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Speakers Corner


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Are you keeping your car for longer?


oresome

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Motorists squeezed by the double dip recession are keeping their cars for longer now than twentyfive years ago. The average age of a car on the road now has crept up to seven and a half years from six and a half years then.

My present car is six years old, but I do a low mileage due to retirement and the cost of leisure motoring, so the car still feels fairly new and I think cars actually last longer bodywork wise than they did.

For most of my working life I had a company car that was replaced every two years with more miles on it than my present car has after six.

I toy with the idea of replacing the present car, but the cost of fuel limits the mileage I do, so it's hard to justify the expense.

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Chegs ®™

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I generally spend a maximum of £500 on my cars,I bought a Mini from a scrapyard for £50 & a MIG welder to rebuild the bodywork.The Mini lasted me about 7 years.I bought a Rover petrol,it survived many attacks by yobs running over the car,booting footballs into it,youths using it as a seat & year after year,passed its MOT with the most expensive repair being 50p for a bulb.It finally failed its MOT when the tester opened the hatchback to check the spare & the hinges broke away from the bodywork through rust.I bought a Vectra on an "S" plate,it was written off in a crash.I bought a diesel Rover,it was written off in a crash.My next car will be a Volvo estate,that might actually survive the next crash.

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Quickbeam

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Richard.Sole & Chegs ®™ are certainly at opposite ends of the car renewal spectrum!

In the '70's there were a lot of people that changed cars well before MOT requirement day came, but that was when a 3 year old car was expected to have severe body rot on the wings and sills which made them structurally unsound. I recall using breakers yards at that time that well full of cars scrapped before an MOT was ever issued on them!

There's no need to be on the edge of your seat anxious over an MOT on a well maintained car today, there's not many unexpected failures today.

On the other hand, I think I now see where Chegs has been getting his collection of serious injuries in car accidents from. A 50 quid mini is certainly going for 50 quid because it's become structurally unsound. You can weld it all you like to pass an MOT, but you'll never get it back to anyway near to it's original body shell strength to when the body corrosion started to set in.

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HondaMan

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* I have never needed a MOT certificate for any car we owned*

Lucky you always to have owned cars under 3 years old

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Bing.alau

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Exdragon. I recently bought a VW Up! and I love it. I believe the City-go is more or less exactly the same car and I have heard from owners that it is just as good. So I would say "Go for it. There's no pockets in a shroud". I am doing my damndest to spend my kids' inheritance and encourage everybody else to do the same with theirs.

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cruiser2

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Had a Y reg Mazda 626 from new. It had about 65000 miles when I part exchanged it at the end of May this year. Have now got a 3 year old Mereceds B150 which had only done 2200 miles. Hopefully this will last my life time. As someone else has said we are spending our kids inheritance!!

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morddwyd

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"Lucky you always to have owned cars under 3 years old"

Unlikely to be due to luck, unless they were all won in a raffle.

More like, as in my case, doing some hard graft and denying oneself other things

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Chegs ®™

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A 50 quid mini is certainly going for 50 quid because it's become structurally unsound. You can weld it all you like to pass an MOT, but you'll never get it back to anyway near to it's original body shell strength to when the body corrosion started to set in.

The Mini wasn't involved in a crash,it was stored at a mates(now ex-mates)whilst the engine was rebuilt,and he scrapped it.Unlike most welding repairs that involve welding a plate over the holes,I'd cut away all the rusted metal & then added a small flange around the hole which was then filled with carefully trimmed replacement panels.The bead of weld was then ground flush with the surrounding metalwork.The finished metalwork was then primed & painted resulting in an invisible repair.I had also brazed all the spot-welded seams to increase the bodyshells rigidity.It also had a very expensive "rollcage" built into it.As the original Mini was a monocoque bodyshell with the running gear mounted onto two subframes front & rear,the repaired areas would've been just as good as the original metal.If I'd ever crashed the Mini in similar circumstances to any of my other crashes,my repaired bodywork wouldn't matter as Mini's have nothing extra to crumple & absorb some of the impact & I would be dead.

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WhiteTruckMan

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Standards of design and construction of cars have definitly moved on in the last 30- 40 years. It doesnt seem so long ago when a car with 60k on was to be avoided, and I would run a mile if confronted with 100k! But engine and oil improvements have ended those worries, such that my next trip across europe will be in a diesel car with 170k on it.

Vehicle structures too have improved out of all recognition, especially in the area of corrosion resistance. I remember the days when a vauxhall or fiat would have dissolved into a heap of rust, rubber and glass at the three year mark thanks to the salty winter roads.

However, I do think that ever rising fuel costs and emission controls have led to an increasing complexity of vehicles that render their servicing, maintainance and fault finding less and less user friendly. I can quite easily see the day when car bonnets are sealed items with a notice on them saying no user serviceable items inside. Perhaps with small flaps that you open to add fluids like windscreen washer fluid.

I can see this disturbing trend already in the trucks that I drive, where drivers are forbidden to carry out any form of repair to the vehicles, instead should wait for whenever a callout van should arrive. Already we have trucks with no oil dipsticks, merely a display in the cab that tells you if the oil level is ok or not.

Yes vehicles have moved on a great deal since my younger days. But I'm not completely happy with the direction that they have gone.

WTM

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flycatcher1

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Years ago I changed cars fairly regularly but now I am older and. maybe, wiser I keep them longer. My Jazz is seven years old and I would like to pass it to my younger daughter but she will not give up her nine year old Polo.

My wife has an old Mini. C reg so pretty old, costs a fortune to keep in A1 nick but she will not do without it. 22000 miles and nothing vital changed - not even the clutch even though we do about 600 miles a year on very short journeys.

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OTT_B

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Claims that cars are too difficult to work on seems to be a bit of an obsession with people. I've been hearing the same claims for at least 20 years, and I'm fairly confident that if I were 20 years older, I would have been hearing the same claims for at least 40 years.

Don't get me wrong, the technology used in cars has changed (dare I say 'improved'?), but the retail tools to maintain the new tech are soon available. There are some notable exceptions to this, and a few have already been mentioned by other posters, i.e. equipment to reprogramme ABS modulators, engine ECUs, anti-theft units, SRS control units, and steering control units. Some cars have a great deal more 'black box' controls, but they all have something in common - they rarely go wrong. With 34m registered vehicles in the country and the expansive knowledge base of Google, no one will ever struggle to find horror stories from consumers 'held to ransom' by dealers wanting thousands of pounds to replace offending black box parts, but on the whole, the numbers of people having issues is extremely low.

The parts on cars that fail most regularly seem to be the same parts that have always been a problem. Things like rubber bushes, ball joints, head gaskets and bulbs. The only difference is that they tend to last longer before they fail now.

What I would say though, is that the amounts of space available to work in an engine bay has reduced, as more hardware has to be stuffed into the gap. I wonder sometimes if that causes problems with perception that a job is difficult - lots of stuff that an older home enthusiast may never have seen before, standing in the way of what you think should be a simple spark plug change, for example.

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