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When To Replace High Mileage Car?
Old 09-11-2019, 02:39 PM   #1
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When To Replace High Mileage Car?

I've owned a handful of cars throughout my driving life (about 35 years) and have run them up to about 250k miles each before switching to a new car. The cars with this mileage have all been Volvos. Each time I switched cars, there was a repair that was going to cost more than the down payment and most of the first year's payments of a new(er) car.

I currently drive a 15 year old Volvo XC90 with about 258k miles on it... and the check engine light is on. Considering the cost of cars nowadays, the down payment + year's payments argument for changing out a car no longer apply. In other words, repairing the car and riding it longer is the most cost effective choice. I'm perfectly happy to keep repairing the car until there is a catastrophic end to its stability (transmission, engine block, etc) but I'm wondering if I'm foolish to run miles this high on a vehicle and remain confident that it just needs repairs to keep going. I'd love to push 300k or more miles on it but is there something I'm missing in my thinking that someone on this forum can enlighten me on? Are there any car enthusiasts or high mileage drivers here who can revise my argument to keep going with this steadfast Volvo?
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:43 PM   #2
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There have been numerous improvements in safety technology over the past 15 years - in protecting you, your passengers and others on the road. For me that would tip the scales to buying a new vehicle.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:46 PM   #3
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The CEL could be a simple fix. My first suggestion is to figure out why the CEL and then you have better information to decide on the fix vs replace analysis.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:48 PM   #4
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There have been numerous improvements in safety technology over the past 15 years - in protecting you, your passengers and others on the road. For me that would tip the scales to buying a new vehicle.
+1
Does your Volvo have full curtain airbags as a minimum If not, I think an update is prudent??
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:48 PM   #5
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A check engine light could be super cheap to fix (ex new gas cap), so while it might bring up the topic, a code scan and determination is needed to know if the repair is cheap or expensive.

We have a 21 yr old car for driving around town, but we do use the 4 yr old one for long trips as I don't trust the old one for long trips.

Cars are better built, so I think OP could use the 300K mileage as the new limit.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:55 PM   #6
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Autozone or Advance Auto Parts will read your OBD system for free. Dealers charge a 1 hour minimum to spend 5 minutes reading the codes--$100 or so.

They may can point you into a direction of what the problem is. Like was previously said, it may or may not be anything serious to fix.

If you still like the car, keep on rolling. Cars to day have a long lifespan if properly maintained.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
There have been numerous improvements in safety technology over the past 15 years - in protecting you, your passengers and others on the road. For me that would tip the scales to buying a new vehicle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RE2Boys View Post
+1
Does your Volvo have full curtain airbags as a minimum If not, I think an update is prudent??
This is the most compelling argument to get a new car. DW drives a 2019 Volvo and the safety features on it are exceptional. The interior features (full curtain airbags, etc) and the technology features (blind spot detection, collision mitigation, etc) make my 15yr old Volvo seem like a horse and carriage... but they do come with a newer price tag. Maybe I'm just a stubborn guy and hoping to brag about 300k miles.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:31 PM   #8
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Rant: SIL lives with MIL. They drive around in a 20yo Nissan Sentra (MIL does not drive anymore). The car has low miles, surely under 100k, and probably under 60k. BUT it is an old car. Safety features are much less than today. While it is maintained fixed as needed, I would feel much better if they drove a more recent and reliable car. Money is not the issue, at least for MIL. SIL has a "control" thing (I don't need Mom to buy me a new car, mine's fine) Rant over.

To OP, get a new(er) car!
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mistershankly View Post
This is the most compelling argument to get a new car. DW drives a 2019 Volvo and the safety features on it are exceptional. The interior features (full curtain airbags, etc) and the technology features (blind spot detection, collision mitigation, etc) make my 15yr old Volvo seem like a horse and carriage... but they do come with a newer price tag. Maybe I'm just a stubborn guy and hoping to brag about 300k miles.
Yeah, I'd go with the bragging rights and save the money. Oh, and don't tell ERD50 I said so, but if the car is running okay, I'd at least wait until I could get the check-engine light read for free.

