively modest means could enjoy the freedom and convenience of an automobile with an internal combustion engine. After all, what good is it to be filthy rich if the peasants live as well as you do?

      And sure enough, if you look at the plans of the globalist oligarchs, which have been put into effect gradually since the end of WW2, emissions controls, mandatory safety equipment, high-tech devices and the like have driven automotive purchase costs through the roof. Coupled with high insurance rates, rising energy costs, and the devaluation of the USD, it is no wonder that regular people can no longer easily-afford a new car. The destruction of the “Great American Middle Class” ongoing since the 1970s has made that outcome inevitable.

      And now, the powers-that-be are working to outlaw entirely fossil fuels and vehicles which use them, in some places as soon as 2030. None of this has been an accident. It has been the result of careful planning on the part of the globalist oligarchs – nothing more, nothing less.

    • Well from the standpoint of a woman I can tell you safety is the primary concern, then speed and efficiency of getting from here to there. Scooters bikes and motorcycles are fine in some instances more so for guys. How many women do you see riding them around? They also are not good in rain snow or other inclement weather. So women especially those with kids to tow around need a good safe suv or sedan. We women sometimes get mocked by guys for being overly safety conscious but then again we are responsible for making sure we are not putting ourselves in a unsafe place or position. The interesting thing about the electric vehicles we are all being pushed into is they will decrease safety. Again I am thinking of a situation with being low on charge maybe with a car full of kids and suddenly finding yourself in a situation where you need to wait maybe at not the safest place for an hour or more to get enough juice to get back on the road. I see so many more unintended consequences from what they are pushing than we can even imagine right now,

      • Agreed, RS. I don’t need the nanny warnings to drive. I am perfectly capable of looking in my blind spot and to control my own speed, but I feel safest in the largest truck or SUV I can drive. My husband, on the other hand, buys (and drives) two seater manual sports cars with a ridiculous amount of horsepower. I am not a fan of them. I don’t like sitting low to the ground and not being able to see over a hill. If a deer runs across the road I want my family to have a fighting chance to survive.

        Maybe it’s the girl in me, but I will always pick a Ford F250, a Dodge 2500, or a Cadillac Escalade. The Mercedes SL Roadsters are cute, but I am not getting in one or putting my kids in one.

  16. Still driving the 1986 diesel k5 blazer, pushing 40 years old now, over 165K miles on it, and I added about 90K of those miles. No valve tune up, no spark plugs, no mess with carbs, no electric fuel pumps, no safety alarms, just slow, loud, and no a/c but whatever. SO long as you teach yourself to weld its a good truck. Had to add about 100lbs of steel that rusted away, and I coat the bottom with cosmoline now.

    I got a 2014 grand cherokee as a 2nd vehicle (special family deal, I avoid OBDII cars) that looks like a nightmare to fix some things, but other things, there is plenty of room under the hood and its straight forward. Just hate gov mandated issues with the coolant temp or emissions.

  17. My 2009 Mercury Grand Marquis has 301,000 miles on her. I am a maintenance fanatic. She runs beautifully. Her suspension has been upgraded and she handles better than most cars. Rear wheel drive, body on frame, V-8 power, big, comfortable, and reliable. She really is the best of both worlds of the old and new.

    I have decided that when her engine and/or transmission fails it will be replaced. These are wonderful cars!

    • I think rebuilding will become way more common. It will be expensive, but still far less than something new (that won’t last).

      That is until uncle regulates it away or outright bans that too.

      The hard part will be how people will be able to pay for it, as banks will not finance that, and few have much savings to pay cash.

    • > I have decided that when her engine and/or transmission fails it will be replaced.

      I’d think that replacing the transmission wouldn’t cost all that much. I have a 2012 Nissan Rogue that needed a new CVT last year after ~160k miles…was about $5k or so in parts and labor. It’s a big pile of money, but I figure as long as it’s still less than a year’s worth of new-car payments, it’s worth it to avoid the issues with newer vehicles. Your car probably has something simpler and cheaper for its transmission, making the math even more favorable…maybe 15 or so years ago, I dropped $900 on a rebuilt TH350 for a ’77 Cutlass Supreme.

      Can’t speak for the engine as I’ve never had one wear out, but aren’t rebuilt domestic V8s not too terribly expensive?

    • Hi XM,

      I think the thing to understand – and it’s hard to; took me awhile – is that the people pushing this hate people. Well, us. The whole point is to make life as difficult (via expensive) as possible for us. To enserf us. To keep us in our place, as they see it.

