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Replace your car soon or drive it until it dies?

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

Americans have no plans to replace their cars every few years, even if the economy is fine, according to a survey by, a free auto repair website owned by US Auto Parts Network.

Just three percent of the more than 4,000 car owners surveyed said they plan to replace their car every three to five years, and just four percent pegged buying a replacement at six to seven years. A whopping 78 percent of those surveyed said that they would keep their car "more than 10 years or until it dies," while the remaining 15 percent of owners said they'd replace their cars every eight to 10 years.

While numerous studies have shown that Americans are holding onto their cars longer than ever before, notes that this survey shows the trend to keep cars longer is growing, even though the economy is improving. More than half of those surveyed said an improving economy would not encourage them to buy a new car sooner, while 80 percent of all of those surveyed said they plan to drive their cars for more than 100,000 miles. The top reasons why were:

  • Economy -- 47 percent.
  • Vigilant repair/service -- 44 percent.
  • Cost Savings -- 37 percent.
  • DIY-ing -- 28 percent.
  • Better-built cars -- 19 percent.

Keeping your car beyond the length of your auto loan means you can save money by not having a monthly car payment, plus car insurance gets cheaper as a car gets older.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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August 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Driving a beater has really been a great thing for me in this economy. I mean its not really a beater (2001 Civic)but the thing never breaks, has cheap insurance, is paid off and gets good gas mileage. Cant beat a beater!

August 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I am still driving my '92 Honda Civic LX with 385,000 miles (purchased in Nov. '91). I am looking to buy a new car this year and hope to drive it just as long :) Yearly repairs way less than car payments and insurance good too :) I am only owner and always had serviced regularly.

August 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Sure Rich buys a Rolls every year and has three girlfriends (one is enough, me on this onem mine wears me out all the time!) - Hey, this is the internet, people. He's probably more likely a 15 year old with acne, isn't sure if he's gay or not, is worth $5 and is using Mommy's old desktop computer.

As for me - I just put my 1994 Aerostar van in the shop 'cuz old cars are their own reward and punishment.