Two of my cars are 20+ years old. Lots of "issues" but they start, drive, get where I'm going 99.99% of the time. Not such high milers as yours, but I'll wait for a catastrophic failure before putting a bullet between the headlights and replacing them. It's true that you can't put a price on "safety" but you sure can put a price on replacing a perfectly adequate car. So, ultimately, it's one of those YMMV questions.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:51 PM   #10
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Even with my newer cars I'll rent one for an out of town trip. Do the math. With the price of a new car a rental may make sense. No need to replace for a feel good sense of security. While I need to own a boat I see no need for a car. A boat can not be rented on demand while cars are a dime a dozen. FWIW.
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Old 09-11-2019, 04:13 PM   #11
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Even with my newer cars I'll rent one for an out of town trip. Do the math. With the price of a new car a rental may make sense. No need to replace for a feel good sense of security. While I need to own a boat I see no need for a car. A boat can not be rented on demand while cars are a dime a dozen. FWIW.
Great idea.
Even though I own a very decent vehicle, I have thought for a long drive, it might be better to rent 3 days and put the 2,500 distance on the rental.
Probably worth 20 cents per mile saving of wear and tear on my vehicle, which is $500 value
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Old 09-11-2019, 04:16 PM   #12
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Buy new for safety features.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:32 PM   #13
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I sold my '05 XC90 to an employee with 313k miles. He is driving it now. I'm sure at over 350k miles. I loved that Volvo. It swallowed all the gear I could throw at it. Only let it go when the AWD went out.

I'm in a '19 XC60 now & I love it

Sounds like you love your Volvos. They have a great program to pick up your new Volvo in Sweden for "free". 2 tickets over & a night in a nice hotel, tour of the factory, etc

If you are going to pay for a new Volvo it's a great way to go

edit to correct the year in the XC90
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:43 PM   #14
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I sold my '15 XC90 to an employee with 313k miles.

You put over 300,000 miles on a car in four years?? Wow!!! That car had better be comfortable, because it sounds like you practically lived in it! Any good road trip stories?
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:46 PM   #15
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I sold my '15 XC90 to an employee with 313k miles. He is driving it now. I'm sure at over 350k miles. I loved that Volvo. It swallowed all the gear I could throw at it. Only let it go when the AWD went out.

I'm in a '19 XC60 now & I love it

Sounds like you love your Volvos. They have a great program to pick up your new Volvo in Sweden for "free". 2 tickets over & a night in a nice hotel, tour of the factory, etc

If you are going to pay for a new Volvo it's a great way to go
313k miles is fantastic! I truly do love and respect how the car has held up and performed over the years. It's built like a tank. I think 300k miles is my threshold for "enough" and it'll be ready for a planned replacement at that point.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:56 PM   #16
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You put over 300,000 miles on a car in four years?? Wow!!! That car had better be comfortable, because it sounds like you practically lived in it! Any good road trip stories?
Sorry ...it was an '05 as the kids say...my bad

there was a few years I did 50k miles. I did spend a lot of time in it.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:08 PM   #17
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Sorry ...it was an '05 as the kids say...my bad

there was a few years I did 50k miles. I did spend a lot of time in it.

Hey, that's still pretty good! Hm...I am due for a car in the next year or two....
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:12 PM   #18
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+1
Does your Volvo have full curtain airbags as a minimum If not, I think an update is prudent??
+2
A camera in the back and warning signals from cars or people in the back or sides of the back of your car, not to mention blind spot warnings are just a few of some great current safety features on newer cars.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:17 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by mistershankly View Post
This is the most compelling argument to get a new car. DW drives a 2019 Volvo and the safety features on it are exceptional. The interior features (full curtain airbags, etc) and the technology features (blind spot detection, collision mitigation, etc) make my 15yr old Volvo seem like a horse and carriage... but they do come with a newer price tag. Maybe I'm just a stubborn guy and hoping to brag about 300k miles.
Yeah, there are LBYM bragging rights involved in getting the most mileage out of a vehicle, but if you can afford a new (or almost new!) vehicle, your life, the lives of passengers and others can be worth a lot more than LBYM pride at some point. But you'd have to decide for yourself where that point is.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:36 PM   #20
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Repair costs are one thing, reliability is another. If you're just going around town, and can rely on uber or other alternatives when your old car breaks down or won't start, you can live with the old car if that's what you want. If your drives are longer, or can't take the delays for alternative transportation, I'd dump it. To me an old car that might leave me stranded is a bigger safety issue than a lot of the new car safety features, though both are good reasons to replace.
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