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High-mileage cars: Which brands are most reliable?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Cooper, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Cooper

    Cooper

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    I've got another thread going about my Subaru that has had a head gasket fail at 147k miles. Everyone seems to believe that Subys are super reliable, even into really old age, but this is the third one I've seen die around this time.

    If you want a car that will last FOREVER, what's the best option? Toyota? Honda? Let's leave luxury cars out of this, unless they can be found used very cheap. (I've heard Mercedes and Lexus have supreme reliability.)

    The problem with this discussion is that everything seems so anecdotal. It's hard to know which brands really are wonder cars and which have just marketed themselves that way.
     
  2. ChuteTheMall

    ChuteTheMall Witless Protection Program

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    Reputations are earned, not marketed.

    Honda & Toyota have earned theirs and the numbers back them up.
     

  3. Bilbo Bagins

    Bilbo Bagins Slacked jawed

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    If it helps any, I had a Ford Escort that the head gasket blew at 20K miles.

    I hate to say it but the Japanese car manufactures still dominate the "longest lasting/best reliability" category. The only exception is when you go into full size trucks, in which case Ford seems to do well with the F-150.

    Personally if I was betting on a long lasting car I would go with a Toyota or a Honda
     
  4. XDRoX

    XDRoX

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    Toyota and Honda.
     
  5. Cooper

    Cooper

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    Fair enough.

    But, for example, I live in a college/tourist town. All the college kids drive Toyotas, Hondas, and Subarus. All the tourists drive shiny SUV domestics or luxury cars. Should I take this is as a statement that people on a budget choose wisely, or that people with real money choose wisely? Or are they both choosing wisely for their own situations?

    I looked up "longest lasting cars" and apparently there's some data center somewhere that says Toyota, Honda and . . . Subaru. So I don't know what to think.
     
  6. M&P15T

    M&P15T Beard One

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    Have you checked into a Subaru enthusiat's site and gotten information about your specific vehicle's head gasket situation??

    I have no idea myself if there is a well known problem with the head gaskets on your specific car, but a head-gasket going at 147k is very weird.

    To me, the head gasket going at 147k is symptomatic of a car not taken proper care of, or modded. And if that is the case, it doesn't matter what you buy/drive, if it's not taken care of, it's not going to last. Hondas and Toyotas all have their specific maintenance requirements, and if they're not taken care of, even those cars will "die".

    Can you give us a glimpse into your abilities and history as far as vehicle maintenance?
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  7. Mr Spock

    Mr Spock Vulcan

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    Next time you're on the road, notice how many early 90s Civic hatches and Tercels you see still driving around. Try to find the same number of economy domestics from the same time period.

    While I am willing to trade some longevity for quickness and a nicely tuned engine, there is something to be said about a base model car that will go forever.
     
  8. hpracing007

    hpracing007

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    Honda and Toyota, which also mean Acura and Lexus. My parents got me an Acura Integra 10 years ago (an according to the other thread, my parents didn't know what they were doing, I'm a spoiled brat, and really should have gotten a beater car because that's what I deserved :shocked:) and knock on wood, it's been great. I plan to keep it another 4-5 years, just gotta do regular maintenance.

    150k miles so far. Only 1 brake job at 110k.. Original rotors didn't even need to be turned! Never needs oil added between oil changes (5k miles)
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  9. simotek

    simotek

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    Honda and Toyota definitely have a reputation for going on forever. I've had a few Hondas and have had no reason to believe that I could keep them going forever with routine maintenance.

    I know Subarus have an impressive reputation for reliability and longevity as well.

    However, if you are buying new, I think just about anything is good to go on reliability. I don't think there's an appreciable difference between Ford, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, etc. these days. Ten years ago, yes, but today... not so much.

    FWIW, I drive a Honda, Ford, and Mercedes so I'm not a brand fanboy. The Merc is great mechanically, but the Germans have no clue when it comes to electronics. What a PITA.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  10. SC Tiger

    SC Tiger Jive Tiger

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    Agree with Chute - Honda and Toyota. I think Hyundai is getting there too, plus you have 100k miles of warranty if you buy it new. Usually if you get a lemon you'll know by then.

    I am aware that certain GM V6 cars have a known issue with the intake gasket that causes a failure similar to a head gasket. My immediate family has had 3 fail in this manner. I don't believe GM ever actually fixed the issue.

