When it comes to deciding whether you want to buy a car or a truck, the choice isn’t always obvious. Cars typically offer better fuel economy and are more suitable for city driving, whereas trucks offer more carrying/towing capacity and more capability off-road. However, for a lot of people, the deciding factor is which type of vehicle will last longer.
Certainly, cars are capable of lasting as long as trucks, as long as they’re maintained properly; however, it’s generally accepted that trucks and SUVs are more durable than cars. Cars last on average 10-12 years (200,000 miles), while trucks usually last 12-15 years (250,000 miles).
Today, we’ll discuss why exactly that is, and also share with you some tips that you can use to help extend your car’s lifespan.
How Long Do Cars Usually Last?
Nowadays, cars are built to a pretty high standard, especially when compared to the cars of decades past. On average, cars are usually driveable for about 12 years, and can run for over 200,000 miles if they receive adequate maintenance.
However, cars often degrade a little faster than trucks, for a couple of reasons; for one, cars usually contain smaller, higher-revving engines than trucks, which tend to wear out more quickly, and for two, trucks are usually built for work purposes, and are therefore designed to be more durable in general.
How Long Do Trucks Usually Last?
For the most part, trucks last about as long as cars do, if not a little bit longer. A quick Google search on the topic of truck longevity reveals dozens of stories from various truck owners, who claim that their trucks have easily lasted well beyond 200,000 miles. Quite a few truck owners also report their trucks lasting over 300,000 miles as well.
Like we mentioned in the previous section, this can be attributed to the fact that most trucks contain large engines, often V8s, which are designed to run at relatively low revs. This means that truck engines are generally less stressed throughout their operational lives, and don’t wear out very fast.
Trucks are also designed with heavy-duty work in mind, like hauling heavy items to and from a job site or driving on poorly-maintained backroads. As such, they often feature beefier, more robust mechanical components than you’d find on regular passenger cars.
Keep in mind, however, that trucks need to be maintained just the same as cars in order for them to last. If you neglect to perform any maintenance on your truck, it’s unlikely that it will last anywhere near this long.
How to Make a Car Last Longer
If you’re looking to help your car last as long as possible, the most helpful thing you can do to that end is to always perform any necessary maintenance in a timely manner. If you’re not sure about when exactly your car should be brought in for maintenance, then consult your owner’s manual; it should have all the information about when to bring your car in for various types of service.
In particular, you’ll want to make sure that you keep all of your car’s fluids at the right levels. This includes your transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, and of course your oil. If nothing else, make sure you change your oil regularly; it keeps the most vital components of your engine lubricated and functioning correctly.
Make sure to change all of your car’s filters regularly as well. These include your air filter, oil filter, and fuel filter. These filters help remove any debris that might otherwise make its way into your engine, which helps your engine last longer.
If you live somewhere that has a four-season climate, you’ll want to take care to protect your car from the elements. If you have a garage, try to store your car in it as much as possible; if you lack access to a garage, a car cover is a pretty decent alternative.
Keep an eye out for any signs of mechanical issues with your car, and don’t delay in having them fixed. Make sure you don’t cheap out on replacement parts as well, as poor-quality products can cause your car to wear out even faster than normal.
Lastly, do your best to not drive your vehicle too hard. This means avoiding unnecessary bumps, potholes, and other road obstacles that can potentially damage your car. It’s also a good idea to avoid braking or accelerating too hard.
Benefits of Cars vs. Trucks
We’ve already touched briefly on the benefits that cars offer over trucks and vice versa, but let’s get into a little more detail on the subject here.
Cars are definitely better for city driving, since they’re more maneuverable and easier to park in tight spaces. Additionally, cars are generally more fuel-efficient than trucks, owing to their smaller size and lower weight.
Trucks are more powerful than cars, which makes them more suitable for towing trailers and hauling large loads in their beds. Trucks are also built to take more abuse than cars, and due to their increased ground clearance are better for driving on poorly-maintained roads.
Trucks also have a higher seating position than cars, which a lot of people prefer as it gives the driver a better view of the road in front of them.
While trucks do tend to be kept on the road a bit longer than cars do, in truth there’s not a significant difference between how long cars last and how long trucks last. Trucks are usually a little more durable than cars, but it all depends on how well you’re able to maintain your truck throughout the years.
Plus, if you do happen to own a car, there’s no reason why it won’t last you for hundreds of thousands of miles, as long as you take proper care of it. The decision to buy either a car or a truck should therefore be based on what your personal needs as a vehicle owner are.