10 cars that seem to last forever - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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10 cars that seem to last forever

if you listen to the radio, you may have heard those Car Talk guys say that buying and maintaining a used car is almost always cheaper in the long run than buying, financing and maintaining a new car. And on the same show, you've no doubt heard the countless tales from “Bonnie in Minnesota” and her car with 300,000 miles that just keeps running, even in the harsh winters, and with minimal maintenance. Chances are you've heard such stories of nearly invincible cars from people you know, or maybe you've even told them yourself...


10 cars that seem to last forever |Tampa Bay News and Weather

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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 06:50 PM
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cool.

a cabin on 5 acres, couple of pocket knives, a happy golden retreiver, priceless
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 07:52 PM
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I do not know if I would have #7 on the list. I can not tell you what I have seen more of, that or the Saab 9.7x.

In addition to what is on their list I would nominate these as "seem to last forever" :

Ford Taurus / Mercury Sable
Honda Civic
Saturn SL2
Volvo - 240 series
Saab - 9.3 series
Subaru - not just the wagons
VW Jetta / Golf
Mercedes 240D / 300D (whatever that platform was)
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 08:42 PM
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I don't know about the saab 9-3s and 9-5s, but I would never touch a 900 or 9000. Talk about maintenance nightmares. I wouldn't mind owning a 9-3 sportcombi though.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 02:23 AM
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Not bad. I had a 1995 SAAB 900S 4dr sedan and put almost 200,000 miles on it before some Non-driving fool hit me and totaled it! Great car and reliable
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 03:00 AM
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being a vw owner too... i would HAVE to put the Classic VW Bug and Type 2 on that list!
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 05:00 AM
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I'd replace the unproven #7 (Mitsu Endeavor) with either the Maxima or Pathfinder.

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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 05:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skijay View Post
In addition to what is on their list I would nominate these as "seem to last forever" :

Ford Taurus / Mercury Sable
I owned a Mercury Sable and my feicee own a Ford Taurus. By far the worst cars I every driven and maintained. My sable had a 90% clogged catylic conveter and the tranny slipped and never went into first gear. Talk about super acceleration when a couple in their mid 90's pass you and you just cannot pass that fully loaded logging truck up a hill.

The Taurus lost an alternator, then 2 serpentian belt pulleys broke including the tensioner, then the intermediat pipe on exaust (to be expected but still cost $140), exaust manifold cracked and blew its gasket, tranny also acted up, ect.

Edit Type-o's

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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 07:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Nick D View Post
I owned a Mercury Sable and my feicee own a Ford Taurus. By far the worst cars I every driven and maintained. My sable have a 90% clogged catylic convery and the tranny slipped and never went into first gear. Talk about super acceleration when a couple in there mid 90's pass you and you just cannot pass that fully loaded logging truck up a hill.

The Taurus lost an alternator, then 2 serpentian belt pulleysbroke including the tensioner, that the intermediat pipe on exaust (to be expected but still cost $140), exaust manifold cracked and blew its gasket, tranny also acted up, ect.
I have had similar terrible experiences....

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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 08:32 AM
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Some of these "seem to last forever cars" seem to last forever only because they were manufactured in such large numbers that the junkyards stock so many spare parts for them and a large community of people just keeps maintaning them cheaply with used parts...

Subaru not included in that category.

05 XS
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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 08:56 AM
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It is no accident that our current family fleet is:

1. My '09 Forester, basic stripper X model with a stick. Going for the long haul.

2. Wife's '07 Civic LX, bought for her 86 mile daily round trip commute; definitely going for the long haul.

3. '02 Ford E150 Econoline van. Not an F150 pickup but same drivetrain, and there are documented Ford vans that have gone a million miles. Mine was bought new in 2003 and only has 72k on it; it's gonna go a lot further so long as I want to keep it around.

4. '91 BMW 318is, bought in 1994, used as a commuter till 2000 or so, and now in the garage for the "retirement toy car" that I always wanted. Only 120k miles, so it will probably outlast me (age 57)... Either my son will inherit it or I'll have them bury me in it.

5. Son's '97 BMW 318ti, bought in 2006 with 136k miles on it (from North Carolina--we're in Detroit) and now up to 176k. Looks and runs great.

Everything but the Civic makes the list or is close to making the list...


I had a '79 SAAB 900 back in 1983, and it was a great car to drive, and pretty much a POS in terms of problems. When I sold it in 1986, it had massive body cancer, and in the 3 years I had it, it had a catastrophic failure of some kind every month or two....

My wife's 98 Sable was actually an excellent car until we sold it in 2007 (with 110k miles on it) to get her into the Civic.

Mitsubishi Endeavor is a stupid pick; there are about 25 of these in the US and although they may be OK, nobody has one and parts/service will be difficult in the future.