    Honestly though, how well the car has been maintained is as important as the brand itself. Try to determine if the oil has been changed regularly and get a look at any maintenance records.

    Watch out for performance mods - usually not a good sign.

    Not that it matters for this discussion but I would not assume Mercedes or BMW have supreme reliability. Plus, if they do have a problem they will be very expensive to fix. However, the older Diesel Mercs are supposedly good cars.

    Some of the details on Subaru that came out of your other thread surprised me as well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  11. certifiedfunds

    certifiedfunds Tewwowist

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    If you had to drive the same car for the rest of your life that you drive in college, why go to college?

    In college, your transportation needs are: Cheap, reliable, low capacity.

    After college, people have different needs, toys and families to haul around. And, often you can buy what you want instead of the minimum of what you need.
     
  12. XDRoX

    XDRoX

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    I have a Toyota pickup that sits in the garage with 20k miles just waiting for my other Toyota pickup to stop running. The problem is it just keeps going. It's a '94 with close to 200k miles and still runs perfect. Nothing has been done on it except a new clutch at 100k miles. It would have way more miles but I live 2 miles from my work.

    My wife drives an '04 Honda Accord with 150k miles. I changed the starter at 130k miles. That's been it. The car still runs perfect.

    The ply maintenance I do is oil changes every 8k miles on all three cars. Synthetic Mobile 1 is all I use.

    I fell we've made very smart decisions in regards to cars and couldn't be happier with the results. Also IMO Hondas are more fun to drive than Toyota, but I still think Toyota has them beat in reliability.
     
  13. Cooper

    Cooper

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    Sure. I am shamefully ignorant about auto-mechanics. So no modding whatsoever. I do regular fluid maintenance. By regular, I mean I frequently stretch past the 3000 mile oil change point, but it does get done. I typically don't buy any fancy products that are offered with the fluid maintenance. No special oil, etc. Perhaps I should.

    The other two Suby's I've known to have this issue were owned by my parents, who are downright obsessive about on-time oil changes, etc. All the cars were around the same model year.
     
  14. Chuck66

    Chuck66 Traveling Man

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    Toyota and Honda. There are always exceptions, but in general, this is stilll the rule.
     
  15. Hoser423

    Hoser423

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    Happy Toyota owner here '95 Camry, still a baby at 130K (Very short commute for wife or me most of its years). Had to play catch-up on brakes,tires,exhaust this summer, but for the two prior years, we were under $100 annual for maintenance ! In 16 years we've never been stuck anywhere.

    Dad and Mom love their Chevy 350s (pickup and 2 Tahoes) over 125K.
     
  16. SC Tiger

    SC Tiger Jive Tiger

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    Actually another poster in that thread mentioned that Subarus tend to blow the head gasket between 60k and 160k miles. Not good for a modern car.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  17. sheriff733

    sheriff733 NRA LIFE MEMBER

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    Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.


    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
     
  18. M&P15T

    M&P15T Beard One

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    Well, you need to consider that there is a lot more that goes into the maintenance of a vehicle than just changing oil. With Hondas and Toyotas (and possibly Subarus) they could have timing belts/water pumps & coolant that need regular replacement.....fail to do so on time will wreck your cylinder head/gasket, and which is what I suspect is/was the issue with your Subbies.

    There's all sorts of other maintenance that vehicles need, like alignments, tire rotations, brakes pads/rotor replacements, etc., etc.

    The point is, that nothing you buy is going to go forever without dying. You want to hunt around for a car that is going to last a good, long time, and you're only concerned about what to buy. What you buy is nowhere near as important as how you take care of it, and it sounds like you're not really into taking care of your vehicle.

    Oil changes are only one part of a much larger maintenance picture, especially if you want a vehicle to last hundreds of thousands of miles.
     
  19. M&P15T

    M&P15T Beard One

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    Subbies are one of the most modded vehicles on the planet......so take such information with a grain of salt.
     
  20. HoBoJoe

    HoBoJoe

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    Toyota/Honda/Acura. My 91 Acura was a runner with over 200k on the clock. It also helps that they're SUPER easy to work on.

    Subaru's from the mid/late 90s-early/mid 2000s have head gasket issues. I was looking at used WRXs/9-2Xs a while ago and was really surprised at how many stories I heard about bad rod bearings.