"Average" Lifespan of a Vehicle.... - Nissan Murano Forum
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#1 Old 01-27-2013, 03:46 PM
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"Average" Lifespan of a Vehicle....

In reading a lot of the posts on this Forum where people have purchased 8, 9, and 10 year old used Muranos with mileage in excess of 100,000 miles, I started thinking what is the lifespan of a normally used vehicle. So I did a little research and found that the US Department of Transportation (DOT) states that the "average" lifespan of a vehicle is a little over 13 years and approximately 145,000 miles.

Now remember that "average" denotes middle value of a data set. It can be skewed by either a lot of high or low numbers. But it gives an indication of the trend of the entire group.

So actually a 13 year old vehicle would be one manufactured in 2000. Which also got me thinking that as vehicles get better, that average will probably go up. Maybe for a vehicle built today it might be 15 years and 175,000 miles, who knows.

Also, they talked about buying a new car, and recommended buying vehicles 8 years old or newer, which based on the current average, should allow the car to be functional for several more years. However, mileage must be considered.

They also stated that the average age of vehicles on the road in the US today is 9.2 years. To me that has to mean there are a lot of vehicles on the road that are older than 13 years.

Confusing, I know, but what else would you expect from the DOT?

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#2 Old 01-27-2013, 06:45 PM
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Halwg-

Interesting information.

I never thought about it before, but now that you posted it you got me thinking. I wonder what the average lifespan was 30 years ago before high-build-quality imports hit the roads. Thirty years ago it was almost unheard of to have a Detroit-built car hit 100,000 miles ("roll the odometer"). Now it is commonplace.

So, my 2005 MO has, on average, only five years left? Yeah, that sounds about right.

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#3 Old 01-27-2013, 08:43 PM
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Actually, a minor correction is relevant but probably only interesting to those who are detail oriented.

The median is the number in a set where half the numbers in that set are greater and half are lesser. Therefore the "middle value of a data set" is more properly the median.

The mean (average) is of course the total of all numbers in the set, divided by the number of values (numbers) which were added to produce that total. If there are a lot of cars older or newer than 13 years, then the median and the mean would be different, possibly significantly so.

Since new car sales have been weak for two-three years, there is a possibility that the numbers skew slightly to older vehicles.

But for practical purposes, the mean is a handy number since IMO it probably says more about longevity of these vehicles than the median.

Whether those two are identical or even similar is a bit questionable, but chances are that they are close enough to be a useful estimate. My wif'e 1995 BMW is 19 years old, and she is planning to replace it, but hasn't done so yet. BMW builds a great car in the 3-series. My 1983 280ZX is another vehicle which skews the numbers.

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#4 Old 01-27-2013, 08:49 PM
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There probably aren't too many Detroit vehicles from the mid nineties or late eighties still running around. I had some pretty bad cars from GM and Chrysler from that time period.

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#5 Old 01-28-2013, 08:01 AM
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I'm starting to wonder if we're reaching a tipping point where cars are going to last fewer years instead of more. The problem now is the technology is so complex and expensive that as these systems start to fail it's cheaper to simply trade the car away.

What's going to go wrong with a Prius at 13 years? What about a Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf?

Add in less and less consideration being made at design time to basic maintenance (yeah, I'm talking to you Nissan engineer who thought 6 hours was reasonable to change spark plugs) and it compounds the issues facing someone who wants to hold onto their older car.
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#6 Old 01-28-2013, 08:13 AM
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Of course not doing these things are some of the reasons that vehicles won't last 13 years!

Like the human body, ignoring even the smallest signs of trouble in your car's performance can lead to trouble down the road.
And some missed signals cost more than others.
A new report by CarMD.com Corporation details exactly which maintenance mistakes can cause the most damage.
Here are the top 10:
1. Putting off recommended / scheduled maintenance
2. Ignoring the “check engine” light
3. Not changing the oil, or not having it changed on time
4. Not checking tire pressure
5. Neglecting coolant, brake, transmission and other fluid services
6. Continuing to drive when the vehicle is overheating
7. Not changing fuel and air filters
8. Having unqualified shops service your vehicle
9. Using generic aftermarket parts instead of original equipment manufacturer (OEM)-quality parts
10. Trying to service your own high-tech vehicle
The best example of the snowball effect of missed car repairs is the air filter. It costs about 20 bucks to replace, but if left alone, a dirty filter can bust oxygen (02) sensors in cars, which cost as much as $250 to replace. And when the sensor fails, you'll first see your gas mileage plunge, then possibly wind up with a $1,000 bill to replace your catalytic converter.
No. 3 deserves special attention, as well. Technicians say ignoring oil changes is the "single most damaging car maintenance item that their customers neglect that they wish they could change," according to CarMD.
The trouble with dirty oil is that it doesn't jive well with the high-tech engines in today's modern vehicles, according to Art Jacobsen, CarMD vice president, and can lead to engine failure if left ignored for too long.
The old go-to rule for oil changes was to refresh every 3,000 miles. But most experts agree drivers should go by the schedule their car's manufacturer dictates instead.
"Frequent oil changes do not necessarily mean better performance or longer engine life," CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen told The Auto Channel.

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#7 Old 01-28-2013, 08:18 AM
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I think JayS makes a good point. As vehicles tend to get smaller and smaller, the manufacturers are cramming more complex systems into much smaller spaces. I remember my 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 with a 289 V8. There was so much room in the engine compartment that I could almost stand in there to change the plugs. Everything was within reach and easy to work on.

