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Sunday, 02 August 2020


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I remember when Road & Track magazine used to include a projected reliability rating on the specs page of every road test. This was during the 1960s and 1970s. I wonder if liability concerns prompted them to stop including it or whether all cars finally became reliable enough.

The idea of longevity stats for cameras is quite interesting. But I wonder if we might not have reached the same point with cameras as we have with cars: Perhaps they're all good enough now.

On the other hand, the Fuji X-T4 has a shutter rated for 300,000 actuations. When all cameras feature something like that, perhaps we'll really be there. In the meantime, more information is always better.

My Honda CR-V is on about 155,000 miles and still going strong.

[That was one of the Hondas cited. --Mike]

I don't hope my Prius C (at 50K) makes it, it has to make it!

We put 240,00 on a 97 CRV and finally traded it for a new one in 07. Took the 07 CRV in for a complete check up at 320,000 miles and the techs said it was in excellent shape and it probably had another 100,000 left in it.
A week later I was on my way to work enjoying my morning coffee and some wisdom from Mose Allison when a deer shot out of a corn field and broadsided the drivers side door. He put antlers through the window, rolled over the hood and disappeared. Five grand in damage so it was totaled.
I was ready to try for 500,00 but was overtaken by events. Needed three rows in a replacement so my budget landed me in a Kia Sorento.
COVID persuaded me to retire so I went from a high mileage commuter to a shelterer in place. Looks like when the lease is up I'll be at least 10,000 miles under. If I have any sense I'll turn it in and go looking for a nice clean Miata and drive off into the sunset with Mrs Plews. Still those two Hondas were bulletproof.

Hi Mike. Do the 'shutter activation' figures given mean anything in this regard? I would guess that if the shutter keeps going then the camera keeps going.

My 2005 Honda Accord has 191,000 miles on it and is still going strong.
- Lumix GX7 had 48,845 shutter actuations when I sold it.
- Canon 5D III had 23,127 shutter actuations when I sold it.
- Lumix GX8 has 61,332.
- Lumix GX9 has 34,759.
- Canon 5D IV has 32,771.
Next time I have to buy a set of tires for the Honda they will cost more than the bluebook listing so I guess the Honda is the one nearest the end of its useful life !

Yes, I'm still using my 2012 D800 (serial# 559) with the original battery so D800s are really reliable...
My problem with these "results" is that the biggest variable in XX survival is the owner(s). My tools almost never fail as I buy good stuff and take care of it. That's the missing variable.
Perhaps Honda/Toyota owners are better at maintenance.. but each individual car has different experiences, so never buy blindly on brand trust.

Consumer Reports has always been biased toward Japanese cars, especially Toyota.

I have never owned a Chevy or a Ford that I put less than 250,000 miles on, and only one of them was sold because it was 'worn out.' The rest were replaced simply because I wanted a newer car (one was a Chevy Caprice that I wrecked SIX TIMES. The thing was just indestructible).

This doesn't say one thing or the other about CR's methodology, but another data point. I just ticked past 160k on my '12 Ford Focus. Roughly half of that mileage has been highway, the other half stop and go city/suburb. Since the original warranty lapsed, I've spent less than $3500 in repairs. Fun to drive, and good on gas too. Maybe it's just a cherry unit, but I plan to keep this one as long as I can.


[I had a Ford ZX2 that seemed remarkably reliable, too. 100,000 miles before I sold it, trouble-free, and I even had an accident and it got fixed and never showed any ill effects. But when I happened across other owners and talked to them, many had not had nearly as good luck. --Mike]

I had an 83 Honda Accord that just ticked over that milestone. Best car I've ever owned. A 2004 Accord was sort of on track at about 250,000 Km (150,000 miles) but we decided to sell it rather than get into a pile of upcoming maintenance work. The Honda Fit is just over 4 years old now, but only 75,000 Km (45,000 miles) since we don't drive as much now.
It would be interesting seeing longevity camera stats, but I think the numbers would be so variable they'd be misleading. Some people baby their cameras, hardly ever using them, and when they do you'd think they were museum curators handling a thousand year old artifact. Of course such a thing would last nearly forever, but it can barely be called a camera if it's almost never used that way.

Others of us take our gear into the rain, snow, salt water sea spray, sand, and all sorts of other anti-camera filth to get the shots we want. It's surprising how long they last under such conditions.

Our first Prius was sold at 230k, and is still rolling - our second was totaled at 140k by an F-150. Great cars. My Sienna is at 97k and I plan to add another 100K before the next beast.