      • You are so right about that. The WEF and their supporters don’t even try to hide their contempt for us ordinary people anymore. Look at their slogans like you will own nothing and like it. You “will” do as you’re told, eat bugs really! Have no privacy be surveilled, a chip implanted, force vaccinated, locked down, not be allowed to travel outside your 15 minute zone. I am even now truly shocked they have managed to get this far with such obnoxious messaging and tactics.

      • Yes, and the whole point of making life difficult for us is to squeeze the negative energy from us. We are living on a farm, and it’s us that are being farmed. This is the only logical explanation of what’s going on on this planet. Why else would they grab all the resources while remaining hidden? It makes no sense. And this is the most important thing to realize – the enormity of the con. Somebody is sitting on these resources while we have to pay for them. We just need to say no and take everything back. It’s actually pretty easy, conceptually, if not realistically.

  18. We always keep cars that work, I can wrench most stuff myself. Wife’s friend some years back: “don’t you get tired of those old cars nickel-and-diming you?” My reply: “Nickels and dimes are much less than a new car payment!”

  19. Meanwhile the newer vehicles continue to be recalled.

    The automaker said “owners are advised to park outside and away from structures until the recall repair is complete.” Stellantis is still working on the recall fix and owner notification letters are expected to be mailed June 30.

    Or, do what I did and just pull fuse F50. Took two minutes to look up in the manual, pop the hood and yank the fuse. Sure, the rear lift gate won’t work until repaired but unlikely to catch fire, probably a good tradeoff. Parking outside is basically doing nothing at all. Institutionalized helplessness.

    • Worth noting that the Jeep Cherokee, which is affected by this recall, is a very different vehicle than the Jeep “Grand Cherokee,” which is not affected.

  20. One way the aging car curve could be reversed is that low cost fuel efficient cars, being sold overseas, were brought in and put on the market. Or that you could purchase cars outside of the normal dealership venue. Do you still go to the mall to buy shoes or do you use Amazon? I should be able to buy any car made anywhere over the internet, just like everything else being sold today, without some salesman taking his cut.

    • I drive a 30 year old car gladly – because it is easy to work on – and I like the design – simple. I have the cash but do not plan to buy any new car for the simple reason I do not like the styling, specially the big “frog mouth” front ends – which I consider ugly, impractical, and really stupid. What you want in a front end is ultra aerodynamic curves, not agaping frog mouths.

      I am sorry big auto, I am not buying with my hard earned cash some piece of shit cheaply made car, which is overpriced and has a big bull frog mouth that looks really stupid and ugly to boot. The really big joke, is if were not for the appliance label on the front end, I would not be able to tell cars apart. And what really makes me laugh is how the emblem is getting bigger and bigger, like the Mercedes with the huge Idiocracy sized M on the front end. Apparently, the morons who buy such vehicles want everyone to know it is a Mercedes – which is a real laugh because it looks just like all the other POS on the road.

      In fact I wonder daily if auto designers all copy off one another, or maybe they all use the same drugs – whatever – who in the hell wants a car with all those wicked lines on the front end – and since the front end is all made of cheap plastic – the small impact destroys and scatters plastic shards everywhere – as you can see all along the pot hole cratered roads of Amerika. I literally see whole plastic bumpers lying in the ditch – because they are held on only with el cheapo plastic pins, and if you catch the bumper on something – the whole damn thing rips off. I also see many home repair jobs with zip ties and duct tape.

      Amerika is an aging empire – locked into old school ways of doing things – like auto dealerships who sell overly regulated, high priced, bad styling, appliances that fewer and fewer people actually want to buy. I can walk around any car lot in Amerika in 2023 and not be attracted to a single vehicle being sold. They all suck – and that could be one big reason for the aging car.

      • ‘what really makes me laugh is how the emblem is getting bigger and bigger, like the Mercedes with the huge Idiocracy sized M on the front end.’ — Yukon Jack

        What next — a white MERCEDES decal in 4-inch high letters across the top of the windshield … so that some wage-slave chump on the hook for $1,000 a month payments can pose as a tech bro (but not quite getting that actual tech bros don’t sleaze up their ride that way).

        • Yep, and they also are putting really big wide tires for the same reason – status. The tires on the BMW sedan are so huge they go up to the hood.

        • My favorite of this collection — the ‘Drifter’s stitch’:

          If you wear fashionable torn jeans, you really need this distressed look on your plastic bumpers … even if you have to break them yourself with a hammer.

