Buying a car that will last

With the economy in shambles, the desire to buy a car that will outlast the payments on it has drastically increased. With adequate research and impeccable maintenance after the purchase, you may just be able to make that car last a quarter of a million miles. The U. S. Department of Transportation states that cars last an average of thirteen years on the road with 145,000 miles on the odometer. But, there are ways to beat that average, and cost conscious drivers are doing it today in increasing numbers. Buying a car with the future in mind can save a lot of money, possibly even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Keeping a car and not trading it in every few years saves in many ways, on insurance and car payments especially. Reliable single owner cars with complete histories retain their value for an additional benefit when the time comes to finally replace the car.

The first step is to analyze your personal situation and capabilities. What car can you afford, are you capable of doing maintenance yourself, and how long do you really plan to keep the car? These will all enter into the decision making process. Finances will drive the ultimate decision you make though, but keep in mind the longer you retain the car, the more money you will save in the long run. Buying a model that may be a bit over your budget but has the highest reliability rating will save money as the years of maintenance-free driving role by.

The next step is to do thorough research on the reliability of existing cars. What manufacturers tend to turn out the most reliable cars? What models need the least number of repairs? Although past records of reliability aren’t complete insurance that current models will perform similarly, it is more likely than not to hold true. According to several industry studies, the most reliable cars are made by Japanese manufacturers. There are manufactures that have a long history of reliability from other countries, but Japanese models are the winners this past decade. An all time Guinness World Record for most miles goes to a Swedish made 1966 Volvo that ran for 2.5 million miles. Volvo and Mercedes both award emblems to cars that pass the 200,000-mile mark. Saab will actually give anyone who makes it for one million miles in a Saab a brand new car. These European manufactures don’t take top spots in reliability though. Warranty Direct, one of the largest companies offering extended warranties, released their list of the top 100 most reliable cars of this decade. Japanese models are in all the top ten positions and in 16 spots out of the top 20 most reliable cars.

Taking top place in reliability is the Honda Accord. A great family car with world-renowned reliability year after year, the Accord is hard to beat. Here is a car that will easily last for two decades with routine maintenance. Subaru’s Forester, the tough little hatchback that can make it for years even in the rough climates of Alaska and Colorado, comes in second. The Mazda MX-5 takes third and Mitsubishi’s Carisma 5 holds fourth. Despite the troubles Toyota has experienced in the past couple of years, its subcompact, the Yaris, holds fifth place. This is the only car of Toyota’s that hasn’t experienced a recall, is an all around money saver, and beat out the Honda Civic that placed sixth. Rounding out the top 10 are the Nissan’s Almera, the Honda CR-V, Toyota’s RAV4, and Nissan’s Micra.

Consumer Reports, in a study of predicted reliability for 2009 models, stated that overall, small, relatively inexpensive cars and family sedans in the midsized range tend to be the most reliable. There is no need to spend a fortune buying a car if what you want is durability, reliability, and value. The most reliable tend to be the small cars with more than half the models having above average reliability scores. They also report that of the domestic manufacturers, Ford beats all others. Looking at 2009 models, they found that the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan had higher predicted reliability ratings than even the Honda Accord and Toyota’s Camry. To rate their cars, Consumer Reports looks at 17 potential problem areas. Although Ford dominates domestic manufacturers, Consumer Reports puts Asian cars in 36 of the top 48 spots. Toyota, despite the problems it has had, has 18 of the top 48 positions.

Whether buying new or used, picking a model from the top 20 most reliable cars should assure long life and savings. If you are considering a used car, look at the certified programs offered by various manufacturers, some have better warranties than buying the same car new. After purchase, be sure to keep to a strict maintenance schedule and watch that car last for close to forever!