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Old 11-17-2009, 10:17 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I second DCB's statement, those four criterion are what I look for in future vehicles . My current ride was originally my father's, I got it with 26,000 on the ODO in 2004. It now has somewhere around 145,000, and still runs strong. I have replaced the clutch, and a bunch of other large cost items to keep it road worthy, so I have full intentions of keeping this beast on the road for as long as possible.

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Old 11-17-2009, 12:52 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Here's another aspect to consider in keeping old cars on the roads. New parts vs. rebuilt parts. New parts are often/always coming from China were emisions controls for the mining and smelting operations are not so good. Remanufactured parts save all that energy that went into those parts orginaly and just replace the parts that are worn or broken. And Reman parts are rebuilt in the USA.
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Ha! So it seems we mostly all agree that there are numerous benefits, and few drawbacks to keeping the old ones on the road.

Just so drawbacks are addressed, there's the fact that old machines - no matter how well maintained - do wear out in ways that often aren't obvious.

Long term stress fractures in the frame that could cause a sudden catastrophe with little or no warning, badly worn suspension or steering bushings may not appear to be a significant problem until they get dangerously worn & cause trouble in an emergency maneuver, older cars may not handle as crisply to avoid collisions, may not have the safety equipment or even standard of braking capability to which we've grown accustomed.
Older vehicles, even extremely well kept examples, need more frequent inspection by the user to ensure they continue to be safe to operate - for the occupants and everyone else on the road. As far as I can tell, motorists who actually inspect their vehicle for safety periodically are an extreme minority - let's put it this way, outside of my "automotive forum buddies", none of the people I interact with on a regular basis would have any idea how to check their brake pads or tell if a tire is showing unusual wear from a steering or suspension problem. Buying a whole new car every couple years allows them to continue being blissfully unaware of all things mechanical.

Still, I think the benefits of this type of recycling are numerous and significant enough that it's worth our time to not only practice vehicle maintenance with long term goals, but to defend our decision to do so and even evangelize it to an extent. Humans are far too "smart" a species to get away with using ignorance as an excuse for poor maintenance habits and the wasteful neglect and disposal of otherwise serviceable equipment.

In other words, let's keep our old cars running - that's a better ecomod trick than a kammback and when someone jabs you for driving a 20 year old car, saying "it's paid for" trumps at least half of them.
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:45 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm in the maintenance business. Building maintenance. Billions of dollars are wasted each year due to bad maintenance practices. The same is true of personal vehicles. Unfortunately many people do not know how to reasonably maintain thier vehicle or choose not to because the local mechanic is more painful than the dentist. For those, it's just less painful to just do enough to get by and then blow a big wad on a shiny, cool new vehicle. With very few exceptions, vehicles are not investments they are cost centers.

Fortunately the economy is helping people re-think how useful that old steed really is. Too bad peoples memory is short. When the economy gets better new cars will sell again.
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Old 11-17-2009, 02:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The last car I recycled was a 1994 Honda Civic VX, Bought it with 27,492 original miles (ORIGINAL TIRES) in March of 2008. It was hit in the rear and totaled in 1995. The Insurance company used it to train adjusters for 13 years before I bought it.

Sold it to a long time friend. I has less than 50 k miles on it now.

The first salvage car I rebuilt was A 66 Chevy G10 Van. Bought it in 1973 with 42K miles.

In the years between I have rebuilt probably close to 200 cars. A few had less than 1000miles on the odometer when I bought them.

In my old Z car shop we saved everything off of the cars our customers did not want to keep on the road and reused those parts to keep others on the road.

When I retired from working on cars, I bought a 49 Plymouth businessman's coupe and put the body on an 83 Nissan truck frame, with a 73 240Z engine and transmission.

I built something like 12 Nissan Altimas from 1993 to 1997 models. One parts car was used to build 3 other cars. At one time almost every member of my wife's family was driving one on those Altimas.

Built a 95 200SX that my brother bought. It had 3000 miles on the odo when I bought it. His son drove it until it had 130k miles, then my brother bought it from him and later sold it to a co worker. Probably has about 150 k on it now. Rebuilt in 1996 and still on the road.

My dad drove a 77 Honda Accord I built for 60k miles and averaged 39 MPG, until he traded it in on a Toyota Celica.

Bought a BMW 2002 once for $300, hit in the rear end. It had $1200 in receipts for work done on it within 3 months of being hit.

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Old 11-18-2009, 04:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I do not have the numbers to hand, but I believe that the average 1989 car, even when in good operating condition, puts out something on the order of 5x to 10x the pollutants that the average 2009 car does. They really have come a long way.

