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The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: May 20, 2023 07:37AM
Repelled by high car prices, Americans are holding on to their vehicles longer than ever
[apnews.com]

Americans are keeping their cars longer than ever. The average age of a passenger vehicle on the road hit a record 12.5 years this year, according to data gathered by S&P Global Mobility. Sedans like Holdsworth’s are even older, on average — 13.6 years.

Blame it mainly on the pandemic, which in 2020 triggered a global shortage of automotive computer chips, the vital component that runs everything from radios to gas pedals to transmissions. The shortage drastically slowed global assembly lines, making new vehicles scarce on dealer lots just when consumers were increasingly eager to buy.

Prices reached record highs. And though they’ve eased somewhat, the cost of a vehicle still feels punishingly expensive to many Americans, especially when coupled with now much-higher loan rates.

Since the pandemic struck three years ago, the average new vehicle has rocketed 24% to nearly $48,000 as of April, according to Edmunds.com. Typical loan rates on new-car purchases have ballooned to 7%, a consequence of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive streak of interest rate hikes to fight inflation.

It’s all pushed the national average monthly auto loan payment to $729 — prohibitively high for many. Experts say a family earning the median U.S. household income can no longer afford the average new car payment and still cover such necessities as housing, food and utilities.

Used vehicle prices, on average, have surged even more since the pandemic hit — up 40%, to nearly $29,000. With an average loan rate having reached 11%, the typical monthly used-vehicle payment is now $563.

Faced with deciding between making a jumbo payment and keeping their existing vehicles, more owners are choosing to stick with what they have, even if it means spending more on repairs and maintenance.

Auto mechanics have been struck by the rising ages and mileages of vehicles that now arrive at the shop in numbers they’d never seen before.

“You see cars all the time in here with 250,000, 300,000 miles,” said Jay Nuber, owner of Japanese Auto Professional Service, a repair garage near downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan. “They haven’t been really having major work or anything. They’ve just been doing the (routine) service.”

It doesn’t mean that most owners of older vehicles are necessarily stuck with constant repair bills. One reason people can hold their vehicles for increasingly long periods is that auto manufacturing has improved over time. Engines run longer. Bodies don’t rust as quickly. Components last longer.

Yet the cost of buying either a new or used vehicle is leaving more people with essentially no choice but to keep the one they have.

“The repair-versus-buy equation changed,” said Todd Campau, an associate director with S&P. Even with rising repair costs, Campau said, it’s still typically more cost-effective to fix an older vehicle than to spring for a purchase.

The average vehicle age, which has been edging up since 2019, accelerated this year by a substantial three months. And while 12.5 years is the average, Campau noted, more vehicles are staying on the road for 20 years or more, sometimes with three or four successive owners.

In such cases, the third or fourth owner is getting a much older car than they would have in the past. Nearly 122 million vehicles on the road are more than a dozen years old, Campau said. S&P predicts that the number of older vehicles will keep growing until at least 2028.

Even with more durable vehicles able to last longer, all of this has created a boom time for auto shops.

[more at above link]
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: Acer
Date: May 20, 2023 09:12AM
Yup.
Our two daily drivers are around the 14 yo mark here. Oldest cars I've ever owned. Used to be I went into shopping mode when they hit 10 years, but wooof, prices these days! At this rate, I probably won't replace them until they get totaled somehow. And at this age, a moderate fender bender can do them in.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/20/2023 09:12AM by Acer.
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: SDGuy
Date: May 20, 2023 09:33AM
"Americans are keeping their cars longer than ever"
I know that feeling...

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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: Rolando
Date: May 20, 2023 10:14AM
Quote
Acer
And at this age, a moderate fender bender can do them in.

This!!!
My Brother In Law hit another car. Damage did not look that bad, but the Insurance totaled it.

Part of the issue is repairs on damage are also so expensive and insurance values a car FAR below current market value.
EG Car is selling for $10K.
Insurance values it at $5.



San Antonio, TX (in the old city)


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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: May 20, 2023 12:02PM
Mine is 14, my wifes is 10. We can afford new but I'm not paying $30k+ for a new one. I'll eventually get a used something but I'm not planning to for another 5-6 years, even then my mileage will only be around 150k. I figure to let the EV market come into it's own and then see what there is. Even then, I may stay with a ICE to avoid the battery issue on a used one. I'll just decide then.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” -- François de La Rochefoucauld

"Those who cannot accept the past are condemned to revise it." -- Geo. Mathias

The German word for contraceptive is “Schwangerschaftsverhütungsmittel”. By the time you finished saying that, it’s too late
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: steve...
Date: May 20, 2023 12:26PM
My 22 year old '01 Ford Ranger (4 cylinder, manual trans, extended cab) has 94k miles on it and still looks like new.

