How long will your car last, and how much will it cost you?

Discussion in 'My Ride' started by YarSwiss, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    My wife totaled her car last summer, so we shopped around. I considered a new $24,000 Prius, but ended up buying a used 2006 Hyundai Elantra for $11,000 out the door. We keep our cars until they die, so the numbers work like this:

    If she gets EPA mileage and drives the EPA average miles/year, we can drive the Elantra for 14 years on the price difference between it and the Prius. We can drive it another dozen years for the price of the two battery replacements the Prius will need over the next 20 years. So that's 26 years of free driving before the Prius's mileage advantage starts to factor into the equation.
  2. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    The rear suspension has one steel component but everything else is aluminum. I'm not aware of any inspection schedule.

    Sentra, why do you expect that the Prius battery would need to be replaced twice in 20 years?
  3. voodoo22

    voodoo22 Cheaper than the bus

    Thanks for sharing those numbers. Some people seem convinced the Prius is a no brainer, but our research yielded results similar to yours.

    We crunched the numbers pretty hard as well when we purchased our Yaris last year and even with the most optimistic results possible it would take us over 22 years of owning the Prius and 662104 km's or 411412 miles to break even with the Yaris. This assumes better than epa FE, no battery replacements, all extra rebates for a hybrid and doesn't include the interest lost on the extra money the Prius would cost up front.

    In the worst case scenario where better than epa wasn't achieved, it would take 35 years of ownership and over 1 million km's or 620000 miles to break even.

    Neither scenario made a Prius purchase plausible to us.

    While you can't compare the build quality of a Prius to a Elantra or a Yaris, you also cannot say that a Prius is a no brainer as cars like the Elantra, Fit, Yaris etc are all the better choices for pure economy and I would be shocked if the majority of Prius owners could honestly say one of these more economical cars couldn't suit all their needs required from their vehicle.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  4. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Our Prius will cost about $33500 for 100,000 miles at $4/gal or $28,500 at $2/gal. I'm assuming my son will continue to get 40 mpg with it in pure city driving,and maintenance will be about $300/yr. I do my own oil changes and rarely bring any vehicle to the dealer.

    The 1998 Suburban-bought used with 195,000 miles on it, now has 208,100- gets about 8000 miles a year at 17 mpg.100,000 miles will cost about $32500 at $4/gal or $21000 at $2/gal.

    So the TCO is about the same over 100,000 miles at $4/gal.This ignores resale which will be zero on the Suburban, but maybe $5000+ on the Prius. It also assumes I can keep the Suburban going for just $6000 in maintenance over 100,000 miles.

    In general I would say the Prius is the better deal since it is new and expected to be very reliable.It is also easier to park maneuver and a bit safer. The Suburban is more versatile of course, but like most big SUV owners only 30% of the miles are while heavily loaded, the rest are 1,2 passenger trips.
  5. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco


    I'm guessing, of course, on the Prius' battery life. Toyota warrants the Prius' hybrid battery for 8 years/100,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Of course, Toyota only warrants the drivetrain for 5 years/60,000 miles, its basic warranty is only 3 years/36,000 miles, and we know Toyotas are generally much more reliable cars than that.

    OTOH, batteries are not drivetrains. I can't think of any battery that exceeds its service life exceptionally, the way some exceptional gasoline engines go 500,000 miles or a million miles. Batteries just generally don't do that. If any components on your cars are going to fail right after warranty coverage ends, they're going to be your batteries and tires.

    So, I think I was being conservative in expecting a Prius to need 2 X $5,000 hybrid battery replacements in 20 years. The price of the batteries may go down, and they may not fail, but knowing how every other battery in my experience has behaved, I think I'm on solid ground expecting the Prius' (or HCH's) batteries to need to be replaced in ten years. Toyota has delayed its planned replacement of its Li-MH batteries with lithium ion batteries, which should tell us the improved battery technology still isn't here yet. Another tell-tale sign is the Prius' unsuitability for people with my lifestyle - retirees who don't drive their cars every week. If you don't drive a Prius for 2 weeks, the HV batteries can drop below a safe level and be damaged.
  6. Kacey Green

    Kacey Green Well-Known Member

    Toyota and Honda's batteries have dropped in price since they were first released, and when I worked at each dealership (still at Honda as I write this) neither has packs that expensive anymore (customer price).

    The Prius was good around a month un-driven according to the shop down in FL and if I recall correctly my owners manual said something to that effect too, that and if I were storing the car to start it once a month or so.
  7. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    NiMH chemistry seems to have very good durability. Check out the RAV-EVs still running around on their original packs. Honda packs are more likely to croak but that is due to a different chemistry and battery management algorithms that aren't as protective as the Toyota programming.
  8. SpartyBrutus

    SpartyBrutus Hypofueller

    07 HCH2

    Plan to own at least 5 years at 25kmi/yr and over 50mpg. So 5 year cost:

    5yr x 25k x $3/gal / 50mpg = $7500 fuel plus
    5yr x $1000/yr = $5000 maint, insur. plus
    $20,500 purch price less tax cred

    = $33000 TCO outlay or about $0.26/mile. Dont know what I could sell it for.
  9. NiHaoMike

    NiHaoMike Well-Known Member

    I have read somewhere that the batteries used in the Prius are actually more like telephone company batteries than typical home electronics batteries.
  10. bic590

    bic590 Active Member

    I hope to keep my car for about 10 years or until it becomes a financially smart move to get a new car.

