How long should you keep a car?

If your vehicle breaks down and leaves you stranded, you might be wary of it happening again, even after repairs. Photo/file

What you need to know:

It can be challenging to determine how long the average vehicle lasts accurately. Because so many individual factors affect longevity, the length of time a particular vehicle will be viable and reliable will change from car to car.

When you buy a new car, you probably expect it to last as long as possible. However, even a well-made vehicle will reach the end of its life sooner or later. Knowing how long you should keep a car will give you the tools you need to make the right decision when the time comes.

Parts hard to get

In 2003, Joseph Beyanga bought his second car, a 1991 Toyota Corolla, popularly known as Kikumi. One of the factors that endeared Beyanga to the Corolla was its pocket-friendly maintenance costs and the fact that it rarely suffers major mechanical issues.  However, a few years down the line, Beyanga had to sell his beloved car

“It had started developing constant mechanical issues and its spare parts were becoming so scarce that I could not readily find them with my usual spare parts dealers,” Beyanga recalls. 

Total cost of ownership

According to, older cars will almost always get more expensive to own as time goes on. For example, as your vehicle ages, its fuel economy will worsen, which can be incredibly expensive. Older cars also have a much higher likelihood of developing severe issues. Problems with components such as the engine, transmission, or drive axle can be very cost-prohibitive. In many cases, purchasing a new, more reliable car can cost less.

“The period for which you have owned the car may not matter. Regardless of whether it is for commercial purposes or not, if the cost of servicing a used car is increasing, it is better to sell it when it can still fetch you some money,” Ronnie William Kyazze, a mechanic, says.

For private cars, it depends on the reasons you are getting rid of the car. This is because improved technology of features such as lubricants has in a way increased the timeframe in which you can own your car. This perhaps explains why most well serviced and maintained cars can sometimes last up to 500,000 kilometres.

Make and model

The make and model of a particular car will play a big part in how long it will last. Certain vehicles by certain automakers are known for their dependability and their longevity. The make and model of your car will give you a decent idea of how long you can expect it to last.

For example, there are also cars that wear out faster than others. For example, Kyazze says, at least 80 percent of Land Rovers manufactured from 1948 (when the first Land Rover was made) to date are still on the road compared to those manufactured after 1948.

“Their (Land Rovers) spare parts are still available. Their wear and tear is low for certain engines, unless you just want to sell it and buy another car. If a car is well taken care of, you can own it for years. It depends on what you use it for,” Kyazze explains.

According to, for some motorists, the urge to replace a functioning vehicle can be traced to a desire to exhibit a successful lifestyle. For others, it is as simple as the overwhelming lure of that new-car smell. The portal adds that there are those eager to upgrade to a vehicle with the latest generation of safety features.

“There was a time when the mere presence of an airbag was innovative. These days, the device is standard equipment and located in multiple positions inside the vehicle. In addition to the evolution of airbags, other safety advancements including autonomous braking, adaptive headlights, such as headlights that turn to look into curves and backup cameras and sensors have been developed,” the portal says.

Repair or replace

The portal explains that conventional wisdom suggests it is a bad idea to keep putting money into the upkeep of an older car. But replacing your car may be more expensive than finding affordable ways to maintain your car.

“That is especially true if you are thinking of buying a new vehicle over a used one. Although depreciation varies depending on the ma are handed the keys, the value of your new car or truck will decrease,” the portal adds.

Factors that can influence this, the portal states, include supply and demand of vehicles and other market conditions. In certain market conditions, vehicles may actually be worth more.

Safety features

Mathew Mukasa, a mechanic, says checking that the vehicle has the latest safety equipment is incredibly important, and as your vehicle ages, it usually comes up short compared to other cars out on the road.

While your car may have airbags and antilock brakes, there have been significant improvements to the vehicle safety landscape. Things such as lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring can offer you peace of mind on the road that an older vehicle cannot. If you feel you are missing out on safety and a feeling of security, this can significantly affect how long you want to keep your current car.

Your financial situation states that your financial situation is critical when deciding whether to replace your vehicle. It is important to remember that the true cost of ownership for any car will be much more than just the sticker price.

For example, when you purchase a new vehicle, not only will you have to pay a down payment and a car payment for your car loan, but you will also have to pay more for auto insurance. Car insurance costs are determined by how much a particular vehicle will cost to replace.

When you buy a new one, you can expect to pay quite a bit more in monthly insurance payments, which may mean that you should wait before you get rid of your current vehicle.

What vehicles last the longest in 2023?

If you are considering purchasing a new car to replace your current one, knowing which vehicles are the best on the market is essential. According to trusted publications such as J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, the most reliable cars in 2023 include:

• Toyota Corolla

• Kia Forte

• Honda Civic

• 2023 Audi A5

• 2023 Toyota Prius

• 2023 Lexus IS

• Hyundai Sonata

• 2023 Nissan Altima

• 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata

• 2023 Infiniti Q50