published Friday, January 20th, 2012

Americans keeping cars and trucks longer in weak economy

Americans' love affair with automobiles often prompts us to seek out new or at least "less-used" vehicles before the ones we already have are worn out.

But we've been in unusually bad economic circumstances for quite some time now, so a lot of Americans have been keeping their vehicles longer.

In fact, the typical age of U.S. cars and trucks in the United States hit a record 10.8 years in 2011, according to a Michigan-based automotive research firm.

The previous record, 10.6 years, was reached just the year before.

By comparison, back in 1995, the typical car was only about 8.4 years old.

Of course, as you might imagine, automakers would prefer that more Americans trade in their cars for newer models with greater frequency.

And if we can get out from under the current economic weakness our country is enduring, that may happen.

But one thing seems certain: We Americans will keep enjoying our cars and trucks -- new, old or "middle-aged."

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Not if we don't fix up our roads...and bridges.

January 20, 2012 at 1:01 a.m.
EaTn said...

My vehicle will soon hit the 10 yr/100k mile mark with reasonable oil changes and maintenance. My peeve is that at about every oil change they post a sticker with the next due one at 3500 elapsed miles while most user manuals recommend about twice that. Folks read your manual or get ripped off.

January 20, 2012 at 4:42 a.m.
rolando said...

I started out changing my oil every 2,000 miles, EaTn. That was in the early 50s and 2,000 was a long way. Lots of those cars hit 100,000 miles without an engine/tranny teardown. Today I do my 2005 and 2011 vehicles at about 3,000 miles regardless of what the book says [6,000 miles in dustfree areas or under light duty].

The life of most of the additives in motor oil -- the cleansers, etc -- only last about 3,000 miles...it is burnt up or evaporated after that. Maybe a bit longer/shorter depending on how long it takes you hit 3,000.

Once I got my first relatively new car and followed that regimen, I never got less than 100k on any of them. One topped 200k without a major overhaul. I am not about to change now. I use only the best oil and filter available. Spend bucks now to save hundreds or thousands later...

January 20, 2012 at 7:20 p.m.
EaTn said...

rolando...guess you wouldn't agree with the auto engineers in collaboration with the major lubricant engineers who developed the on-board computer parameters for oil changes on some models. My wife drives mostly interstate and I change her car's oil at about 7000 miles which the computer says is about 3000 miles too soon. Supposedly major improvements in oil composition plus cleaner burning engines have moved the oil-change picture over the years.

January 20, 2012 at 8:20 p.m.

There's actually a group that favors even longer periods, because the maintenance schedule is too cautious and may be a scam.

I'd spend more concern on the tires though, their failure can be a very bad thing, at least the engine failing probably won't cause as bad a crash hazard.

January 20, 2012 at 11:40 p.m.
jsmith1427 said...

Longer average ownership can be linked to people spending conservatively in a job market that remains weak, longer-term financing to keep monthly payments low and better quality cars.Most auto service centers and major US auto dealership groups look to the older cars and trucks as a sign of pent-up demand that will be released as consumers are forced to replace their vehicles or as they gain economic confidence

March 23, 2012 at 10:17 p.m.
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