Is My Old Heap Still Reliable?

mxyplxAugust 6, 2007

Our Lemonzeen is a 95 Crown Vic LX with 66,300 miles of which 66,275 are ours. All Original - belts, electronics, everything - cept the battery (2nd) and tires (2nd set) and wipers (yup- 2nd set). Performs superbly. Looks good, runs good, is good. But! It's 12 years old. This month. In California.

My interest is reliability. Tho the brakes are getting real close which isn't much, what really concerns me is all these things like O2 sensors and RPM counters and pollen sensors -and -and -uh -well what ever ad infinitus. Are they still reliable? Is this still a reliable heap for a couple in their 70's or a just damned old junker? Around town no sweat, of course, but cruising down the superslab or up in the mountains is another story.

Is it new car time?

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Mom mom purchased a new car some years ago, when her old one was around 60,000 miles like yours. It was not high mileage in my opinion, but since she is single, lives alone and elderly, it makes sense to have a newer vehicle.

She is now 70 and still has both cars. The older one she doesn't drive anymore, but it's still functional. I'm glad she still has both cars, just in case one goes down. Then its not an emergency situation to get to the mechanic.

Her cars mainly suffer from not being driven enough IMO. Just a few miles here and there to the doctor or grocery store. She really needs to put them on the Hwy occassionally.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 12:27PM
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Will it pass the pollution tests that California puts them through?Might be time for a new car and send it to Illinois but no Chicago where we do not have to deal with that yet.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 12:46PM
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It sounds like it might be due for some major maintenance items, depending upon how well you have maintained it up until now. Do you have a trustworthy mechanic? Why don't you take it in and have it serviced and thoroughly checked out to determine its condition, then you can decide whether to put money into it and keep it, or not. 66K miles is not high mileage anymore. But of course that's not to say you won't have to start fixing/replacing things. But that's still cheaper than a monthly car payment.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 8:07AM
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My mom would take her cars to Midas and get lifetime guaranteed brakes, mufflers, front end alignments. And whatever else they might offer.
She didnt drive many miles, typical little old lady, but she used those lifetime guarantees a few times before her cars would just fall apart too much.
Brake rust from non use kills brakes pads, moisture kills mufflers, pot holes and curbs would kill her front end frequently. She'd get a dent and keep the dent and the insurance money that was supposed to have it repaired.
Her Headliners would droop for years.

Where I just bought tires, they give lifetime free air checks and balancing. It's kind of cool,,, make an appointment , pull in and say check my air. Takes em ten minutes or so, but they spin the tires on car for the balance check too.
Tire price was same as everywhere else, so not really a hidden cost.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 10:22AM
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The car is properly serviced and maintained by the dealer at all recommended intervals. It passes the biennial smog inspection. Never used a quart of oil in its life. It is properly driven. We are not dodering old cogers that aim at a destination 60 feet away and hope for the best, pull into a parking lot leaving our ass hanging in traffic looking for a parking space or miss a turn at an intersection and stop right there bewildered or pull onto a freeway and slow down. My wife had back surgery and can't drive/ride for more than 2 hours w/o walkng for 15 minutes. I drove truck 2 million miles and don't drive anyplace if I can possibly avoid it, can't look a steering wheel in the face anymore. Hence the low mileage.

Yes, the car should be good mechanically for well over 100K miles but how many years on the electronics? At 5K miles/year we've got 7 more years to go. The economics of new vs old vs repairs is not the point.

I have refraised the question in a new post.

