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How Many Miles is Realistic for a Car to Last?

The longevity of any car comes down to several different factors. Advancements in the industry have lent their improvements towards ensuring cars last longer than they ever have before. Modern construction techniques coupled with a greater understanding of wear and tear have made some cars practically indestructible.

Did you know that the average car on the road in the U.S. is around twelve years old? This statistic goes to show how reliable modern engines are and continue to be.

No car lasts forever, though, and in terms of car mileage, it’s a ticking clock before your engine gives up completely, leaving you no choice but to junk your car. Are you curious how long you can realistically expect your vehicle to keep trucking? Below, we attempt to answer that question!

Car Mileage

Americans drive around fourteen thousand miles a year, which is quite an ask for any vehicle. The internal components are subject to extreme forces for extended periods. We don’t often give much thought to the rigors of our engines while we’re driving along, but they’re under significant stress.

Harnessing the power of combustion and then directing that force through gears and shafts to turn our wheels is something of a marvel. A car is a complex machine operating at balance with the sum of its parts. If any single part malfunctions or becomes damaged, the entire car can potentially become useless.

The question of how far it’s realistic for a car to last depends upon the quality of the many parts that make it up. Maintenance also impacts longevity, as well as how rough a life it has had. Consider two cars bought at the same time and owned by different people; it’s likely the length of their lives will be drastically different.

Car Maintenance

The life of any vehicle will be greatly extended or diminished depending on the amount of care it has been given. Cars need to be looked after to ensure they continue to run smoothly. The maintenance involved in keeping a car running well not only improves reliability but can drastically reduce wear where it counts the most.

For example, engines need to be suitably lubricated so that their moving parts can operate with the least friction possible where their surfaces interact. Lack of engine oil causes undue friction on these parts, which is a direct cause of wear. As these parts wear down, the rate of wear only increases as they begin to deform.

A well-looked-after engine that has had regular oil changes will only see a fraction of this kind of damage. The compounding effects of negligent use will never have time to add up, so the engine will continue to run as new for a long time. The difference between a well-maintained engine and one that has gone ignored can be the difference of hundreds of thousands of miles.

Wearing Parts

Some parts are designed to be replaced multiple times throughout a car’s lifetime. These parts are commonly referred to as wearing parts, as they’re designed to be replaced. Failure to replace these parts once they get to a certain level of acceptable wear can affect the rest of the car’s lifespan in various ways.

We’ve all seen cars with high mileage and distressingly bald tires, for example. Tires are relatively inexpensive and easily replaced but doing so can be overlooked. Ignoring parts that are in clear need of replacement can cause accidents when they malfunction, greatly reducing the lifespan of your car.

In general, keeping an eye out for worn brake pads, tires, and filters, is a great way to ensure your vehicle lasts longer than its neglected counterparts. Replacing bulbs, batteries, and spark plugs also serve to maintain the general use of a car and prevent it from feeling antiquated. A thorough cleaning can also breathe a lot of new life into a car that previously looked ready to retire.

What to Do With a Junk Car

If you’re starting to feel like your car’s best days are long behind it, you might be wondering what you can do with it going forward. There’s no sense leaving it to gather dust in your driveway as it slowly turns into a bucket of rust. Just because it no longer functions for your daily commute doesn’t mean it’s not worth anything.

Cars are constructed from recyclable materials that can often be melted down, purified, and used again. It should come as no surprise that a car can be a wealth of useful materials with the right knowledge and know-how. Scrap yards capitalize on taking people’s unwanted vehicles away to be torn down for parts and materials for profit.

This arrangement suits both sides. The owner of the car gets to free up some space in their garage and gets paid for the pleasure. The owners of the scrap yard get new material to process for sale and get to build upon a customer base through word of mouth and professional service.

Old Car, New Money

The question of what car mileage is realistic to expect comes down to how well you look after it and how modern the model is. A car treated with respect and a little care will be sure to go a lot further than one treated poorly.

If you’re in the market for a new car or have simply decided to scrap your existing one, get in touch! We’re happy to answer any questions you might have and would love to hear from you.