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The dream of putting 200,000 miles on your vehicle – once restricted to an assortment of auto buffs and non-conformists willing to spend a small fortune on repairs -- is fast becoming a real possibility for millions of drivers.. Not so long ago, people counted themselves lucky if their car made it 100,000 miles before it gave out. As late as the 1980s and 1990s, many odometers didn’t even carry enough digits to handle 100k. But to echo the hopeful baby boomer assertion that 60 is the new 40, one could say that 200,000 miles is the new 100,000 – thanks primarily to improvements in quality. Consumers are embracing the idea if the statistical studies and the growing number of “high mileage” car clubs around the country are any indication. One of the groups, the Allpar 200,000 Club, boasts 4,000 members. They consider it a point of pride to be able drive Chrysler products with more than 200,000 miles on them.
Last year, the “Cash for Clunkers” program, designed to boost auto sales and get gas-guzzling vehicles off the road, showed just how high the age of cars, trucks and SUVs has risen. The typical vehicle turned in under the program last year was 14 years old and averaged 160,000 miles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Since it took a bonus of $3,500 to $4,500 to persuade owners to turn these vehicles in, thousands of them would likely still be on the road and accumulating mileage if they hadn’t been scrapped. Outside the bonus program, the average age of scrapped vehicles lately has been nearly as high as the “clunkers’” -- about 13 years, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. To some extent, tough economic conditions are leading consumers to hang onto their cars longer, said Lonnie Miller, vice president for marketing and industry analysis at R. L. Polk & Co., a publisher of automotive data. “People are cooling their jets on buying new vehicles.” But the trend was underway well before the last downturn. Average vehicle age has climbed steadily for a decade, Miller notes, going from 8.8 years in 1999 to 10.6 years late last year. He believes longer warranties and financing contracts are two key factors behind the trend, along with the higher vehicle quality. The longer life spans could be just the beginning. Many of the “clunkers” turned in for scrapping last year were manufactured in the mid-1990s. Experts expect longer life spans from the technologically advanced cars sold today. Studies by J.D. Power & Associates, a consumer and product research firm, do suggest that cars are being built to last longer, Miller noted. In its latest dependability report, the firm said that overall performance of vehicles after three years of ownership was “at an all-time high.” Between 2003 and 2010, average number of problems per 100 vehicles plummeted from 355 to 155 industry-wide, according to the company. Twenty-five of the 36 brands in the study showed improvement. “I have a hard time criticizing any company that builds or sells a car in this country,” said Matt Keegan, publisher of two automotive web sites, theautowriter.com and autotrends.org. “The quality is so much higher than it used to be.” In many cases, quality no longer varies substantially from one car brand to another either, said Erich Merkle, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based auto analyst and publisher of the autoconomy newsletter. “The Detroit 3 have improved to the point of taking that differentiator away from the Hondas and the Toyotas.” Owners have to be conscientious about maintenance, of course. In return, they get the chance to bring their future costs under control. With longer warranties to reduce their financial risks, Miller said consumers are poised to “steer their own automotive destinies.” “If you are presented with good products, you have the opportunity to get some of your money back after your purchase. A car today can really last if you take care of it.” Richard Kahn, the publisher of a Subaru website, www.subaruhighmileageclub.com, and owner of a New Hampshire landscaping company, pushed a ‘93 Legacy to 282,000 miles. He changed engine oil every 5,000 miles, usually with synthetic oil. “I don't ignore little noises. I have them addressed right away. "It helps to have a solidly built vehicle to begin with. But if it is properly maintained even an unreliable vehicle can probably do better than a solidly built vehicle if you neglect the maintenance." After 13 years on the road, his Legacy was a bit rusty but it still ran. Kahn was able to trade it in on a new Subaru Impreza WRX. "If I had known that I could have bought replacement body panels, I probably would still have it." Research Fuel Efficient Cars
"I don't believe in letting things die," he said. "Quite frankly, I don't like the whole new-car car buying process" Kahn launched subaruhighmileageclub.com in 2000. He says nearly 1,000 Subaru owners use the site, which includes a forum where they can trade tips on keeping their cars running. Most owners would rather not drive their vehicles into oblivion, of course. The average driver keeps a new vehicle nearly 6 years -- up from about four and one-half years in 2002, according to R.L. Polk figures. Then it is sold once or twice, on average, over its lifetime. Even if owners aren’t out to set mileage records, careful adherence to maintenance schedules pays off in a higher resale value. “If you do the recommended maintenance, you will be selling a car that should still be in good condition after 100,000 miles or higher,” Keegan said. The trend toward greater vehicle longevity is not hopeful sign to everyone. Efforts to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions could falter if consumers hang onto cars with older technology for years. And the auto industry naturally would like to see people tire of repairing their vehicles. In 2009, consumers stayed away from dealerships in droves, with consequences that were disastrous to the industry and communities dependent on it. New car sales fell to less than 9 million units a year, compared to more than 17 million in its heyday. Merkle said it may take several years to reach 16 million units a year or more. But he expects automakers to rely on new technologies and designs to lure owners out of their aging sheet metal. “Many people don’t buy new vehicles because they need to,” Merkle said. “They buy them because they want to.”