          Authenticity, bro.

      • I have to wonder, YK, how much a computer costs in these newer cars when they puke out? Somehow, I think that investing money into your 30 year old vehicle is still a better investment in the long run. And, you can work on it yourself, too. Also (and not to get all conspiracy theory weird here), if there was ever an EMP attack (China, Russia?), these new cars are going nowhere. Certainly not my new Camry. But maybe my old WRX might be okay. Maybe. That is even more of a reason to keep your “outdated”, “old” vehicle, and to hell with what others think about it.

  21. We have a 1998 Coachmen fifth-wheel RV. A couple of years ago I called a local RV repair shop to make an appointment to get a few things fixed. They said they wouldn’t work on it because it was too old.

    I pull the RV with a 1995 Dodge-Cummins pickup. I stopped by a local restoration shop last year to ask about fixing it up a little. They told me they wouldn’t work on it because it was too new.

    • Funny thing: Used to be that lazy or incompetent mechanics wouldn’t work on pre-OBD II vehicles….
      Now it’s getting to where a lot of ’em don’t want to work on OBD II if it’s pre-CANbus.
      They just want to be able to plug-in a scanner and figure everything out by looking at a screen and seeing what the consensus is among other “technicians” who are getting the same codes. (Mechanics are becoming a dying breed; they are being replaced by “technicians”, just like cops have been replaced by “law-enforcement officers”).

  22. Your odds of holding onto a car vary depending on where you live. In say NY and NJ by the time you see that it’s rusting the repair bill will be higher than it’s worth; but on the other hand in the last few weeks I saw a Pinto and a K car drive by me (good enough condition to be winter stored).

    I don’t own any thing younger than 20 years old. I can afford a new car but a combination of blind spots, fuglyness, high repairs costs, etc. keeps me away from them.

    As for the creepy “connectedness” of new cars my attitude is that if my fridge isn’t allowed on the net neither will my car. The hard part will be how do you disconnect a “connected” car? Onstar was relatively easy to disconnect apparently.

    • Re: “As for the creepy “connectedness” of new cars my attitude is that if my fridge isn’t allowed on the net neither will my car.”

      Not to rain on your parade, friend, but have you ever heard of “The internet of things”? It is what the spies and black-bag types call common household appliances and other household goods – from big-screen TVs that watch you while you watch them, to computers that snoop on you, and so on. Why put a microprocessor in a refrigerator? Well, lots of reasons, but one of them is to data-mine you, read collect information about you without your consent or knowledge, in other words – to spy on you.

      Lest you think I am stark raving bonkers, this is all in the public domain. Former General and then CIA chief David Petraeus talked about it all the time during interviews.

      Brave New World, 1984, here we come!

      • Cars have become very much like cell phones… some actually *are* cell phones.

        The difference is that a cell phone is not a phone, if it is not connected, while cars can still be cars without connection…. “can”.

        Of course, the manufacturer can choose to disable the car when it can’t “phone home”, but few are doing that… yet. You can still scuttle most by just pinning their coax (if you can find it). Some have after market “plugs” that can replace the “starlink” adapter without trashing too much utility.

        I still prefer things that don’t have components I can’t work on. I really like diesels with mechanical injectors. It might be hard to start, but it’ll still run without the concept of electricity.

      • As I said all my stuff predates the IOT, the possibility exists though that my new welding machine is phoning home as I speak but I’ll take that chance. I made sure to not buy a smart TV or connected appliances and don’t have cable. Over the years I’ve worked in places where if you wanted to keep your job you kept your mouth shut and the way the world is now I generally keep my mouth shut and my ears open. I am of course curious how everyone walks around with a smart phone and fails to consider the potential consequences of an always connected device.

        • I find it scary as hell that even the friggin’ refrigerator is “connected”. What the hell? Do people not understand what this means? I saw a refrigerator that-no joking-that has a touch screen with a radio in it? Who would have thought, and who needs that? Was at someone’s house that has a voice-activated lighting system. The whole thing is creepy as hell, and am glad I have a “dumb house”. Where consequences are concerned, what does this do to ones body? And then again, Ray Kurzweil’s book always did say (The Singularity Is Near) that man would merge with machine one day. Maybe this is just one more step…

  23. ‘people are “clinging” to the wheels they’ve got’ — eric

    Indeed they are. Both my daily drivers qualify for vintage (>25 yr) plates.

