Auto Aging - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-17-2009, 08:10 AM   #1
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I hadn't bought a used car or truck in probably 40 years.
I guess I inherited the new-car-every-four-years gene from my father.
Back then it may have been a good strategy to buy new and avoid frustrating repairs.
I would trade in when the car was reaching it's safe limit of 60,000 miles or so.
I bought the '01 Ranger a few years back when it was three years old and had 35,000 on it.
It now has 90,000 and seems to be running very strong.

So I have a question: If I continue to take very good care of it how many miles would you expect this truck to live?
When will it start causing me headaches?
It has about 6000lb tow rating and all I pull with it is the Casita and maybe only 20% of my miles are towing... and I never "horse" it. I know how to drive.

PS when your retired you have a lot of time on your hands to think about silly things like this.


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Old 01-17-2009, 09:13 AM   #2
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Ron, Our '02 Ranger (with 4.0L engine, automatic transmission) has 163k miles. No major repairs to engine or transmission so far.

We had a '93 with the 3.0L engine (also with automatic transmission) that made it 300k miles before the engine needed work. (We sold it to a family member at about 225k, and he kept driving it.) It did have a transmission overhaul at about 120k.

Hope this helps.

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Old 01-17-2009, 09:23 AM   #3
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I don't think there is a magic number for mileage or age. Some vehicles are lemons right from day one. Others run and run and run. I've always been hesitant to buy a used truck. They can be absolute cherry looking. Shiny, clean, etc., but have the guts pulled out of them by overloading. My mechanic always tells me to be wary of used trucks because problems don't crop up right away. At least with new I get a warranty.

There's a matrix you can develop. Cost new + maintenance costs divided by miles driven = cost per mile. Sometimes it takes years to justify or break even. Or, you can continue driving what you've got, keep the maintenance up and hope for the best. If you get a couple more years out of what you've got... mores the better. Continue saving for that new rig. With technology advances you'd be able to buy a better more fuel efficient vehicle.

My 2000 Ford F-150 Triton 5.3 V8 has nearly 110,000 miles on it and is going strong. I plan on driving it until "the wheels fall off" or 3 years... whichever comes first. What I don't do is stand next to it and talk about the extra money I have in my pocket!
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:39 AM   #4
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I guess I should've added that we bought the '02 Ranger used (barely); the '93 was new, and had a transmission issue from the get-go.

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Old 01-17-2009, 09:42 AM   #5
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What I don't do is stand next to it and talk about the extra money I have in my pocket!
It is nice to know I am not the only one with that superstition.
We only talk about expenses in our vehicles.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:47 AM   #6
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If you change the oil according to the book and perform all the other services you should be able to get over 200,000 miles and more out of the engine.

Books normally state Oil and filter every 3000, 5000, or 7500 based on how hard it is used and clean or dirty environment.

Air Filter, Transmission fluid and filter (Automatic and differential and manual transmission fluid change) I had a 92 ford truck that had a sealed differential and I had a mechanic open it and replace the oil and that inclused a special additive the Ford had for it.)
Brake fluid change. I do mine at 100,000 miles regardless of what the sales people say.
Antifreeze (Long term antifreeze and flush and change every 5 years.
Brakes when needed, Wheel bearing repack when brake job is done.

If you find a mechanic that you can trust you can take care of these things at a reasonable cost however if you go to the quick change companies they will try to sell you these services regardless of if you need them or not.

Now is a great time to purchase a new vehicle because the manufactures are on the ropes and offering great rebates. The only thing is you will more than likely get screwed on the trade in so keep it and sell it yourself.
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:04 AM   #7
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The quality and durability in cars and trucks has increased considerably over the last twenty years (thanks to the competition from imports). I usually run my vehicles past 400,000 km., (we drive a lot ) with no sacrifice in reliability. What is needed, is a trustworthy mechanic. If you have to rely on dealership mechanics, between the high hourly rates, the overly-enthusiastic service writers, and "twice-the price" OEM parts, the break-even point probably occurs at a lower mileage. Depending on the vehicle, 200,000 miles should be neither expensive nor unreliable.
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:23 AM   #8
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ANY vehicle will last forever as long as you have bottomless pockets from which to keep up on repairs and maintainance. I have a friend who does ALL his own work on his vehicles. He has a 1980 3/4 ton Ford van with well in excess of 300,000 MILES on it. This is NOT a practice I would endure, airing on the side of vehicle reliability is more my line....!
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:54 PM   #9
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Doug's right!
When the anual upkeep cost is higher than the resale value get rid of it. As to how long it will last depends on many factors. Weather, usage, Your driving habits, past upkeep etc, etc. I've been watching theBarrett-Jackson auction this week. Some of those cars are OLD, but look at the upkeep they have had.
I bought a used pick up truck. The dealer swore that it had never been painted or in an accident but the longer I've had it the more I'm convinced that he didn't quite tell me everything. {He wouldn't lie to me now, would he?]
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:57 PM   #10
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For me, 200,000 miles is a minimum acceptable life-span for a vehicle. I equip my tow vehicles with transmission coolers, so that life-span applies to the transmission as well. The only thing that will hurt an automatic transmission is heat. Without a transmission cooler, anticipate that your transmission may fail at any moment -- it is the nature of the beast. If it stays cool, it will last "forever" (assuming no manufacturing defect), but heat it up, which can take just seconds, and you just stabbed it through the heart. It is a funny thing -- you are considering trading at under 100K miles. I only occasionally own a car with under 100K miles! My old '91 Jimmy has well over 200K, roughly half of it towing, and it has no mechanical issues, and never has. It is currently in service hauling a firewood trailer (which weighs a few thousand pounds) in and out of the woods.
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Old 01-17-2009, 02:55 PM   #11
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ANY vehicle will last forever as long as you have bottomless pockets from which to keep up on repairs and maintainance.
In 1981 I bought a Yellow 1979 VW Beetle Convertible from friends who were expecting their 1st child and "needed a bigger car". I was in love with that car. After I paid her off, I was in love with the idea of not having a car payment, so I didn't flinch too much when the $catalytic converter$ needed to be replaced. At 102,000 miles I had the engine replaced. I replaced the Convertible top twice over the years... After 16 years as my daily driver, it was apparent that it was time for another engine replacement, as well as a total rebuild to replace all of the deteriorated rubber body gaskets. She needed a paint job. I had named her "Ruthie" after the actress Ruth Gordon, because over the years she had developed an attitude. I finally sold her when I decided I needed transportation, not a relationship.
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:20 PM   #12
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One big consideration is the insurance. Most people carry the comp and collision way longer then they need to on older cars. KBB shows an 01 Ranger V6 with 91k mi and good condition with around a $2000 trade in value. Wholesale book would be less. Your insurance costs should be very low, especially if your not carrying comp and collision. If you factor in the annual insurance costs on a new car, sometimes that difference will make a lot of repairs on the old one.

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