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Why Don't New Car's Last "Like They Used To"

“They don’t make them like they used to” is one of those statements almost all of us have heard (and disregarded) at some stage in our life. Whether it was a complaint about the shift to smart phones and Facebook (usually paired with “this new-fangled technology”) or about their grandfathers' axe (“it’s only had the blade and handle replaced 3 times!").

However, is there some truth to this bullish statement, or is it just people reminiscing over a different time. While still an annoying thing to hear, when it comes to cars there might be some truth to it.

For example, have you ever noticed how many old Holden's and Ford's are one the road today?

By answering yes, you’ve likely fallen into the first trap, cognitive bias. In this case, this convoluted term basically refers to the fact that, because these old cars are a rare sight (they’re unique), you’re more likely to notice them.

Are there actually that many old cars on the road? With the average age of a car on Australian roads being around 10, there probably isn’t that many old cars around. With that said, many of these older cars are still going strong compared to some of their newer counterparts.

This brings us to the main question, will new cars last as long as these old war horses and, unfortunately we think the answer will be no.

Even though we got over our cognitive bias in seeing old cars on the road, there is some truth that they don’t make them like they used to. It’s also with good reason. Many of these old cars were made exclusively out of steal, had huge engines and very bad emissions.

The reason they don’t make them the old way is because old cars are dangerous, bad for the environment and were horrible in a crash. In fact, vehicles weren’t even required to have seat belt points until 1964 and it wasn’t mandated to wear them until 1973.

In comparison, many modern cars have seat belt, air bags, crumple zones, navigation, car play, reversing cameras, better emissions from smaller and more powerful motors and suffer harder driving conditions in stop start traffic.

Considering the difference, it’s no wonder that newer cars won’t last as long. In fact, it’s almost a design feature that most people will get a new car every few years. It allows new technology to enter the market and manufacturers to stay in business.

These “new fangled” cars definitely won’t last as well as their 40-year-old compatriots, which is absolutely great for modern car owners. Especially when you look at how much better cars get each year.


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