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How Long Do Cars Last? Expert Insight

Guinness™ world record holder, Irv Gordon, first bought his Volvo P1800S back in 1966 and drove the car over 3 million miles to set a world record for the highest non-commercial vehicle mileage. Gordon loved his car and took very good care of it by keeping up with the car’s maintenance schedule religiously.

How long do cars last? Provided that the car is well maintained, it is possible that it could last a lifetime, but most cars are driven hard to an early grave. Are you thinking about buying a used car or want to know how much life your current car has left?

Car life expectancy can vary by model and amount of use. Keep reading to learn how long you should keep a car.

How Long Do Cars Last?

A good target lifespan of a car is around 200,000 miles and if the car lasts this long you might say it went the distance. Not to say cars can’t or won’t last longer than 200,000 miles. They certainly can and many do.

The average miles per year for a driver in The United States is 13,476 miles. Divide this number by 200,000 and you get an expected life of 14.8 years.  The biggest factor in car longevity is how well the car is treated and if the owner(s) follow maintenance recommendations.

Proper Maintenance

When speaking of a car’s life expectancy, we are really talking about all of its many parts that make the car run. When say the battery fails it doesn’t mean the end of the car, but of course, until the battery is replaced the car won’t run.

It is when the car suffers from multiple part failures or the repairs would cost more than the car’s resale value that the car might be on its way to the junkyard. Keep an eye on the car mileage to make sure you don’t miss scheduled maintenance:

  • Oil Changes
  • Refill fluids
  • Transmission maintenance
  • Change spark plugs
  • Replace belts

These are only a few of the maintenance tasks that must be kept up with to keep the car running for as long as possible. Reading and following the manufacturer’s manual and maintenance recommendations certainly will improve the odds of the vehicle lasting longer than average.

Car Life Expectancy by Model and Year

The good news is that advances in automobile engineering have greatly lengthened the life expectancy of newer cars. Today’s cars are built to last with advances in:

  • Microprocessor and microcontroller integration
  • More electrical components
  • Less moving mechanical parts
  • Driver assistance systems (fewer accidents)
  • Rust-resistant bodies and materials

Every model and production year of a car have different expected life expectancies depending on the technology used to build them. Nothing lasts forever so if your car has reached its end-use this calculator to find out what you can get for junking it.

In for a Long Ride

The question of how long do cars last is forever changing. As technology advances, cars will be on the road longer and longer, but you will always need to responsibly maintain the many systems if you hope to drive your car for decades. For more useful advice keep reading our blog.

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