As long as I'm accident free, I will never sell it.




Northern California Coast
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: davester
Date: May 20, 2023 12:53PM
My wife's car is 15, my daily driver is 17, and my sports car is 58 years old. my daughter took over our 24 year old Mercedes SUV, which is at 270,000 miles and still drives pretty much like a new car with the interior in great shape. Most of the American and Japanese cars I've owned in the past have made it to 150k of so, but by that time the interior has basically fallen apart and the squeak/rattle coefficient has gotten way too high.

We would like to replace the two newest cars with an EV and plug-in hybrid eventually, but with prices where they are that is just not in the cards for the time being.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: May 20, 2023 01:06PM
Part of it is, generally, cars are much better made than say, 30 years ago. Especially American cars.
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: May 20, 2023 02:14PM
Quote
anonymouse1
Part of it is, generally, cars are much better made than say, 30 years ago. Especially American cars.

Could it be that American cars are now made in other countries?



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” -- François de La Rochefoucauld

"Those who cannot accept the past are condemned to revise it." -- Geo. Mathias

The German word for contraceptive is “Schwangerschaftsverhütungsmittel”. By the time you finished saying that, it’s too late
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 20, 2023 03:37PM
Quote
steve...
My 22 year old '01 Ford Ranger (4 cylinder, manual trans, extended cab) has 94k miles on it and still looks like new.

As long as I'm accident free, I will never sell it.

Keep it. That will be a classic soon and the manual will make it a higher value.



Hurts like a bastid...
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: Speedy
Date: May 20, 2023 04:06PM
“ One reason people can hold their vehicles for increasingly long periods is that auto manufacturing has improved over time. Engines run longer. Bodies don’t rust as quickly. Components last longer.”

Dad’s new $4500 ‘65 Buick Electra barely turned 100k miles when the engine died. Mom’s new $2k ‘67 Plymouth Fury didn’t even have that many miles when it died.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: May 20, 2023 05:20PM
Our was totaled 18 months ago so our average car age is 1 year. Yep, counterbalancing some of your clingers. Of course before I finally got rid of my car, the average age of cars in the household was 23 years.

The pendulum swings back and forth.
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: TLB
Date: May 20, 2023 06:05PM
Quote
steve...
My 22 year old '01 Ford Ranger (4 cylinder, manual trans, extended cab) has 94k miles on it and still looks like new.

As long as I'm accident free, I will never sell it.

2007 Ranger here with 83,000. Ditto for me. My kids have 2008 and 2009 vehicles but my wife has a 2019. Fleet average 12.25 years.
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: RgrF
Date: May 20, 2023 06:24PM
Quote
Speedy
“ One reason people can hold their vehicles for increasingly long periods is that auto manufacturing has improved over time. Engines run longer. Bodies don’t rust as quickly. Components last longer.”

Dad’s new $4500 ‘65 Buick Electra barely turned 100k miles when the engine died. Mom’s new $2k ‘67 Plymouth Fury didn’t even have that many miles when it died.

Growing up in New England no car ever saw 100,000 miles - if the mechanics didn't fail (which they did with depressing regularity) the entire under body would rust out by year 10.

Currently have an old 5 cyl Volvo and an old turbo Audi in the stable - they have a combined 575,000 miles on them, so yeah! Auto quality has substantially improved.
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: May 20, 2023 07:29PM
Most folks didn’t drive much between 20 and 22. Cars also last longer.
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: Don C
Date: May 20, 2023 10:25PM
I don't know how many miles the 2004 Nissan Quest has on it because the digital odometer is unreadable, but I think it is up around 160,000. Need to take it in for a complete checkup but I need to find a mechanic who won't think of it as major contribution to his retirement fund. Absolutely will not take it to a dealer!

The 2010 MINI Clubman is the other chariot.

I have new car-feature envy but at my age there just is no reason to replace the old ones.
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: Acer
Date: May 21, 2023 11:20AM
I put new transmission in our Sienna at 140K, and a new* traction battery in our Prius at 130K, so we should be good for another 100K each. In the old days, i would have used either project as an excuse to replace the car.
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Re: The average age of a passenger vehicle hit a record 12.5 years
Posted by: SKYLANE
Date: May 23, 2023 12:53PM
My family had a 1976 Dodge Van which I picked up in early 80s. Rebuilt engine in early 80s and kept that until until 1996.
~13 years in my possession, ~20 years old for the car when letting it go

I picked up a low mileage 1991 4 Runner in 1993, kept that until ~320K miles, let it go in 2016.
~23 years in my possession, ~25 years old for the car when letting it go

I picked up a low mileage 2003 Sequoia in 2005, currently at 275K miles, runs great.
So far, ~18 years in my possession, ~20 years old for the car
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