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  • avatar karjunkie 07/08/10 11:02 am PST

    The number of cylinders has nothing to do with durability and reliability. If you want a car to last as long as possible, first find a car that has a good to excellent reliability record like Honda or Toyota. Secondly, I would go with the simplest model you can live with as the more complicated the systems the more likely things can go wrong. As to the engine, an in line 4 cylinder will be more economical and probably (not always) easier to repair than an inline 6 or V6 engines. Again, it has fewer moving parts and is simpler in design. Lastly and MOST importantly, perform all maintenance religiously. Oil and filter changes are the most important maintenance items, but people often forget all the other important items because they are required less frequently. If you do the following, you have a good chance to reach 200K and beyond with only minor repairs:

    1. Always use quality tier one gasoline. I use only Shell or Chevron. The detergents in these will keep the intake system including the injectors MUCH cleaner than other brands.
    2. Change the oil and filter every 3K miles. Synthetic is not necessary but lets you extend the changes to every 5K miles. Check all fluids at every oil change including transmission, radiator, power steering and brake fluids.
    3. Rotate the tires every 5K miles and check the condition of the brake pads and calipers.
    4. Change the air filter every 20K miles or every year whichever comes first.
    5. Change the fuel filter and the PCV valve every 30K miles or every 2 yrs whichever comes first.
    6. Chemically flush and change the coolant every 30K miles or every 2 yrs whichever comes first.
    7. Change the transmission fluid and the differential fluid every 60K miles or every 4 yrs whichever comes first. Here you do want to use synthetic oils.
    8. Flush the brake and power steering fluids and replace the timing belt (if replaceable), spark plugs and the water pump every 90K miles.

    That’s it! I keep my vehicles at least 10 years and have had cars run well over 300K miles with this maintenance schedule. Good luck!

Answers

  • texases 07/08/10 10:49 am PST

    Whether a car has a 4 or a 6 has little, if any, impact on engine life or reliability. The basic design and how you maintain it have much more of an effect. You might get a Consumer Reports car buyers guide and look to see which cars and engines have been most reliable.

  • linda2010 07/08/10 10:56 am PST

    Thank you for your answer. I was just wondering if you are a mechanic.

  • texases 07/08/10 10:59 am PST

    I used to be one, now I'm an engineer. That said, mechanics don't really have the ability to judge overall reliability. For that, you need lots of statistics, something you get with the Consumer Reports surveys. Note that Toyota and Honda built their reliability reputations on their long-running 4 cylinder engines.

    p.s. - if you like an answer, click on the little 'thumbs up' icon.

  • karjunkie 07/08/10 11:02 am PST

    The number of cylinders has nothing to do with durability and reliability. If you want a car to last as long as possible, first find a car that has a good to excellent reliability record like Honda or Toyota. Secondly, I would go with the simplest model you can live with as the more complicated the systems the more likely things can go wrong. As to the engine, an in line 4 cylinder will be more economical and probably (not always) easier to repair than an inline 6 or V6 engines. Again, it has fewer moving parts and is simpler in design. Lastly and MOST importantly, perform all maintenance religiously. Oil and filter changes are the most important maintenance items, but people often forget all the other important items because they are required less frequently. If you do the following, you have a good chance to reach 200K and beyond with only minor repairs:

    1. Always use quality tier one gasoline. I use only Shell or Chevron. The detergents in these will keep the intake system including the injectors MUCH cleaner than other brands.
    2. Change the oil and filter every 3K miles. Synthetic is not necessary but lets you extend the changes to every 5K miles. Check all fluids at every oil change including transmission, radiator, power steering and brake fluids.
    3. Rotate the tires every 5K miles and check the condition of the brake pads and calipers.
    4. Change the air filter every 20K miles or every year whichever comes first.
    5. Change the fuel filter and the PCV valve every 30K miles or every 2 yrs whichever comes first.
    6. Chemically flush and change the coolant every 30K miles or every 2 yrs whichever comes first.
    7. Change the transmission fluid and the differential fluid every 60K miles or every 4 yrs whichever comes first. Here you do want to use synthetic oils.
    8. Flush the brake and power steering fluids and replace the timing belt (if replaceable), spark plugs and the water pump every 90K miles.

    That’s it! I keep my vehicles at least 10 years and have had cars run well over 300K miles with this maintenance schedule. Good luck!

  • 0patience 07/10/10 3:11 pm PST

    That is kind of a loaded question.


    Generally, in-line engines tend to hold up longer than V engines.
    It has to do with the forces on the pistons, rods and crankshaft.

    Today's engines though, I see very little difference in longevity between 4, 6 or 8 cylinders.
    8 cylinder engines seem to be ran harder, so seem to have more problems.

    But, do research on the different brands out there. Some brands to very well compared to others.

  • etenney 04/15/15 3:22 pm PST

    Very good maintenance presentation but the lady did not ask for
    car brands. Responder obviously owns or is vested in Japanese cars which are mostly
    4 cylinder. The "practical" size limit for-the 4 cylinder engine is
    around 2.7 liters which are suited for small light weight cars. T
    o get
    enough horsepower for family cars the Japanese reverse-engineers stretch the
    little engine design limits to the breaking point for temperatures, pressures,
    stress, gear ratios and especially RPM’s (sounds like a dentist drill). That’s why 4 cylinder engines have to work
    harder, and wear out sooner with higher maintenance cost and less reliability
    than 6 cylinder engines. The proof is in the tachometer dial. Compare the higher RPM
    numbers at both top-end and cruising speeds. Six cylinders cars are much lower

    Just say'n .... Retired echanical Engineer.

  • djohnson1 01/17/16 10:17 pm PST

    In my college days I worked in an engineering test lab. Consumers Reports was our bible for both their product tests and methods of testing products. They keep statistics on repairs of all cars. For example, a Toyo Camry will require 50% less repairs than the average new car will. This is both for 4 and 6 cylinder engines and assumes all proper maintenance is done. So both engines are reliable. Photocopy the maintenance required that's in your manual in the glove box and you will be fine.


    In my limited experience fixing my own cars, the 4 cylinder ones are much easier to work on and cheaper to fix. The spark plugs are in a straight line, while the v6's are hard to get to on the back row sometimes. Also, everything is crammed into tight space on the V6's when replacing alternators, AC compressors, etc. On my 24 valve 2003 Taurus, they had to take out the radiator and many other parts to replace the AC comptressor; ditto for the alternator. And those will have to be replaced, usually before 200,000 miles, at least for an American or European car.

    A friend of mine has an old Toyo Camry Stationwagon with 275,000 miles 4 cylinder with the original engine still running good. He uses synthetic oil. I'm not sure if that matters or not. If you google "Consumers Reports The Surprising truth about motor oil, they have a great study they did. It was done in 1996, but is still great article.

    The other gentleman's post about all the fluid changes he does was great, but will cost a lot if you pay to have it done, especially at the dealer. I would back off that schedule to what my manufacturer says in the book in the glove box and not what the dealer says. My antifreeze and brake fluid look like new in my 2006 Toyota Avalon, as clear as honey after 85,000 miles and 10 years old. The book says to change at 5 years or 120,000 miles, but I go by mileage and appearance, as do several of my mechanic friends. The last time I went for an oil change and inspection at my Toyota dealer, they wanted to do $1200 for changing these fluids that look like new and replacing an axle that leaks a few drops of oil and flushing the engine, which is bad for it, and cleaning the fuel injectors and carbon in the engine. This car runs absolutely like new. I told them I didn't have the money right now, that I always pay cash, and would come back when I saved up the money. Well, I still don't have the money saved up for that for some strange reason.

    Source: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/toyo
    t...

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