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    Thread: My experience with modern cars has taught me that if your car break down before 100k miles, its unreliable.

    1. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      06-29-2012 12:32 PM #1
      Lately I've been reading posts saying things like "My car is totally reliable. I haven't had to anything to it and it has 45k miles on it." And I find it odd. I've purchased 3 cars brand new, and none of them needed any kind of repairs (outside of maintenance) under 100k miles.

      My Mom's '10 Jetta TDI on the other hand has had several little issues that have required dealership visits, at least 4 or 5 of them, and the closest dealer is a half hour away. They weren't show stoppers by any means, but a part of the car failed at least 5 times. To me, that constitutes unreliable, even if she were never stranded.

      Our latest purchase, an 05 Sentra has just under 50k miles, and I anticipate it not needing anything (outside of basic maintenance) for another 100k miles. Is that an unreasonable expectation? How awesome are cars now, that even the crappiest car sold today should go, and is expected to go 100k miles without failure?

      Just a thought. What do you guys and gals have to say about this?

      Chris
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    2. Member S0RRY's Avatar
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      06-29-2012 12:37 PM #2
      it's almost like you're saying that mechanical parts wear out on a long enough timeline...






      just kidding though, I agree with you. Just because you didn't have any problems in the first 25k of ownership doesn't mean your vehicle is a tank.

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      06-29-2012 12:45 PM #3
      I agree.

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      06-29-2012 12:54 PM #4
      Personally, I think that setting any expectation of reliability for any distance or period will inevitably cause Murphy's Law to come and bite you in the ass when you least expect it. So I don't.

      But OP is right, the level of quality from major manufacturers these days should mean it's not unreasonable to expect something to run for 100k without need for repair, but despite every manufacturer's best intentions, y'know, sometimes **** just happens.
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      06-29-2012 01:00 PM #5
      This is ridiculous. I expect Subaru to warranty my rocker arms after 200,000kms dammit!

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      06-29-2012 01:02 PM #6
      part of reliability is how the owner uses the car.

      my mom's cars have always needed a major service before 100k, without regard to brand or model

      Jeep = trans replacement
      Volvo = oil cooler lines, water pump, rear main seal, and a host of unknowns when trading in
      BMW = brakes at 40k, tires at 20k, water pump & coil packs at 70k

      i can say with most certainty that my mom could kill just about any car before 100k, she just gets a new one before that mark
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      06-29-2012 01:09 PM #7
      My opinion is that all cars are a risk, and will require both planned and unplanned repairs during their lifespan.... and a problem here and there doesn't indicate "unreliable" or "reliable" status.

      ...but this is coming from a guy who's newest car is 12 years old and hasn't paid a shop to touch a car in about 9 years.

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      06-29-2012 01:13 PM #8
      keep in mind that many manufacturers now warranty major components, like engines, transmissions, etc. for 100k miles or 5 years. some even extend that warranty bumper to bumper.

      as a whole, cars are MUCH more reliable than even 10 years ago. consumers know this. that means their perceptions have changed about what exactly defines "reliable."
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      06-29-2012 01:13 PM #9
      There are plenty of cars that need a LOT of work before they hit 40k...

      Early VW 2.0T's had a lot of problems.
      Most Chrysler products from early-mid 2000's have issues.
      I've seen F150's blow through window regulators early in their life.
      Etc... This is just off the top of my head.

      If a car has never had any issues and only needs scheduled maintenance, it is 100% reliable to me. If I've had a car for 45k then that is my frame of reference.

    10. 06-29-2012 01:16 PM #10
      How about 200k? Lol my 95 camry has 215,000 miles and has had nothing outside of normal wear parts (tires, brakes, timing belts) except for the rear control arms.

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    11. 06-29-2012 01:26 PM #11
      "reliable " is subjective

      at its basic level, the car is an appliance, and should be mechanically functional

      having a flimsy cupholder, window regulator, glove box and armrest that breaks just annoying

      and it cheapens the overall quality of the car (yes, i'm talking to you mk4 !!)