Mikie- I had a tractor & semi trailer with a pickup behind the trailer. The P/U broke loose and ran into the semi trailer. I was basically operating 3 separate vehicles same time. Try explaining that to an adjuster. They guv me $300. I guv $5 to the body shop for the estimate. Hooked a chain to the P/U and a power pole and backed up hard. $295 profit.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 11:17AM
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My dad saids repairs are cheaper then a car payment also.However I would not trade my $225 car payment with trouble free driving.For his every so often $60 per hour plus parts headaches.Every 5 years I upgrade while he dumps more into it.You can pay at the showroom floor or in the service department.It all comes out the same after time.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 3:09PM
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My 96 Avalon (136K miles)is our newest car. Have another one with 238K and it's still running great. Replaced normal wear and tear items, but nothing major. Electrical working fine. Also have a 90 Maxima with close to 240K. Same thing. As long as you have it all checked out by mechanic periodically (especially for safety)I keep driving them. Just carry liability on the high mileage Avalon and Maxima. I've heard others on this forum say Crown Vics can last a long time.

I think you should buy that sports car you've always dreamed of.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 2:33PM
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OK OK! You've convinced me. We will keep the old garaged, low mileage, day driven, non-snowed upon, never frozen, never dusted, moderately weathered, unrusted fliver, tho it has occasionally experienced the Pacific Ocean salt air, (but never closer than 100 feet from shore) and drive it with complete confidence in the electrical system and that no matter what happens it will at least get us home if we can find our way with the headliner blocking our vision.

I figured up all costs to date. It came out this way:
Years 12
Miles 66540
Mean MPG is 21.5 (has been consistently over the years).
Total gallons gas 3059
Total Sum of All Costs including purchase* and sale**: $41,707
Total Sum of Operational costs including fuel***, insurance, license and service: $18,303

Overall cost per year including purchase and sale: $3476
Operatinal cost per year including fuel, insurance, license and service: $1525

Overall cost per mile including purchase and sale: $0.63
Operatinal cost per mile including fuel, insurance, license and service: $0.28

*Car was bot for cash - no loan interest.
**I assumed the car as sold for $2000.
***I assumed an average price of gas @ $2/gal from 1995 to now; a WAG!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 2:04PM
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Keep it! 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis here. 97k miles. Fluid changes, tires, brakes, one muffler/tailpipe. Still shines, rides, drives and performs as good as ever. One rear window motor quit working. Under $100.00 to repair. Haven't gotten to it yet. I plan to drive it as long as I can. It's guaranteed savings, even if I have to replace the engine.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2007 at 5:17PM
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my friend's 1996 crown vic has 232000 miles on it so i say go for it.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 11:30PM
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I have a 1995 Toyota Avalon. The only repair it needed was to replace the power radio antenna mast. I have 150,000 miles on the car. I wouldn't think twice about driving it long distance. I also have a 1979 Toyota Celica, which continues to serve me well. It has almost 200,000 miles. The only repair it needed was to replace a cracked exhaust manifold, and a clutch replacement. Repairs I did myself were to replace a radiator, and alternator brushes and bearings, and regular maintenance.

Neither car has ever left me stranded.

If you have to replace a car every five or six years to have reliable transportation, then you're doing something wrong.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 8:36AM
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To me it makes a big difference on how far away someone will drive. I have to drive to Florida 3 or 4 times per year (1,700 miles one way). I have a 15 yr. old Volvo with 190,000 miles. I would not drive it that far. I have a newer car that I take.
It's one thing to have your car quit on you when you are close to home and aren't forced to do a repair in a hurry and another thing to be on the road in a strange area and have to find a motel for a few day and possilby deal with a crooked garage.
I find that the modern cars, and especially a big V8 like the Crown Vic can easily do 200,000 miles if it is kept up. Many things on a car go bad from age and weather rather than total miles. In other words, a one year old car with 66,000 miles will probably have fewer problems than a 10 yr. old car with the same mileage. Things just deteriorate. Think of all the rubber parts on a car....suspension bushings, hoses, tires, etc..They will only last so long regardless of the miles.
For me it comes down to what I can afford and how many headaches I want to endure. On a long trip I do not want to deal with problems so I have a newere car which will cut down on the odds of having a problem. I understand that not everyone can have 2 or 3 cars, but if someone can and peace of mind is worth more than the money spent, then I like the idea of having something newer.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 9:02AM
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