Should I buy a discontinued model?

Are parts more difficult to get or expensive?

Eric, Foxboro, Mass.

Unlike in the consumer electronics industry, which relies mainly on sales of new hardware, the auto industry and its parts and service network provide more customer support and for much longer. The big difference is that when a car breaks, you don’t just throw it away.


As long as the manufacturer of the discontinued model is still in business in the U.S., parts should be readily available and warranties should remain in effect. Most manufacturers continue to make parts available years after they stop producing a vehicle, as do the major aftermarket suppliers that provide many of the replacement parts the repair industry relies on. In addition, used parts are widely available through a national network of auto salvage operations (aka “junkyards”).

Bad things happen to consumers mainly when auto manufacturers like Daewoo, the Korean company that crashed and burned a decade ago, close shop and are liquidated. Parts sources, access to warranty service and resale value disappear quickly.

The automotive landscape is littered with dozens of discontinued models such as the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Ford Contour, Honda Element and Toyota Tercel. There also are a number of discontinued brands, including Pontiac, Saturn, Mercury and Plymouth, but because their vehicles were shared with brands such as Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge, finding replacement parts should not be a problem.

You also should not have trouble getting service. A Pontiac or Saturn can be repaired by a Chevrolet dealer (including warranty claims), for example, and most vehicles from mainstream brands can be serviced at independent or chain repair facilities.

Learn more

Answered by Rick Popely on November 12, 2012 in What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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