I've got a '36 Leica IIIC, and a Nikon F2 that shares my birth year of 1975, both of whom are running well, the Leica has had 2 CLA's in its lifetime, the Nikon still hasn't seen a repair bench.

I don't have as much hope for my Fujis, but so far so good!

I have always prioritized durability and reliability in the things I buy and over the years my go-to providers for the expensive things in life have shaken out to be Canon cameras and lenses, Toyota trucks, and Panasonic home electronics. I have never had a piece of equipment made by these three companies fail in any way. I’m sure they have made some clunkers in their time but I haven’t seen it.

You mentioned car brands that reach 200,000 miles…I believe more trucks and SUV’s from a wide range of manufacturers reach this milestone than cars. My 20 year old Tacoma ran trouble-free for 15 years before I had to begin replacing parts and it’s still running like a champ at 195,000 miles.

The world record for most miles on a passenger car was set by Irv Gordon, who bought a Volvo 1800S new in 1966, and drove it until his passing in 2018. During which time he drove 3.2 million miles, averaging 60,000 miles a year. Simple and rugged can be good; so can careful maintenance.
(Last year I inherited a '66 Volvo 1800S that had sat in a dirt-floor garage for most of the last twenty years; even if it was running properly today, I'll never come anywhere near the record>)

I know plenty of bmw and porsche owners with odometers well past 200k. My wife’s Toyota also has over 200k and it’s still going fine. Not perfect, but good enough.

There was a statistic somewhere that over 70% of all Porsche made ever were still on the roads today. Kind of a crazy thought considering finding a Honda from the early 80s is more rare than the top exotics.

I am not sure that the brand matters much anymore. I once drove a Ford that was really Renault, and now drive a Chevy that is really Suzuki. My son has a wee van made in China that has more than 300,000KM on it.
Gone are the days when we needed to carry some spare parts before leaving on a hundred-mile trip.

The only car I ever drove 210,000 miles was a Subaru and I wasn't as diligent about maintenance as I should have been. If you do the regular maintenance and repairs almost any modern car should last over 200K.

My 2008 Honda Jazz (aka Honda Fit in the US?) had 235.000km (146.000mls) on the clock when someone took my right of way and crashed into the rear door. Until then, the A/C radiator had to be replaced at 150.000km and a new generator was due at 199.000km. That was all!

After the accident, the car was still roadworthy, but a repair was considered to be uneconomical. I continued to use it for a couple of weeks when it occurred to me that the car was now actually perfect - still functional, but completely devoid of any monetary value! Unfortunately, I had already signed a purchase contract for a current model Honda Jazz, so it was too late.

Best, Thomas

For what it's worth, I have a 2007 Audi that is just shy of that at 306,000 kms (190,000 miles). And I had a 2004 Lincoln that had 800,000 kms (497,000 miles).

From This American Life in 2010 ...

Host Ira Glass introduces the story of the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., aka NUMMI. In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture. Toyota showed GM the secrets of its production system: How it made cars of much higher quality and much lower cost than GM achieved. But today, GM cars still don't have the quality of Japanese imports, GM is bankrupt and on March 31, NUMMI will be closed, sending thousands of car workers looking for jobs. In this hour-long story, NPR Automotive Correspondent Frank Langfitt tells the story of NUMMI and why GM—and the rest of the American car business—wasn't able to learn from it more quickly.


My personal experience with one Saturn was not good. My personal experiences with three Toyotas, four Honda automobiles and two Honda motorcycles have been both long and excellent. And the Hondas were/are all fun to drive.

Light bulbs used to include an estimate of their life. This was determined by taking a bunch of lamps, running them, and when half were burned out, that was the estimated life.

I would not be surprised if that methodology is used in other industries.

Consumer Reports is NOT a useful place to evaluate reliability.
It's methodology—or as much as is revealed is nonsense.
If you are really concerned about reliability (which is only one factor in a car decision) then Warranty Direct —which takes actual warranty claims, or Fleet Managers Reports —which are not free :-( will give you a much better indication.
Another point to consider is that saying how many miles a car goes tells you nothing about service and maintenance cost.
For example: my Citroën C5—which has a poor (media) reputation for reliability, has now done about 233000 miles and aside from a fuel sensor and a harmonic balancer has had no issues. And its service interval is 3 times longer than my Toyota Tarago so on a cost basis is well in front

I am not a high mileage driver, but I have had three vehicles since 1972.
My favorite was a 1963 Plymouth Valiant with a slant six engine. If they wouldn't have used road salt to melt the ice on those Midwestern streets, the body would not have rusted out, and I would still be driving it today.

