Largely accepted is that things get old and break. Automobiles are certainly no exception. Many people get hundreds of thousands of useful miles. Others have to replace much sooner and have far more problems along the way. There are reasons and knowing them can save a person thousands of dollars.
In many respects a vehicle is not unlike a human body
Both require fuel, maintenance and sometimes repair. Another similarity is, the better care each receives early on, the better the results are, in later years. This is even more important on the vehicle, as it lacks the ability to heal itself.
Another serious problem is the tendency to skimp on maintenance with older vehicles
We often hear, "It’s an old car, so I just want a cheap tire/battery/etc." This is very poor economy. A cheap out-of-round tire now vibrates. This may quickly destroy suspension parts, such as a rack and pinion, ball joints, wheel bearings and so on. Saving $200 on a set of tires may result in rack and pinion failure that cost $1000.
Worse is using discount repair service. Poorly performed service is not recognized as the cause of continuing problems. Because of the age of the vehicle it may be inviting to use discount service providers. We have found this may result in continuing problem which are often improperly blamed on the age of the vehicle.
Often old age is blamed for something proper service might have prevented. Continuing problems, caused by poor service and products, results in the car being replaced at considerable expense. Ironically, the owner may even feel happy they didn’t invest in a good set of tires for an old car that was "fixing to break down."
As cars age they need even better care
An older car does not have to fail, but it does require extra care. Just as a person must take better care of themselves as they age.
Our experience shows up to 70% of problems on older vehicles might have been prevented. Substandard batteries ruin alternators and leak acid which does great damage. Neglected oil changes cause oil leaks and oil consumption from stuck piston rings. Plugged fuel filters and cheap fuel cause expensive fuel pumps to fail and clog injectors.
Ironically, investing in gimmicks like high-mile oil and fuel injection cleaner does no good at all and can even increase problems. Good consistent care is all that is needed.
Most modern vehicles are capable of giving 250,000 miles of service with minimum investment
There are two vehicle types that are far more prone to problems than others. On one end of the spectrum is the new vehicle that is very inexpensive. Cars with very low entry prices normally get there by compromising on engineering. Ironically the other problematic class of vehicles are those at the top end of the cost spectrum. Expensive vehicles usually come with loads of gadgets. Gadgets break and the more gadgets there are the more there are to break. The best long-term service normally comes from mid-range vehicles.
Another good indicator of vehicle quality is to look at the resale value. Toyota vehicles normally retain a high percentage of their original cost at resale. This is because a lot of folks have learned they give good service over a long time frame.
Buying the right vehicle and taking care of it will always cost less. We also advise a yearly general inspection. This way we can spot potential problems and keep you advised on maintenance. Preventing problems, that’s the AGCO way.