How Long Do Cars Last and What Can I Do to Make My Car Last Longer?

March 26th, 2020 by


A car is one of the biggest and most important investments you’ll make in your life. It’s a good idea to know a little about what you’re getting yourself into and to do some research into some questions like “How long do cars last?” and “What can I do to make my car last longer?”.

There are more than 272 million cars in the United States and some of them last longer than others, depending on several factors.

Keep reading to get the answer to these questions and more about the life expectancy of most vehicles and how you can extend it.


How Long Do Cars Last? Here’s the Short Answer

RI Polk researched just that question and found that the average car on the road right now is just over 10 years, which is almost double the life expectancy of one several decades ago.

Cars today can run efficiently for as much as 250,000 miles without issues if properly cared for.

This doesn’t mean it stops running and needs to be junked, but this may be the average time it takes for the car to start costing more to fix than it’s worth.

It will become less reliable as time goes on, and you’ll want a more efficient and dependable car.


How Long a Car Lasts Depends on the Car

The length of time a car lasts, and it runs efficiently, depends in large part on what type of car it is and the elements that the car’s exposed to during its life.

The maker, brand of car and the model, are key factors in the longevity of life for a car, of course, whether the owner takes proper care of it or not also plays a major part.

Hyundai had three brands that make the JD Power list of most reliable cars for the past year. Their top three models include Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai. In fact, 16 out of 18 Hyundai Motor Group vehicles tested ranked very high on reliability.

European cars are at the other end of the spectrum in that all the European brands tested actually were below average when it came to important factors such as reliability, electrical components, and add on features such as infotainment.


The Owner is a Huge Factor in Car Life Expectancy

When it comes to the life expectancy of a car, there is no bigger factor than the person who owns and maintains it.

Car owners who don’t follow recommended maintenance and take good care of their car won’t get nearly the same amount of time and mileage out of it as someone who is diligent about getting the oil changed and taking it in for its regular tune-ups when needed.

Another factor that impacts car life is where in the world the car is used. If you are in the Northern states or Canada, the body, engine, and tires are all affected by the salt, ice, and snow that it is exposed to. Many people will put their sports vehicles away for the winter, which will help increase the lifetime of the vehicle.

Whether you keep your car in a garage during the winter months so that it isn’t exposed to the elements when not being driven can help your car last longer.

In wintery places, you may want to take the step of getting an undercoating put on the undercarriage so that the salt and snow don’t do as much damage to the exterior and engine of the car.


Listen to Your Car

If you want your car to have a longer life expectancy, you need to listen to your car when it shows signs of needing a little help to be in optimum shape. This includes paying attention to car warning lights, listening for strange noises and checking car fluids regularly.

You’ll also want to show some care to the exterior body of your car to ensure it lasts as long as possible as well. If there are scratches or signs of rust, you’ll want to attend to them and fix them properly before the problem spreads, and the entire car begins to rust and fall apart.

You get to know the feel of a car when you’ve been driving it for a while. Be sure to check out any new issues that you feel while driving the car. If it starts pulling to one side, you may need an alignment.

Not listening to your car’s signs and signals for issues can leave you without a reliable vehicle and stuck with a much larger bill for repairs or replacement than you would have needed if dealt with when first noticed.


Find a Mechanic You Trust

One of the easiest ways to always know your car is in the best shape possible is to find a mechanic that you trust, and that will take the time and energy to care for your car properly.

If you don’t know much about cars, this will be particularly important to your peace of mind and the life of the car. You don’t want to have subpar car parts used in repairs or to be charged for expensive repairs that aren’t really necessary. A trusted mechanic is one that you can have open communication with and feel comfortable with their answer.

If you are doing work on the car yourself, be sure you know what warranties on the car and individual parts entail. You don’t want to make a warranty void because you did something that goes against the manufacturer’s advice.


How Long Do Cars Last? You Decide That

The answer to the question “How long do cars last?” depends more on the manufacturer and owner than the car itself. Taking care of your car will give you a better chance of holding on to it for years to come.

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