Today, American drivers are holding on to their rolling investments more and more. Compared to 10 years ago, the average length of ownership for a vehicle – new and used – has increased by approximately 50 months to 11.5 years. Keeping any vehicle for an extended period of time relies on three factors: routine maintenance, cost of repair, and original build quality.
From years of experience, our mechanics have compiled data on reliability and maintenance costs for hundreds of models so you can be better informed about which vehicles will last the test of time. Here are a few examples:
It’s hard to go wrong with a well-built, simple commuter car from Honda and the Civic is exactly that. There are plenty of examples on the road with more than 200,000 miles and one of the reasons is cost of maintenance. The average yearly repair bill for a Civic is $224, depending on your service provider. With that kind of savings plus the low cost for fuel, a Civic of almost any generation is a smart choice for racking up the miles.
In a recent study by iSeeCars.com, 2.7 percent of the 12 million cars surveyed with more than 200,000 miles were Avalons. When Toyota, an unofficial king of longevity, builds their flagship sedan, they do so with massive attention to detail that results in virtually trouble-free driving. Given the premium status however, average costs to maintain Toyota Avalons are $402 per year, with most big-ticket invoices coming in at two or three year intervals.
Toyota drivers love to rack up the mileage – especially with the trucks and SUVs. 4Runners in particular are frequently found with more than 200,000 miles and average yearly maintenance costs are $406. Buying a 4Runner to get past the coveted 200,000 mark shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg either, as scheduled repairs for 150,000 miles are approximately $327, according to our mechanics.
For a big American SUV, the Expedition is surprisingly reliable and long lasting. Five percent of all the vehicles surveyed by iSeeCars.com with more than 200,000 miles were Expeditions. Average yearly maintenance costs for Expeditions are $441, with most repairs costing $172 on average.
Ford Crown Victoria
One of the most unifying vehicles on the road just so happens to be one of the most reliable and longest lasting as well - the Ford Crown Victoria. Built in some fashion for more than three decades, the Panther platform that the Crown Vic resides on has been used as a fleet vehicle for law enforcement and taxi companies for years, and their drivers love them - especially cabbies. While their longevity and durability has been proven across America, maintenance costs for the Crown Victoria are relatively inexpensive, making it a solid choice for big, cheap, and reliable all-American motoring.
Even though the Ford F-150 is the best selling new vehicle in the U.S. month after month, there are still some seasoned ones on the road racking up the miles. Longevity may depend on the engine and maintenance, but most all varieties - from the 300 cubic inch straight six to the 5.4 liter modular V8 - will easily see 200,000 miles with routine maintenance. F-150 repairs are inexpensive too, with average costs under $150.
Among all of the vehicles on American roads in 2015 built after 1981, 2.5 percent with more than 200,000 miles were Toyota Tacomas. Coined ‘invincible’ by the men of Top Gear, the Tacoma (Hilux outside of the states) is a truck that seems to keep on going no matter what. Here’s an example of a 1996 model hitting 600,000 miles on its original engine and transmission.
The Honda Accord is a timepiece of a car that tends to keep going and going, evidence by million mile Joe. Joe took his early 90s Accord to nearly one million miles with simple routine maintenance. If you wanted to try this high mileage feet too, you wouldn’t be hurting your wallet much as annual maintenance costs for a Honda Accord are approximately $235. Not all Accords are created equal however, as some of the 2003 and 2004 models are known for transmission failures, so do be cautious before you buy just any variety.
Built similarly as the Accord, the Camry is another bastion of reliability and longevity. With plenty of models from various generations with more than 200,000 miles, it’s hard to beat the clock-like reliability of a Camry. The 2012 to 2014.5 model years are especially good as Toyota put a lot of effort into the redesign. Thinking about getting one for yourself? Check out this helpful 2012 Toyota Camry buyers guide.
Full disclaimer, I own a Legacy currently and have owned three others in the past. From the humble 2.2 liter flat four found in the older base models, to the suave yet powerful 3.0 liter flat six found in later Outback and R sedans, the Legacy is a tough-as-nails car with plenty of life expectancy - as long as you pay attention to it. Timing belt replacements for the four cylinder models are critical, as well as inspections and rapid repairs of every component of the AWD system. If you can keep up with routine maintenance, you’ll have yourself a great all-weather, long distance hauler in the Subaru Legacy.
High mileage shouldn’t be a big deterrent when shopping for your next vehicle as most modern cars and trucks truly are built to last. Regardless of which make and model you’re looking at, routine maintenance is the key to longevity, so if you have a question about a repair, a check engine light, an inspection, or if your high mileage ride needs a little TLC, contact one of our highly experienced mobile mechanics today. They’ll come to your home or office to diagnose and repair your vehicle. Get a quote and book an appointment online or speak to a service advisor at 1-800-701-6230.