Good morning. I’m Saul, here at Saul’s Autotek. Today we’re going to answer a very, very common question that we hear here every day. “How long should my car last?”
What a hard question to answer. It’s like going to the doctor, finding out you have an illness and asking, “How long do I have to live?” Well, what’s average? Well, an average life span in the US is 82 years, but you might go to the doctor when you’re sick and find out you have 6 months or 5 years or 10 years to live. Who knows?
Cars are very much the same way. The average life span of an automobile varies substantially across the board depending on the year, make, model, what it was produced for, whether it was designed to be a commuter car, designed to be a sports car or luxury car. These are all factors into how long your car’s going to last.
We could look at numbers about how long the average owner actually owns their car. The average owner in the United States will only possess their vehicle for 22 months on average whereas the average vehicle on the road is 12 years old. What does this tell us? Most owners are going to change cars pretty consistently. Now the reason they change cars might be unknown. Maybe the family’s getting bigger, they need a minivan. Maybe they’re getting rid of the sports car to get something more practical. Maybe the car just broke down and they don’t want to fix it and they’re buying something else. Who knows?
But the most common question is, “How long should my car last?” With proper care and maintenance, any vehicle can stay on the road in Denver for literally decades. However, most modern vehicles, depending on their country of origin of automotive engineering and design and production, have a pretty average life span that we can predict. Most American made vehicles will stay on the road for 10 to 12 years before major, major repairs will start happening that becomes very, very cost prohibitive at the point where the vehicle’s value has dropped so much it’s no longer feasible to repair.
And that makes sense is that the average life span of a vehicle on the road in the United States is 12 years. German engineered vehicles, it’s a shorter life span, typically only about 7 years. However, these vehicles are much, much tighter wound engineered, often perform substantially better than their American counterparts, and are more well balanced overall. The difference is that just like your human body gets old, gets tired, and everything wears out together unless you keep going to the gym and keep exercising and keep those repairs up, your average German automobile is going to fall into the same category and it’s going to last a good, solid life but you’re going to have to take care of it and maintain it to get that true performance that you wanted out of it. Whereas an American made counterpart will still last a pretty darn long time but will slowly deteriorate along the entire course of it.
Last but not least, become our Japanese or East Asian and Korean manufactured motor vehicles. East Asian manufactured motor vehicles actually have the longest life span. This is due to their engineering standards which often have tolerances of less than a hundredth of 1% in their mechanical designs. As a result, the product simply lasts longer. Oftentimes, the product can be substantially more expensive though.
We’ve seen Japanese vehicles such as Toyotas and Hondas last 20 or even 30 years. Again, proper maintenance is key to that process.
So, if you’re curious about your vehicle and you’re wondering, “How long should this car really last?” or “How long should I expect to get out of it?” the real answer is this. The more cost-effective, cheaper to produce, and cheaper to run cars typically have shorter life spans. Those that are well built and well engineered, while their cost may be a little bit higher, say a Toyota Camry versus a Honda Accord, they’re comparatively going to last very similarly. While the Accord may be a few dollars cheaper than the Camry, the Camry’s going to last a few years longer than the Accord. The choice is really yours.
Here at Saul’s Autotek, our job is to keep you on the road, reliably, consistently, and inexpensively, so if you’ve got a concern about yours, you’re worried how much life it has left, or you just want to know your status to make sure that you can plan ahead in the future, come and see us. We offer a 59-point free inspection on any and all motor vehicles and we’d be happy to give you a free diagnostic on yours so that you can have the best perspective without spending a penny about how best to take care of yours, how long it should last, and how you can plan for the future.