Edmunds Answers

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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.

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