    Yesterday the NYT posted an article on the desperate maneuverings of coal-state Senator Joe Manchin, who is shocked — shocked — that the “Biden” regime extended EeeVee tax credits to retail buyers:

    ‘[The IRA’s] projected cost has exploded as the administration began doling out the tax credits the bill authorized for electric vehicles.

    ‘[EeeVee tax] credits, Manchin wrote to Secretary Yellen, were “intended only for commercial use, and your department must follow congressional intent.”

    ‘Mr. Manchin, who has a personal financial interest in the coal industry, also vowed last week to block all EPA nominees over its proposal to target power plant emissions.

    “We’re not going to let them get away with it,” he said last week. “We’re going to shut everything down.”

    “I will vote to repeal my own bill [the IRA],” he said.

    That’s a fine jam you’ve gotten yourself into, Joe, as the other Joe (Ten Percent for the Big Guy) rides roughshod over your state and your constituents.

    Do you really think running for president on the third-party No Labels ticket is gonna fix this mess?

    • Hi Jim,

      Yup! My ’02 Nissan Frontier is 21 years old – and it still has the original clutch with 142,000 miles on the clock. Replacing it will cost me about $300 – less than one month’s payment (not counting insurance) on a new Frontier. Plus, my truck doesn’t even have a seat belt buzzer. And just two air bags – one of them with an Off switch.

      • Eric,

        My ’98 Frontier had about that mileage when I bought it five years ago, for $5,000. One day at a stoplight it gulped the throwout bearing, stalling the engine and producing a spurious diagnostic code.

        I paid a local shop to replace the worn clutch plate and throwout bearing. One twist: on the 4WD model, the manual trans is sealed to the engine block and engine rear plate with RTV liquid gasket. The shop kvetched about how damned difficult it was to break loose that hardened old sealant, making me glad I didn’t do it myself. But they held to their $1,000 estimate.

        Yours is a 2WD if I recall, so no sealant. 🙂

      • Any decent shop would charge at least $800 to replace your truck’s clutch, Eric. But you and I could do it in a day, for a decent clutch kit, including new master and slave clutch cylinders, for about $250. Add in pizza, pop, and few bewskis, there’s your $300.

  24. Indeed, my ‘01 and ‘03 Corollas both run like the proverbial Swiss watch. Lived close to where I worked so neither one has cracked 100k yet; the only thing that might take them down is the rust since around here the DPW seems to put down more salt than there is snow.

  25. Yep, I still have my 2012 Ford focus 5-speed manual with a 152,000 trouble free miles (except for the 3 occasions where deer decided to jump out in front of me). Just cosmetic damage only. The only gripe I have as far as ownership is concerned is where the state of Virginia decided to to have higher registration fees on fuel efficient autos versus cheaper fees for gas hog vehicles. You can’t win against the Mafia or the government.

  26. 40 grand for a new car is a low end price for a automobile you would want to drive.

    Probably will never buy new again, what I have is probably better than new, nobody really knows.

    There are advantages in owning newer vehicles: No more fouled plugs, no more burned points, the feeler gauge is no longer necessary.

    Don’t have to use the timing light anymore.

    Use good gas, change the oil every 7500 miles.

    There have been considerable improvements in automotive engineering the past 40 years.

    I go to Topspeed dot com because there is plenty of news about new cars and the website name is a good one. You gotta wonder why it’s called ‘topspeed’.

    Happy Norwegian Independence Day!

  27. My neighbor just bought an ‘04 Jeep Cherokee that a friend of his, an automotive insider who owns several NAPA parts stores, had totally restored. Runs perfect, looks brand new. I’m sure the guy I paid to take away my 20 year old truck I couldn’t afford to keep going did the same thing as I think I saw it on the highway the other day looking quite refreshed. Long may you run, I guess. Of course, this kind of resto is nothing new but I expect to see a lot more of it involving even more mundane cars as time goes by.

  28. With the escalating price of new cars, there is increased incentive to repair older cars that once upon a time would have been salvaged. If one has the cash on hand. My 2005 Accord with 200k miles on it, and is running just fine, can get a new engine and/or a new transmission for a fraction of the cost of a new Accord. And it doesn’t have all the nannytech “connected” male bovine fecal matter included.
    Unfortunately, the current FedGov and Fed punish saving. Which makes it hard to have that cash on hand. A recent Biden EO regarding mortgages punishes those with a good credit rating, and have saved for a higher down payment, for the benefit of those who don’t have the former, and haven’t done the latter.
    Welcome to the United States of Cuba.


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