    Insurance = 10yr * $1180/yr = $11800
    Gas at 23,000mi/yr and current mpg = (23000mi/33mpg)*$4/gal*10yr = $27878
    Cost of car + maintenece at $75/mo = $31,000

    For a grand total of $70678...

    And if I can increase my fe by 10% it would be reduced to $68144.

    That is depressing after seeing everyone elses posts....
  11. npauli

    npauli Well-Known Member

    15 years (I want to teach my 1 year old daughter how to drive stick w/ this truck)
    12k miles/year
    21 miles/gal
    $5/gal average over 15 years.

    Purchase the truck: $20k
    Sell the truck at the end: -$6k
    maintenence: $300/year (oil, filters, batteries, tires, etc.)
    major repairs: $6k (injectors cost $2k/set just to buy the parts)
    insurance: $500/year
    registration: $78/year
    mods: $200/year

    Grand total:


    About half that is fuel
  12. Tochatihu

    Tochatihu Well-Known Member

    2001 Prius purchased new (August 2001) transferred to new owner July 2007 with 109k miles. Total ownership cost just under 25 cents per mile. Coulda made 23 in a state with less expensive auto insurance than California :)

    The new owner and I project that his TCO will be quite a bit lower.

    Years ago the AAA and EPA both said average TCO for US cars was about 55 cents per mile - has anybody seen such figures updated recently?

  13. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    Don't feel bad. Our auto insurance is half again higher here in TX than it was in CA. Apparently weather takes out a lot of cars here, especially hail.

    I'm not sure how to do mine. I plan on keeping the thing until they don't pump dead dinosaurs out of the ground anymore, I plan on replacing the engine, re-dong the gearing with an automatic overdrive transmission, etc., so it's hard to predict my mileage after all of that...but insurance and registration are way cheap...and predicting the appreciation is difficult too so I will assume it just keeps up with inflation.

    Let's assume 20 years (a low figure, IMHO) at the current mpg.

    Fuel = 36 cents / mile
    Miles = 12k / yr
    Motor = $3500
    Oil changes = $75/year
    Other maintenance / repairs = $500/yr
    Registration = $50 / yr
    Insurance = $75 / mo

    Total: $103.900 or about $0,42 / mile.
  14. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Here's mine. Bought 8 years ago, with 70,000 miles on it, for $8000.

    Since then,
    $5500 gas (only the last 20k hypermiling, the rest at 33 mpg)
    $3500 maintenance/repairs
    $3500 insurance

    I expect to keep it another 5 years, or about 50,000 miles at my normal rate. Total 220,000 miles on the car.
    $3600 gas (assuming $4 /gal and 50 mpg)
    $3500 maint / repairs (based on the last 8 years, plus a bit as it ages)
    $2000 insurance

    Total cost: 29,000 over 150,000 miles, or 19c / mile.
  15. Maxx

    Maxx He who posts articles

    I can't really say how much it will cost me because I don't log my mileage or gas money... but I financed my car ('00) in '03 for 5 years and ended up paying probably 10,500 for a 8,900 car. It's got 110K now, and between tires, battery and misc. I'm probably near $2000 in parts. At this point I do my own service, so that saves me a bundle. I'll probably keep it for at least another 2-3 years at this rate... even though it's a thoroughly boring drive. It's starting to get into repair territory - I just replaced the radiator and intake mani gasket... I'm sure I'll be buying parts over the next couple of years. Anyway, I'm sure I'm close to $20-25K with everything at this point. Less than $5K a year to drive, not too bad.
  16. basjoos

    basjoos Well-Known Member

    If there's so much new technology out there, how come I can't buy a new car, either hybrid or non-hybrid, that comes close to matching, much less exceeding, the highway mileage of my 17 year old non-hybrid car when driven at normal highway speeds. It would be nice to upgrade, but I am still waiting for car manufacturer to produce a 0.15 Cd 4-seater that can knock out mileage at least in the mid 80's while traveling down a level interstate at 70mph. If my clapped-out, 500,000 mile car using 17 year old engine technology and 70 year old aerodynamics technology can do it for only a few hundred dollars in additional material costs beyond OEM cost, then why can't the car companies do it? Can you tell I'm a bit frustrated with the car manufacturers?

    Even if there wasn't any mileage improvement, an ultra-low Cd vehicle is a joy to drive on the highway for its zero wind noise and wind loading at any legal highway speed, and its ability to ignore headwinds and make the whole drafting bugaboo a non-issue. Traveling at 75mph in my car is the wind loading equivalent of driving at 45mph in a normal car. Maybe when the Aptera 4-seater comes out there will finally be a car that achieves highway mileage parity with my antique.
    Last edited: May 2, 2009
  17. Taliesin

    Taliesin Well-Known Member

    I'm just as frustrated as you are, and I currently drive on the opposite side of the aerodynamic equation.
  18. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    Me too. It's odd that in a time of demand for more fuel efficient cars, the trend seems to be towards heavier cars, not lighter. Have you seen what a compact car weighs these days? They seem to add about 100lbs every 5 years. And the obsession with all the gizmos on cars these days baffles me as well.

    People don't believe me that there are 25 year old cars which get the same mileage as these fancy hybrids, and it's one reason hybrids don't exactly impress me - much cheaper, simpler, and easier-to-maintain cars were achieving amazing mileage a while back!

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