LOL `Mod `Mike, The way that you maintain your Monte Carlo, I look 4 you to hit the half million mile mark plus + 4-Sure.......You will most likely give your Monte 2 your first born as a graduation gift : )
P.T. Barnum said “There’s a sucker born every minute,” (like that SpaceKid ) before the dawn of mass-produced automobiles, but peddlers of bogus mileage-enhancers and proponents of unnecessary auto maintenance procedures are carrying on Barnum’s tradition. Everything from magnets to vortex generators to water injectors and useless “ectoplasm traps” are hawked in the marketplace, and unnecessary tune-up processes can further bleed consumers’ wallets. The best defense is to read your owner’s manual and bone up on your car’s needs, but in the meantime, here’s a 5-point list of dubious or unneeded engine-enhancing procedures. Engine Flushes ($100-$200) An engine flush uses a machine and chemicals to rid your engine’s innards of sludge, but it’s not a normal maintenance checkpoint unless you’ve neglected your engine. We checked in with Tom Torbjornsen, maintenance editor at AOL Autos for his perspective. “Change your oil according to manufacturer’s recommendations and you won’t need an engine flush,” Torbjornsen said. An examination into your oil-filler lid will reveal deposits and gunk. “Sometimes, if you’ve got an engine with high mileage and deposits, a flush will break loose sludge that can get into the engine," he said. "It’s really not necessary today if you’ve otherwise taken good care of your car.” Get Repair Estimates Or Do It Yourself
Fuel-Injection Cleaning ($125-$200) “If your Check Engine light isn’t on and your car’s running fine,” says Popular Mechanics's Mike Allen, whose team of testers have debunked dozens of phony gadgets, “Skip this.” Torbjornsen agrees. “An upper engine carbon cleaning is a good thing to have every 35,000 miles because of varnish deposits," Torbjornsen said. "When fuel injectors get dirty and deposits build up, you get poor fuel economy. But not every year. Once a year is overkill.” Oil Additives ($5 AND UP) There are numerous oil additives on the market ranging from products designed to reduce friction and bolster fuel economy to those whose manufacturers claim their product will allow you to run your engine dry of oil without damaging bearings. Steer clear of all. “Oil additives are designed to fortify and bolster the engine,” Torbjornsen said. “But if you’re following normal maintenance producers, you don’t need it. In the testimonials you’ll find on websites selling this stuff, people say they can drive without oil because of some magic elixir. But a real-world tester always fails.” Gas Savers ($10-$400) Some of the pseudo-scientific gas savers on the market just plain don’t work and may actually hurt engine performance, says Torbjornsen. The E.P.A. has tested over 100, from pills you pop into your tank to “cow magnets,” and none have proven effective. “Some of these products claim to ‘polarize the molecules in the vortex',” he said. “It’s all garbage.” Long-Life Antifreeze ($4-$8 Per Quart) There isn’t any evidence that “long life” antifreeze is any better for your radiator than standard antifreeze, and you shouldn’t assume that because you’ve bought and used it, you can ignore maintaining your radiator, says Torbjornsen. “I recommend a 2-year, 24,000 mile flush regardless of what kind of antifreeze is in your radiator,” he said. “Especially if you live in a wintery climate.” And don’t mix coolants, either, says Allen. “That’s asking for trouble, especially if your car’s engineered for a specific type of anti-freeze."
That's a nice Aerocoupe, but was I supposed to be able to read to odometer in that pic?
I think car's these day are less likely to hit 200,000 because they are not able to survive a single accident without being written off. Especially on newer cars with more airbags - even a new car is a write off if 6 bags go off when you hit a curb. Car accidents are just a thing of numbers and eventually everyones number is up. The best thing you can do to avoid destroying your car is not drive it, but the miles don't add up very fast that way. ChibiBlackSheep is the exception to the rule
I hear what you are saying I think 2 things have happened over the years people just don't work on there cars and don't understand how to fix them (lazy) and that instead of some one having pride in there car they have became disposable and generic they just don't feel the bond to there car !!
SEE MY GARAGE FOR ALL THE MODS
Rim Lights Video :