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Cars Are Being Kept Longer Than Ever Before

Apr 06, 2012

Research firm R.L. Polk estimates that the average age of vehicles on the road in the United States reached a record 11.1 years in 2011, following several years of a struggling economic recovery that caused many people to hold off on a new vehicle purchase. There are a variety of reasons, beyond economics, that more vehicles on the road are topping 100,000 or 200,000 miles (and more). According to media reports, customer satisfaction surveys show cars having fewer and fewer problems—a direct result of intense global competition. Vehicles simple can’t gain a reputation for leaking oil, breaking down or wearing out prematurely, or the brand will suffer. Another, less obvious factor for vehicular longevity is the government-mandated push for lower emissions, particularly the focus on making sure that catalytic converters perform within 96 percent of their original capability at 100,000 miles. Also, keep in mind that advances in corrosion protection have greatly reduced a vehicle’s susceptibility to rust and corrosion. It seems that drivers will get the itch for a new vehicle long before the vehicle itself gets to the point where it has to be replaced.