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      06-29-2012 01:31 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by 200HP4dr View Post
      My Mom's '10 Jetta TDI on the other hand has had several little issues that have required dealership visits, at least 4 or 5 of them, and the closest dealer is a half hour away. They weren't show stoppers by any means, but a part of the car failed at least 5 times. To me, that constitutes unreliable, even if she were never stranded.

      i disagree, but ive daily driven actual unreliable german cars.
      not new german cars that sometimes need dealer assistance to roll one of the windows back up

    13. Member someguy123's Avatar
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      06-29-2012 01:47 PM #13
      You're very lucky if you can get up to 100k miles on Euro cars with "soul" with just oil/filter changes, brakes, and tires........

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      06-29-2012 01:52 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by compy222 View Post
      keep in mind that many manufacturers now warranty major components, like engines, transmissions, etc. for 100k miles or 5 years. some even extend that warranty bumper to bumper.

      as a whole, cars are MUCH more reliable than even 10 years ago. consumers know this. that means their perceptions have changed about what exactly defines "reliable."

      Yes




      Quote Originally Posted by someguy123 View Post
      You're very lucky if you can get up to 100k miles on Euro cars with "soul" with just oil/filter changes, brakes, and tires........

      Maybe the Germans haven't caught up to the Japanese, Koreans and Americans, but I would expect
      a new German car to go 100k with no major issues.

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      06-29-2012 02:04 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by someguy123 View Post
      You're very lucky if you can get up to 100k miles on Euro cars with "soul" with just oil/filter changes, brakes, and tires........

      All new cars are "reliable" these days. There will always be outliers that have more trouble or no trouble at all but for the most part. Most posters on here are not old enough to remember truly unreliable cars. Imagine having major problems within 10 to 20 thousand miles. There was a reason the bumper to bumper warranty was only 1 year or 12k.
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      06-29-2012 02:24 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Adam144 View Post
      This is ridiculous. I expect Subaru to warranty my rocker arms after 200,000kms dammit!
      Mitsubishi makes a better car, there is proof on the internets

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      06-29-2012 02:25 PM #17
      OP, agreed. But, I do wonder if one big factor is basic car maintenance and driving habits of car owners.
      My family, when it comes to driving is very "normal", meaning no speed demons, no driving into crubs and fentseses, following the maintenance schedule to a "T", etc. So, I feel like we've treated our cars well and we kind of expect the same from the cars. Our car history pretty much reflects the general consensus (ie reliable Japanese cars, spotty reliability from American and German cars).

      Quote Originally Posted by Adam144 View Post
      This is ridiculous. I expect Subaru to warranty my rocker arms after 200,000kms dammit!
      I LOL'd

      Quote Originally Posted by 1995Camry View Post
      How about 200k? Lol my 95 camry has 215,000 miles and has had nothing outside of normal wear parts (tires, brakes, timing belts) except for the rear control arms.
      We probably should have never sold our 1995 Camry. 160K miles in 5 years, the only thing we had to replace were bad starter contacts. But, one of the most boring cars to ever drive
      Our 2000 Accord has been even more reliable, 186K miles, never left us stranded (knock on wood) only a broken driver's door latch and some burnt out interior lights. And way more entertaining to drive than the Camry (though that's not saying much)

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      06-29-2012 02:32 PM #18
      So it bothers you that people say their car is reliable while only having 45k miles or so, but you don't think your car (currently with 50k on it) will need repairs for another 100k?
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    19. 06-29-2012 02:33 PM #19
      I'd say 100K miles is a pretty good measuring stick. When a model can consistently get to 100K miles with regular maintenance, I'd say its reliable. My 06 CRV is only at 60K, but its needed nothing but fluids and tires.

