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22 February 2008 @ 03:19 pm
it is?  
Quoted from an article on car.com:

"If 10 years seems like a long time to own a car, well, it is, but it's also just above the median age of the average car on U.S. roads: 9.2 years. Trucks have an average road life of 7.1 years."

It is? I though 10 years was the "right" amount of time to own a car if you were feeling luxious enough to own new cars. I thought I was being wasteful planning to get a car when my current car is only 9 years old.

See that average includes people who buy used cars that are 10 years old and give them love. I just assumed that my saturn was going to live another 10 years with someone who didn't mind the repairs that accompany an older car and needed something affordable. Does that mean my lovely faithful car isn't looking at a bright future?

Ah, but it's an average age, so that means for every new car comming on the road, there has to be a 20 year old one still on it, but soon to retire? I guess I'd like to see the average age of a car before it gets scrapped or otherwise never hits the road again.

I never was good at statistics. It was really the first statement that got me thinking, "Really? That how long I expect to own my car."

EDIT: here we go, further reading finds "Polk said the median age of cars on U.S. roads was 9.2 years in 2007. That ties the previous year's record high. In 2007, 41.3 percent of all cars were 11 years or older, compared with 40.9 percent the year before." "
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The Water Seeker: car repairplymouth on February 22nd, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
the fact that is says "median" rather than "mean" makes it harder to figure - all that means is that 50% of all vehicles are above that age and 50% are below. To make an extreme example, you could have a million cars that were exactly 10 years old, a million cars that were brand new, and one car that was 9 years old. 9 yrs would still be the median.

Also, "average ON THE ROAD" (many of which are not ready to be retired) and "average ROAD LIFE" (age at retirement) are very different things - it kinda sounds like the people who wrote the article don't understand that in their trucks/cars comparison.

I retired my last car at 14yrs old (I owned it 7). I expect my current car to last me at least that long.
Jacob: tankkvarko on February 22nd, 2008 08:49 pm (UTC)
It would be worth knowing how many used cars from the US go to be sold overseas. Perhaps not much, but worth knowing.

For instance, Japanese consumers buy new cars pretty rapidly (partly because they have a financial incentive to -- older cars have to go through more rigorous emissions testing or taxing or something, that ends up costing money). As a result, Japan exports used cars to New Zealand (and perhaps other places, but I know about NZ), where the market for buying used cars is big. Many cars on the road in NZ are used cars from Japan.
Jacob: tankkvarko on February 22nd, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
Incidentally, I agree with you. My car is 7 years old (and has never had a problem), I expect it to be running well into age 10, and I likely won't sell it until it starts giving me problems -- I'll take the "luxury" route and buy something relatively soon after the car starts acting up .. as opposed to try to keep fixing every little thing until I ride it into the ground. But I imagine that might still be around 12 years old. I'm sure one could keep driving my car until 15 or 20 years old, if one cared to be more involved in maintenance than I care to be. But at 7, it's still like a perfectly new car as far as I can tell...

Nurghringrose on February 22nd, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
Cost
I used to blindly spout "There's no reason to buy a new car. A bunch of its value goes away the moment you drive off the lot."

Then we were shopping for a car, and I discovered that's only true for some models. Others keep their value quite well, and getting a new car only costs a little more (per year, over the expected life of the car) than getting one a few years old.

That lowers the point at which maintaining an old car is worthwhile.


That said... my first car was a Volkswagon Squareback. Dark green. Purchased new, used by my parents (driven down a flight of stairs in Spain), shared with my brother (driven on Jeep trails in Lassen), and a few months older than me. We got rid of it when it was around 18 or 19 soon after it lost compression in one cylinder. Pretty impressive, considering that my parent's preventative maintenance plan was well approximated by "Drive it until something breaks. Get it fixed."
gmpe on February 22nd, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
From what I've heard, this range also varies a lot depending on where in the country you live. In New England, where we have road salt and gunk, cars often rust out before that time. You can get them fixed, sure, but things do break down faster. In warmer climates, this isn't an issue, so in CA, for example, there are many older cars on the road than there are here, and they aren't being driven as clunkers. Ten years seems like a long time to me, but that might be because my dad is abusive to my parents' cars and we've gotten new cars because of having kids, so my own, personal timeframe for cars is shorter than that as well, for alternate reasons.
(Anonymous) on February 22nd, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
I don't know how many cars are removed from circulation by being totaled in accidents. (Though a lot of those are written off as "totaled" by insurance then brought back to life with salvage titles, I suppose.)

I'm still definitely in the demographic that *buys* 10-year-old cars, but my next car will be a little less used. If I ever buy a new car, I guess I'll do what my parents do and hold onto it until it is dead, though that works best when you need to have multiple cars in the family and can rotate in a newer car before the older car is totally useless. I'm getting sort of tired of always having an almost-dead car.
Lianafyfer on February 22nd, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC)
sorry, that was me.
Erik: prof-membrane-2avacon on February 23rd, 2008 12:15 am (UTC)
I bought my car new 8 years ago and it now has only 15,000 miles on it.
It sometimes needs repairs (about $800 worth of stuff this year, most
of which are side-effects of not driving it enough),
but I suspect that I'll keep using it for at least another 3-8 years.
(If I were to move across coasts, I might sell it at that point.)
I guess I follow my parents' approach of getting new cars and owning
them for around 10 years.
In the end, I'll know, but on the way, I wondergorgo on February 23rd, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)
10 years is about the point at which a car starts feeling old enough to me that you could justify replacing it based on age, rather than, say, wanting a different car. Growing up, my family seemed to keep cars for about 14 years, with a sharp increase in the number of repairs required in the last couple.

Of course, it also depends on how much you drive, as well. People who are putting 20,000 miles a year on their cars probably wear them out a lot faster.