Today not so much.

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#8 Old 01-28-2013, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by JayS View Post
Add in less and less consideration being made at design time to basic maintenance (yeah, I'm talking to you Nissan engineer who thought 6 hours was reasonable to change spark plugs) and it compounds the issues facing someone who wants to hold onto their older car.
Excellent point!

What happens to the 13-year-old hand-me-down MO that is being driven by a high school kid when a rear plug fouls? Is he/she going to spend $600 to have the plugs replaced? Maybe, maybe not.

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-OEM iPod interface
-Upgraded (non-Bose) speakers - Pioneer TS-A1702C & TS-G1643R
-Muth signal mirrors
-Valley Industries hitch and wiring harness
-Aluminum fuel tank shields
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#9 Old 01-28-2013, 10:22 AM
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I just drive my cars into the ground, clean them up, then sell them.

Currently my 04 MO SL AWD has ~125K on the clock. ~13.9K/year on it.

We just got back our 02 Sentra GXE from the kids and it has ~163K on the clock. ~14.8K/year on it.

Both are still going strong. I totally believe that if you take care of a vehicle, fix things that need fixing, don't neglect anything, they'll run well past 200K miles. That's my goal anyway for both of my cars. Our MO is the primary driver as we commute in it almost every day. If there is the situation where my wife or I need to go a different direction, or wants to leave work early, then we'll use the Sentra for that day.

We'll see what happens.

On another note, I grew up with early-mid 80's vehicles. 1984 Ford Crown Victoria LTD, 1984 AMC Eagle, 1982 Ford Granada and all of them easily made it past 100K miles. Granted they were slight oil consumers, but my dad always took care of their maintenance needs and did fluid changes all on time. Had some issues here and there but all of them were mechanically sound. However, the AMC Eagle did have a s**tty design in the transmission. But when it worked, it was a TANK!

After 142K miles, my MO is history. Now sporting a loaded silver 2012 Ford Edge Limited with 20" wheels.
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#10 Old 01-30-2013, 08:19 PM
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Another twist to the statistics of ageing cars is that they are like ageing people. The older a person is the longer he or she is expected to live. a 10 year old car with 120K will statistically last longer than the 13 year 145K average.

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#11 Old 01-31-2013, 06:38 AM
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I totally believe that if you take care of a vehicle, fix things that need fixing, don't neglect anything, they'll run well past 200K miles.
I certainly believe this, as well. But there is the problem. Most people do not maintain their cars as they should or as recommended. They get in the car, turn the key, and off they go. I have seen cars with 60,000+ miles that have never had an oil change. I actually have friends who do this. They just top off the oil as necessary and keep on driving.

One of my friends even told me that he only keeps a car 3 or 4 years, so why would he spend money to have an oil change? The car isn't going to break before he trades it! Imagine buying one of his cars, with around 60,000 miles that never had the oil changed.

People don't check fluids, belts, brakes, hoses, they just get in the car and drive. Hey, if it wasn't for me, my wife would drive her car like that. She has no clue when it's due for an oil change.

I think if all vehicles were maintained and driven properly (that's a whole nother story!), that age and mileage would rise significantly.

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#12 Old 01-31-2013, 01:42 PM
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I totally believe that if you take care of a vehicle, fix things that need fixing, don't neglect anything, they'll run well past 200K miles.
I was hoping for that experience with my Murano, even babied and meticulously maintained she fell apart at the 119k mark.

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#13 Old 01-31-2013, 11:00 PM
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I've been to Haiti on 3 occasions during the last 3 years. The only vehicles you see there are 90's era Toyota and Nissans. Most are pickups with modified beds called "Tap Taps" which are used as a form of public transportation or taxi service. They haul 12-15 people and are loaded with gear. They are operating in harsh - harsh environments and no maintenance. But they still keep running and performing admirably. Granted, most are diesels but still they are a very reliable vehicle. Knowing this, I did not hesitate to take on an 04 Murano with 252,000 miles on it. I took it to my Nissan service independent dealer and he said it was ready for the bone yard. Restricted cats, noisy timing chain, bad code on CV transmission, he said vehicle not worth the investment. Of course in Haiti, they don't have emission standards or state inspection as most of the vehicles would not be on the road either. I just find it hard to believe that a 9 year old vehicle with that kind of mileage is recommended for the bone yard. I have a 25 year old GMC Jimmy that I still drive everyday with 218,000 miles on it that still has a lot of life in it.
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#14 Old 02-01-2013, 08:56 AM
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You are comparing apples and oranges, and not knowing the history of the vehicle, that is a crap shoot. If you keep a vehicle well serviced, and replace failing parts when needed, I think you can get high mileage, but doing this comes with a cost.

The old adage..."pay me now, or pay me later" definitely applies here. You are paying for everything "later" and it's going to be very costly, indeed.

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#15 Old 02-14-2013, 03:53 PM
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I was hoping for that experience with my Murano, even babied and meticulously maintained she fell apart at the 119k mark.
Well, sometimes it's also the luck of the draw, unfortunately. I don't remember the number of issues you had over the years, but it was obviously enough to make you get rid of it.

Maybe I'm lucky? But I'm not giving away my 4 leaf clover!

After 142K miles, my MO is history. Now sporting a loaded silver 2012 Ford Edge Limited with 20" wheels.
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