I'll also agree with the poster who said that some cars survive because there are so many around for parts. Chrysler K cars and variants were like this. I'll add that being easy to work on (like the K cars) also made a difference.

Jeep Cherokees/Grand Cherokees also last forever.

George

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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 09:08 AM
 
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I was doing some research for a fun economy car under 4k$ and a Volks Golf came up. I saw that is mentioned in this thread but I have one concern buying that car, parts. Are the parts ridiculous money to buy and install? Before I actually bought my Foz I heard incorrectly that they were expensive to service and parts were like gold, so I know ppl may have different opinions because my Subaru is by far the easiest maintenance car I have seen...I have been using EPA Fuel Economy Guide for 1999 Vehicles to get a general idea of fuel economy.

Not to derail this topic too much, but what's your guys experiences with Volkswagen as a brand/the golf?

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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 09:26 AM
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VW parts aren't outrageous, and they're surprisingly easy to work on mechanically speaking. Body-wise they're built like tanks, so expect to spend more time removing screws to pull off the panel to replace a part behind it than it took to replace the part behind the panel itself. I think there are something like 38 screws holding the front bumper on a '99 Beetle, I lost count.

It's mostly the electronic parts that add up in price, and being German they've put sensors on just about everything.

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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 09:37 AM
 
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VW parts aren't outrageous, and they're surprisingly easy to work on mechanically speaking. Body-wise they're built like tanks, so expect to spend more time removing screws to pull off the panel to replace a part behind it than it took to replace the part behind the panel itself. I think there are something like 38 screws holding the front bumper on a '99 Beetle, I lost count.

It's mostly the electronic parts that add up in price, and being German they've put sensors on just about everything.
Lol, well I made a mistake in researching. Their gasoline models are affordable...but they get the same mpg as my foz. I was looking at the epa of the diesels which are prohibitively more money ~10k$ for the same years versus 4k$. So nm to Volks, at least for now.

As for other options here are my other considerations by researching mpg alone:
Honda CRX
Civic HX
Geo Metro
Mits Mirage
Chevy Prizm
Nissan Sentra (200sx)
Saturn SC
Saturn SL
Suzuki Swift
Suzuki Esteem
Toyota Tercel
Toyota Echo
Toyota Corolla

Note: I realize that there are some sketchy ones in there, but I am trying to be objective. I'm trying to stack them up by mpg, initial cost, maintenance cost, and longevity; all in the aim to get the most economical car, not just best mpg.

Also founda better mpg comparer: Search by Manufacturer

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03 Outback
They live on.

Last edited by Real Lyte; 06-09-2009 at 09:44 AM.
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Real Lyte View Post
Lol, well I made a mistake in researching. Their gasoline models are affordable...but they get the same mpg as my foz. I was looking at the epa of the diesels which are prohibitively more money ~10k$ for the same years versus 4k$. So nm to Volks, at least for now.

As for other options here are my other considerations by researching mpg alone:
Honda CRX
Civic HX
Geo Metro
Mits Mirage
Chevy Prizm
Nissan Sentra (200sx)
Saturn SC
Saturn SL
Suzuki Swift
Suzuki Esteem
Toyota Tercel
Toyota Echo
Toyota Corolla

Note: I realize that there are some sketchy ones in there, but I am trying to be objective. I'm trying to stack them up by mpg, initial cost, maintenance cost, and longevity; all in the aim to get the most economical car, not just best mpg.

Also founda better mpg comparer: Search by Manufacturer
First of all, the EPA mileage comparisons are not valid. Cars often get much worse, or in some cases, better, mileage than the EPA ratings. For example, my old '98 Acura TL was rated at 20/25 and routinely got 23-25 in mixed driving and 27-31 on the freeway, whereas my wife's Sable was rated at 19/28 and got 19-20 mixed, maybe 26 on the freeway. Ratings are a general guide only.

Second, if you are looking at $4000 cars, the possibility of repair costs is very high, and repair costs can dwarf gas mileage differences. This is like buying a hybrid, getting 10 mpg better than a non-hybrid for 100k miles, and then having to replace the batteries for $5-8000 and canceling out every cent of fuel savings.

Likewise, if you have a $1000 surprise repair on any car in your list, it will kill your fuel savings dollars for 3-5 years over something that uses slightly more gas. Look at total cost more than gas mileage, especially when looking at old stuff. A $2-3k engine or transmission replacement completely takes you out of your price range.

In your price range, you are right to come up with a list of acceptable cars and look for one at the right price and in the right condition. The Prizm/Corolla would be fine, any Honda Civic would be fine, how about Mazda Proteges, etc. I'd be biased against Mitsubishis and Suzukis because of parts availability, biased against Saturns because of reliability, etc.

Look at some Consumer Reports used car reliability ratings and factor those in too.

Lots of luck,
George

'09 FX non-premium, 5MT
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