      My 07 GTI was only 30K miles old and it had driver door leaks, hatch leaks, a timing belt job at 18K miles, CELs, the hatch lock worked sometimes, a bad coilpack, and finally a clunking noise that would send chills down my spine every time I took off from a stop. You'll notice no DV, PCV, or DI carbon buildup issues listed. Those were probably waiting for the next poor schmuck.

      I always laugh when I hear people claiming their 1 year old, 15K mile car has been 'bulletproof.' That has to be one of the most over (and mis) used words in here.

    20. 06-29-2012 02:39 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by PoorHouse View Post
      Maybe the Germans haven't caught up to the Japanese, Koreans and Americans, but I would expect
      a new German car to go 100k with no major issues.
      I don't buy it. The MKV was lauded as a shining example of VW turning the reliability corner when it came out. Gone were the days of window regulator failures, coil packs, sludge, etc.

      Then came the DV issues.
      Then the PCV issues.
      Then DI Carbon issues.

      After a few years, the MKVI came out, and the cycle repeated. "Oh you are buying a GTI? Don't get the MKV, the MKVI is so much better and more reliable. Whats that you say? Well, yeah, my MKVI only got 20K miles on it, and yeah I said the same thing about my 20K mile MKV before I ran into issues, but its different with the MKVI."

      The jury is still out on the MKVI in my mind. I really hope it finally proves reliable over the long haul because I'd love to be able to justify getting the MKVII.

    21. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      06-29-2012 02:40 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by FissionMailed View Post
      So it bothers you that people say their car is reliable while only having 45k miles or so, but you don't think your car (currently with 50k on it) will need repairs for another 100k?


      I bought it with that hope, yes. It was the best I could do with $5000. But I'm not bragging about its reliability, nor do I use it as a measuring stick for reliability. If it had 110k miles on it, and never needed a repair, I feel like I could reasonably call it reliable.

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      06-29-2012 02:44 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by BluMagic View Post
      part of reliability is how the owner uses the car.

      my mom's cars have always needed a major service before 100k, without regard to brand or model

      Jeep = trans replacement
      Volvo = oil cooler lines, water pump, rear main seal, and a host of unknowns when trading in
      BMW = brakes at 40k, tires at 20k, water pump & coil packs at 70k

      i can say with most certainty that my mom could kill just about any car before 100k, she just gets a new one before that mark
      Brakes and tires are not repairs, they're maintenance. I would fully expect most cars to need brakes and tires before 100k, probably more than once.
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    23. 06-29-2012 02:45 PM #23
      I noticed with a few VW's all around the same mileage usually end up needing the same maintenance done, things like coilpacks and spark plugs. What is it with VW's and needing them replace every 40-60 miles vs say a Honda that will last over 100k miles with no issues?

      Also CV joints, for some reason the originals can't seem to make it passed 80k or so miles on at least 4 mkv's i know of.

    24. 06-29-2012 02:59 PM #24
      I'd only consider it UNRELIABLE if you weren't able to RELY on it to get you around. If small things break but it still drives, that does not equate to unreliable.

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      06-29-2012 03:33 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Grey Mouser View Post
      I'd only consider it UNRELIABLE if you weren't able to RELY on it to get you around. If small things break but it still drives, that does not equate to unreliable.
      While, I generally agree with your statement because the basic function of a car is to transport you from point A to B. But, what if you can RELY on the equipment in your car to keep you entertained, RELY on the doors & windows to open properly, RELY on the lightbulbs to not burn out ever few months (my saab did this).

      It's these cars in the "grey" area that I have problems recommending to friends and family or even driving around without those thoughts in the back of your mind telling you that the next thing to go wrong is going to be catastrophic...