Most 2009 cars are much better for "passive safety" (i.e., after you hit something or something hits you) than most 1989 cars. Crumple zones, airbags galore, high-strength passenger cells, and so on. Most 2009 cars have more room and more convenience features than most 1989 cars do, as well. (Some people have to have them cupholders and A/C!) The newer car almost always stops better, accelerates better, and corners better than the older one.

There are reasons to buy a newer car.

A 1990 model year car is the newest car that I've ever owned, though. Mine does everything I need it to do, and does it in ways that I like.

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Old 11-18-2009, 05:26 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by some_other_dave View Post
I do not have the numbers to hand, but I believe that the average 1989 car, even when in good operating condition, puts out something on the order of 5x to 10x the pollutants that the average 2009 car does. They really have come a long way.
I disagree, and will have to dig up & scan my emissions results to back up that disagreement Plus of course, you have to factor in the emissions of the boat/train/truck that delivers the new car to your local dealer, and all the previously discussed pollutants and resources used to make the whole new car - the environmental impact of which could just as well be greater than all the pollutants the car will ever produce in its lifetime of operation.


Newer cars are safer, no disagreement there. People still choose to ride motorcycles, in some states without helmets even. Clearly it's up to the individual to decide what level of safety they want for themselves. A person especially worried about motoring safety might do best to lease volvos and the rest of us folks who managed to survive so far on the cars of any given era through which we lived, we're probably not afraid of those cars either.

As a tangent of this discussion, I've noticed that certain nostalgic cars have become the subject of some specialized restoration companies. I don't have links handy, but have seen restoration shops selling bulk, turnkey examples of relatively "normal" vehicles... jeep J10's, toyota FJ40/60/etc, 80's firebirds, maverick/comet, etc. - clearly there would be no market for a "fully restored" 1985 ford escort, but it seems like auto scrap yards could garner some green press attention by reselling partially restored cars for a couple grand as part of a "keep 'em going" campaign. Green sells these days, right? Or do people not care if it's not fashionable enough?
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Old 11-18-2009, 06:28 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shovel View Post
I disagree, and will have to dig up & scan my emissions results to back up that disagreement Plus of course, you have to factor in the emissions of the boat/train/truck that delivers the new car to your local dealer, and all the previously discussed pollutants and resources used to make the whole new car - the environmental impact of which could just as well be greater than all the pollutants the car will ever produce in its lifetime of operation.


Newer cars are safer, no disagreement there. People still choose to ride motorcycles, in some states without helmets even. Clearly it's up to the individual to decide what level of safety they want for themselves. A person especially worried about motoring safety might do best to lease volvos and the rest of us folks who managed to survive so far on the cars of any given era through which we lived, we're probably not afraid of those cars either.

As a tangent of this discussion, I've noticed that certain nostalgic cars have become the subject of some specialized restoration companies. I don't have links handy, but have seen restoration shops selling bulk, turnkey examples of relatively "normal" vehicles... jeep J10's, toyota FJ40/60/etc, 80's firebirds, maverick/comet, etc. - clearly there would be no market for a "fully restored" 1985 ford escort, but it seems like auto scrap yards could garner some green press attention by reselling partially restored cars for a couple grand as part of a "keep 'em going" campaign. Green sells these days, right? Or do people not care if it's not fashionable enough?
Like everything else in life, it depends. My '04 Saturn has more front leg room, interior space, trunk space and horsepower than my '90 Accord. It gets better mileage, is cleaner running and far safer. They weigh within 100 pounds of each other.

I'm still driving that Accord (307,000 miles and counting), but it's showing its age, and after having seen the aftermath of several accidents on the side of the freeway over the past couple of days, I'd be better off moving to the Saturn and passing the Accord to somebody who drives in a better traffic situation than I do.
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:43 PM   #19 (permalink)
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some_other_dave -

Quote:
Originally Posted by some_other_dave View Post
I do not have the numbers to hand, but I believe that the average 1989 car, even when in good operating condition, puts out something on the order of 5x to 10x the pollutants that the average 2009 car does. They really have come a long way.

...
That's why I wish there was an aftermarket for *improving* emissions in older cars so that they perform better than new.

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Old 11-20-2009, 07:34 PM   #20 (permalink)
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@shovel--

Perhaps your car is better than average. Or perhaps your test results only show one specific set of circumstances, not all of the possible load/RPM/temperature/etc. possibilities. But I still think that the average current 40 MPG car puts out far less emissions per mile than the average 1989 40 MPG car.

@cfg83--it would be nice if that were the case. But there isn't enough $$ in it, and the regulatory hurdles would be immense. For instance, if my 914 were a 1976 model year one (and therefore subject to smog testing here in CA), I could swap out the old weird funky analog electronic fuel injection for a modern digital system which reduced emissions by 80%, and it would be labeled "GROSS POLLUTER" and I would have to put it back to its original more-polluting form to pass emissions testing.

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