In 1988, I bought a One year old Ford Ranger (four cylinder, manual transmission) that I have been driving for 32 years.
In 2005, I bought a Ten year old Mercedes Benz E320 that I shared with my daughter, an act that shortened its life considerably.

The Ranger has again been my only vehicle for the past five years, and it is old enough that Hipsters stop me on the street to rave about it. I never thought I would see the day that I would be cool with Hipsters.

Most of my driving is the worst kind-stop and go on City streets, but I take good care of all of my stuff, and the one thing I have told my daughter is to change her oil at regular intervals, and her car will run forever.

Over 1 million shots on a pair of Canon 6D mk 1 bodies....


All but one of our cars are/were Toyotas. We usually drive them to the ground. At least 3 made it to 200K, maybe four.

The worst car I ever had _ IS _ my 10 yr old Skoda Superb (a sort of Volkswagen, but petrol). I keep it because it has got very few button to confuse me (and my wife!) and a lot of inside space.

I owned only one American made car in my adult life, and it was a used 1997 Saturn my buddy sold to me with only 48,000 miles on it, when I was broke and needed transportation until I could get going again.

It was no where near as dependable as any Japanese car I ever owned. I was told that this model was a mess because GM "took them back" and they were forced to cobble together a car out of GM parts. It eventually stopped starting, altho none of the dealers could figure out what was wrong. My brother-in-law had an early series Saturn, with the original body style, and it was far, far more dependable. A pal had a late series Saturn Vue, and it was one of the worst cars he ever owned. He got rid of it before the warranty period was over: he had been into the dealer so many times fixing major things, he couldn't trust it!

Plenty of years driving Toyota Tercels, no problems, but my most beloved Toyota was my Scion xB 2005, the early "box" series. Anyone that wants to read about how Toyota wrecked the xB by improving it after 2007, the stories are out there, but the late models never had the popularity of the early ones.

Unfortunately, my xB had plenty of problems. Very un-Toyota like problems, I got 186,000 miles on it, and would have kept it forever, but the metallurgy was just sad! Rusty wheels that couldn't hold on a hubcap, and couldn't hold air in the tires! I park next to a 1999 Echo with pristine wheels, and also next to a 4 year old Yaris whose wheels look worse than mine. Exhaust system problems; EVAP system problems that could never be fixed long term and kept breaking; all the wheel bearings shot; the alternator, starter, and water-pump all failing within a 1000 mile period around 140,000 miles! None of this stuff ever happened with my previous Toyotas with the same mileage. It would have cost half the cost of a new Kia Soul to fix all the problems, and get it to pass the next DMV "breath" test; and that would be putting it on a car that was about a year away from a clutch and brake job!

So that's what I did, at my age, probably the last car I own, I put half the money down on a new Kia Soul, with the extended warranty, so that it's covered stem-to-stern for 10 years. Here's hoping...

BTW, as a life long Toyota fanatic, it's a weird feeling to be driving Kia, but almost everyone I talked into buying a Toyota over my life, had a problem with a late series Toyota and now drive Subaru! If you knew Subaru from 30 years ago, this seems impossible, but now they're considered highly dependable! My walking path takes me through a pretty exclusive neighborhood, and I have to say: practically a Subaru in every driveway!

And apropos of nothing -- one of our extravagances is Rolex watches. I have one that is about 30 years old, an engagement gift from my wife, and another less than 10 years old, another gift from my wife. Both have had multiple failures and incurred costly repairs -- on top of the premium prices of Rolex watches. Since they are both self-winding, the fault is parts wearing out, not anything that I did. Not happy about this.

On the other hand, a Rolex that my late father had and passed to my brother, which he brought home from his time overseas in World War II, is still ticking away.

I've had one Honda civic in the familly; my son's car. Engine blew up. Replaced with a used engine that did the same thing (thankfully as the shop was testing it)... replaced it with another engine. But body rust was an issue on that. I've had several Volvos that routinely go beyond 200K miles. My C30 (the spiritual successor to the P1800) has 295K on it, my youngest's XC70 has 250K on it (although it needs a new exhaust and front end suspension... so it will probably go to the boneyard).

With all my Volvos, it helps to have a solid independent mechanic who knows what they're doing. I'm blessed to have two Volvo-only mechanics in the town I work. That's invaluable.

And Mark Sampson--that's an awesome inheritance!

Score two more for Honda Accord :
1) 1994 with 205,000 miles, no major problems except when a mouse chewed the fuel pump wire when I parked then sold it for-
2) 2004 with 277,000, also no major problems
except surprized and disappointed when needed
transmission at 204,000.
Perhaps their longevity was helped by my being a
Honda Registered Technician in a previous life, albeit on the motorcycle side. As I always advised my customers, keep your Honda full of clean oil AND stay out of the tachometer Red Zone.....