      Example, our 2009 328i (65K miles) has:
      1) left us stranded within the first 3 months of ownership. Dealer blamed it on a defective battery. Whatever they did to fix it seems to have worked since the car started reliably since.
      2) @30K miles HVAC control unit serviced because fan was working intermittently
      3) Head unit was replaced within the first year because it decided to stop working.
      4) Front speaker driver's side speaker doesn't work unless I bang on it, then it works for a little while (problem couldn't be replicated by the dealer).
      5) "Light bulb failure" warning light flashing, but all the lights are working as confirmed by our independent mechanic (factory warranty has expired).
      6) paint or plastic coverings peeling off around the power window switches and starter button


      While, I trust this car to get me from A-B (we've done the Socal to SF trip a couple times without any problems), but sometimes I can't help but think, what else is going to break.... You don't expect these kinds of things from a car in it's 3rd year of production.

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      06-29-2012 03:46 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by pwm View Post
      I don't buy it. The MKV was lauded as a shining example of VW turning the reliability corner when it came out. Gone were the days of window regulator failures, coil packs, sludge, etc.

      Then came the DV issues.
      Then the PCV issues.
      Then DI Carbon issues.

      After a few years, the MKVI came out, and the cycle repeated. "Oh you are buying a GTI? Don't get the MKV, the MKVI is so much better and more reliable. Whats that you say? Well, yeah, my MKVI only got 20K miles on it, and yeah I said the same thing about my 20K mile MKV before I ran into issues, but its different with the MKVI."

      The jury is still out on the MKVI in my mind. I really hope it finally proves reliable over the long haul because I'd love to be able to justify getting the MKVII.
      My friend Lenny is having his entire engine pretty much replaced on his 2011 MK6 GTI with 19k miles ... just got it two weeks ago ...

      Classic VW of Mentor, Dave Walter VW of Akron, and Ganley VW of Bedford have all had several MK6 GTIs with less than 25k miles need entire engine rebuilds ...


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      06-29-2012 03:52 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by seadoo2006 View Post
      My friend Lenny is having his entire engine pretty much replaced on his 2011 MK6 GTI with 19k miles ... just got it two weeks ago ...

      Classic VW of Mentor, Dave Walter VW of Akron, and Ganley VW of Bedford have all had several MK6 GTIs with less than 25k miles need entire engine rebuilds ...

      Ok but what is causing the damage? I'm guessing a fuel system problem that diluted the oil. I would like to know the official diagnosis.
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    28. 06-29-2012 04:17 PM #28
      I would rather drive something that has to be fixed on occasion than drive an 05 Sentra.

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      06-29-2012 04:37 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by pwm View Post
      I don't buy it. The MKV was lauded as a shining example of VW turning the reliability corner when it came out. Gone were the days of window regulator failures, coil packs, sludge, etc.

      Then came the DV issues.
      Then the PCV issues.
      Then DI Carbon issues.

      After a few years, the MKVI came out, and the cycle repeated. "Oh you are buying a GTI? Don't get the MKV, the MKVI is so much better and more reliable. Whats that you say? Well, yeah, my MKVI only got 20K miles on it, and yeah I said the same thing about my 20K mile MKV before I ran into issues, but its different with the MKVI."

      The jury is still out on the MKVI in my mind. I really hope it finally proves reliable over the long haul because I'd love to be able to justify getting the MKVII.
      The issues you are talking about only affect the FSI 2.0 turbo engines which are a subset of the turbo engines and only a minor subset of all MkV VWs. To generalize that the MkV is unreliable because of these issues is a misrepresentation.

      Anyways, as to the OP - I agree that no modern car that is properly and timely maintained should leave you stranded within the first 100k. With my old car, a '95 VR6, I daily drove it from 105-179k and it never left me stranded, although that may have been equal parts reliability and luck.
      Last edited by mhjett; 06-29-2012 at 04:40 PM.
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      06-29-2012 05:02 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by pknopp View Post
      I would rather drive something that has to be fixed on occasion than drive an 05 Sentra.
      and this is another very crucial point

    31. 06-29-2012 05:09 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by mhjett View Post
      The issues you are talking about only affect the FSI 2.0 turbo engines which are a subset of the turbo engines and only a minor subset of all MkV VWs. To generalize that the MkV is unreliable because of these issues is a misrepresentation.

