The Little Engine That Didn't Quit: Cars That Rarely Break Down

When shopping for a car, we're hoping to strike that golden combination of a car that's affordable to care for, meets our needs, and won't leave us stranded on the side of the road (or worse). New cars are getting better and better about going the distance, but it sometimes seems that the older technology (pre-computer) can last forever. While it's impossible to know yet how long a car made in the last few years is going to last, all we can do is look at a manufacturer's track record to make an educated guess. But what about those cars that rarely break down, and get 100,000, 200,000 or more miles on them and still keep on truckin'?

Cars that last  

That's what this Reddit discussion wanted to know. Here at Convoy Auto Repair, we see just about everything at one point or another, with the exception of the super high-end cars. But there are just some cars we see more often than others, and it can't always be due to their owners not taking good care of them. Any mechanic will tell you that the reliability of a particular car and how long a car will last are hugely dependent on how well that individual car was taken care of during its lifetime: a car that only sees a garage when it's broken down will break down far more often and in a more costly manner than one that sees a technician for regular maintenance (don't we feel like the broken record?). Here are some car brands that seem to last longer than the rest, in no particular order:

  1. Honda
  2. Lexus/Toyota
  3. Jeep
  4. Subaru
  5. Volvo
  6. Ford (trucks only!)

Some of the higher-end brands include the cost of maintenance in the first four years of ownership, which means those cars are more likely to have regular maintenance done and, therefore, last longer. However, many of those same brands are usually more expensive to repair when they do break down, while brands like Honda and Toyota will both break down less often and cost less to repair when they do. A similar article on iSeeCars.com looked at the question in a slightly different way: what vehicles make it beyond 200,000 miles? Their answer was a truck or SUV. Only one sedan made that list, which was the Honda Accord (but we know some Civic owners who would disagree). This is likely because trucks and some SUVs are built to be work-horses, and driving them around as leisure or commuter cars is not using them for what they're built for, making them last longer than a smaller sedan would for the same purposes. Most trucks are also built to be extra tough for certain jobs – they may lose the fuel economy race, but they'll win the longevity race. But even that article shows that the overall number of certain models to reach 200k miles is pretty small. We also talked about the least reliable new cars last year, adding to the wealth of information telling you what car not to get. If you're looking for help before you buy a new-to-you car (or even a brand new one off the lot), the popular subreddit /r/cartalk is a great place to get started to learn from actual owners about the quirks and issues of the car you're looking at. Be sure to also have a trusted mechanic check over any used vehicle purchase, even if buying it from a dealership, to make sure you know exactly what you're getting. We're happy to perform an inspection on a car you're considering buying at no cost to you because your safety is our priority. Image: Flickr

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