I'm surprised Volvo didn't make the list. I've take two over 300,000 now and on my way to 300,000 with two more in my family.

A lot depends upon your definition of reliability. I had a Citroen Xantia which I gave to my brother in law after I drove it for 150,000km or so, and then he drove for another 200,000km or so. In a sense, it was reliable - it started, drove, stopped and steered. The pneumatic suspension was fine, and remarkably cheap to maintain (even though it did need regular maintenance). But the electric windows stopped working at about 90,000km. The front passenger door could only be opened from the inside, and the right back door wouldn't open at all; air con, heating and radio - all dead - and considered unfixable, even by my engineer next-door neighbour who could fix just about anything. What finally killed it was the windscreen wiper motor, which died - we couldn't source a second-hand replacement and although new OEM parts were available, they cost more than the car was worth.

I just wanted to make a point about "dependability".

Two of my Toyota Tercels made it to over 180,000 miles, with nothing replaced but "wear parts". No money was put into the vehicle except for tune-ups, oil changes, tires, brakes, and batteries. Period! Beyond that point, especially with Toyota, you usually have to start calculating how much money you are putting into the car, vs. how many things are going to start going wrong, vs. the cost of a down payment on a brand new vehicle. My complaint about my most beloved Scion 2005 xB, was how many things I was replacing WAY before I used to on my old Tercels! That means Not Dependable.

If you just look at how many miles they've got on a car with only replacing the transmission, or...whatever...sorry pal, you are OUT of the running!

This is a syndrome I've noticed over the last 40 years talking with American car owners about my Toyotas. People will tell me" "...well, I've got 210,000 miles on my (put American car brand in here), and I only replaced the transmission, and alternator, and starter, but you know, that stuff always goes bad, that's normal."

Sorry...NO...don't comment on the longevity of your car, unless you can tell us how far it went with NOTHING BUT WEAR PARTS BEING REPLACED!

I know people that love their Audi A4, but tell me they've had to start replacing wheel bearings at 70,000 miles, but that's normal, right? NOOOOOOO... Hondas with major transmission work at 90,000...NOOOOOOO...Volvo guys (especially), telling me that they've kept their car running for 300,000 miles (except they've replaced everything but the nut behind they wheel, at 4 times the cost of an American car repair, and 2 times the cost of a Japanese car repair)...NOOOOO...!

Well, of course a Toyota keeps running! Or maybe not exactly running, more like idly strolling. Here in Sweden a Toyota (or a Skoda, everything in this fact-riddled account applies to both those brands) is never driven any faster than 60 mph, because they are without exception owned by recently retired high school teachers with the old man´s/woman´s hat permanently glued to the ceiling. Reasonable people. Whereas I, not yet retired from the same occupation, drive a VW Sharan from 2017 which is a somewhat unexciting but very comortable car. But, oh, the service costs, the service costs! That´s where the money is made.

My ‘09 CR-V EX has about 130K miles on it, which is less than my ‘04 when I traded it in. Initially I didn’t like the ‘09 quite as much, but now I do and it’s definitely a better car. Aside: Some say the Gen 3 CR-Vs are the best lot of that model. I don’t know, but I know I’m not going to trade it in for a Gen 5, which has had issues.

Besides, I’ve installed a nice radio/head unit with CarPlay and Android (ugh) Auto, and new speakers and dampening material will be added. Music that is as “HiFi” as I can get in a car (the particular radio supports DSD playback) and the ability to use Siri are a boon for me.

I expect my CR-V to reach well over 200K - yes, I put some money into it last year, but much less than a year’s worth of payments on a new vehicle. Besides, I’m driving much less than I used to, so I expect it to serve me for many years to come.

My very basic 2007 Fiat Uno Mille,(bi-fuel 1.0) has 322900 km (205000 miles), most of it on dirt roads( I'm a farmer).
It costs me only regular and planned maintenance.

So Mike, based on comments received: hifi bad, pool worse, gear good, cars better. :)
UK version of Consumer Reports is ‘Which’ and their member survey for reliability gives Lexus, Suzuki and Toyota five stars for 3-8 year old cars. Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Mini, Subaru and Smart all get 4 stars. (1 star is Tesla, Land Rover and Ssangyong.) And UK government data on MOT failures (the government checks all 3+ year old cars do every year) a couple of years ago lists Honda, Porsche, Subaru, Lexus and Toyota as most likely to pass first time among 3-5 year old cars. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-6616155/Stats-reveal-brands-cars-flunk-MOT-test-commonly.html

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