      Anyways, as to the OP - I agree that no modern car that is properly and timely maintained should leave you stranded within the first 100k. With my old car, a '95 VR6, I daily drove it from 105-179k and it never left me stranded, although that may have been equal parts reliability and luck.
      Fine, the MKV GTI was unreliable. The 2.5 Rabbit was good.

      The first couple of years were heralded as reliable...until they weren't.
      The second half of MKV GTI production (after they switched engines) has been heralded as reliable. My point is that I suspect it will continue to be until it is proven wrong...which inevitably starts happening a few years in.
      Now the MKVIs are they new kings of GTI reliability...see a pattern?


      Someone in another thread basically said something along the lines of "When Kia/Hyundais in 2020 have 150K miles on them and still drive like they only have 50K and have only needed regular maintenance to get there, only then will they be at the Honda level of reliability."

      That basically sums up my feelings on VWs. Yes they CAN go that long, but its going to be a hell of a lot more expensive, and cost a hell of a lot more in Tums and Advil to get there.

      Anyways, I don't really want this to turn into a bashing thread. I was simply responding to the assertion that German cars should be able to do it. I agree, they should...doesn't mean that happens though.

    32. 06-29-2012 05:56 PM #32
      I have been a mechanic for most of my adult life thus far, and would like to say that for the majority of cars, the more stress they are put under, the more frequently they break down. Stress would be either a higher performance/technologically advanced car, or someone that drives the piss out of a car.

      Example
      Originally Posted by pknopp
      I would rather drive something that has to be fixed on occasion than drive an 05 Sentra.

      If you abuse your car, any car, stuff is going to break. Putting all your body weight on doors, arm rests etc..... Listening to your music with the volume on max......slamming doors..........spilling your latte everywhere.........all that will make stuff break, no matter who makes the car.


      Most of the time what makes a car "unreliable" is neglect. If you don't change your oil, or use the wrong oil, or cheap oil filters. Riding the clutch or brakes, or slipping the crap out of the clutch. Continuing to drive a car when the temp gauge gets too high. Not changing fluids according to the maintenance schedule.

      There is always an exception to the rule, but if you treat your car nice, chances are it will treat you nice.

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      06-29-2012 06:13 PM #33
      I think a lot depends on where you live. I swear Ontario eats car. Don't know anyone with zero problems till 160k kms (100k miles). I mean minimal problems, sure... but not nothing.

      As far as new cars... I consider the first 1-2 years and 40-50k kms a shakedown cruise... If there is a weak link it will show its head, and be covered by warranty. I would not let this be the judge of how reliable the car will be long term - as any consumer product can have a defect; there are just so many parts.

      I also don't consider wearing of suspension to be a reliability issue. Certain cars are built so much tighter then others (like a BMW), and with as light of material as possible. This is done to achieve a handling level not normally found in an average car. Something like a 3-series might have total suspension wear-out far sooner then a Honda Accord (ball joints, tie rods etc).

      As far as things like the windows, radio, locks, seats, A/C system - these are the problems I don't think should happen till the car is either very old or has very high kms or both.

      You are fair to say no breakdowns till 100k miles on average tho. But depends on the driver and the specific car.

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      06-29-2012 06:41 PM #34
      My mom's '99 Alero had the wonderful GM 3400 intake manifold issues when it hit like 20k miles. I guess it's unreliable- even though that's the only repair that's ever been done to it, it happened before 100k. It now has 230k on it.
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      06-29-2012 08:29 PM #35
      It's been brought up but how do you define "reliable" when "regular" maintenance things pop up - sometimes frequently? For example Hyundai has timing belts at 50k. With others are 2-3 times longer how can you say a Hyundai is more reliable? I would hope it would be, but maintenance costs are far higher than some of the competition. Is that worth consideration? I think it should be a part of it.

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