COAL Update/QOTD: 2005 Scion xB @100,000 Miles and 15 Years With No Repairs – What’s Been Your Most Reliable Car?

missed it by one mile

Back in the good old days, when everything was so much better and greater, a 15 year-old car with 100k miles on it still on the road was…rolling junk, unless the owner was absolutely OCD about maintenance and spent more on it than it was actually worth. Now we’re stuck with cheap tin cans and rolling shit boxes that just won’t die, no matter how abusive we are to them. Like my 2005 Scion xB (Toyota bB); it turned over 100k miles yesterday on the way to a trailhead. That’s actually low mileage for a 15 year old car, but then I just don’t drive much since at least someone around here loves the planet. 🙂

My xBox has been the most reliable car I’ve owned; well, how could a car be more reliable than with zero repairs? Maybe if it could grow new parts that one could then remove and sell? My cars have been getting steadily more reliable; the xB has more than earned its “toaster” moniker. So what’s been your most reliable car?

I did a very thorough write-up of my xB here, almost four years ago.  So if you want the full details of the xB’s origins, like how a Tokyo urban rolling “lounge car” came to be an Oregon back-woods bomber, click the link.

Let’s just say it suits me to a T, in terms of my body size (and age) as well as my driving patterns, which consist almost solely of very short urban runs to my rentals eight blocks away, the hardware store 12 blocks away, or if they don’t have want I need, Home Depot a mile and a half away, where it tangles up with the big boy trucks. If I need to haul something long, I throw the roof cross bars on it.

And the other main use is recreational, as in 5-40 mile long trips to the trailhead of the day.

That involves winding, scenic two lane highways and rough, pot-holed gravel forest roads. Some of those potholes are almost big enough to swallow the xB, and hitting them at 35-40 mph makes for an endless torture test of its suspension (and our bodies). I keep waiting for something to break down under there, but not so far. I’m more likely to drift off the road and go tumbling down a steep hillside from taking a gravel curve too fast. Hopefully not.

A caveat: the xB does actually have a minor mechanical issue and has had so since day one. Presumably a slight defect in the transmission input shaft that causes the clutch release bearing to not ride on it properly. That caused a noise from the release bearing early on and Toyota replaced the release bearing twice, under warranty. But it eventually came back, because almost certainly the real issue is the input shaft the release bearing rides on is slightly out of tolerance. It’s mostly a non-issue, but on cool, wet mornings the clutch can be a bit jerky, and once in a while the release bearing howls on start up, but that ends within a few seconds. At this stage of the game, these are just personality defects which I’ve long gotten used to. My tolerance for that sort of thing probably explains why I’m still married dafter 42 years and why I keep my cars so long.

The xB’s most endearing quality (other than reliability and fun to drive) is its vast interior space. Except for a bit of width, it interior dimensions are essentially the same as the big double cab pickups of the day. That’s sort of what it is: a pickup Mega-cab on (little) wheels. So I get all of the benefits of such a large vehicle with none of the downsides. And of course I still have my ’66 F100 to fall back on if I really do need a bed. Or my Promaster if I need two beds. A vehicle for every need, including Stephanie’s TSX wagon for high-speed road trips.

One of the craziest things about the gen1 xB is that they have what must be the highest resale value of just about any car. Do a Google search for a gen1 xB, and you’ll find them priced between about $4k and $8k (!). And that’s for a car that cost $13,500 new! Is there a 15 year old car with a lower depreciation?

That means my xB hasn’t depreciated a bit (or actually appreciated) since I did a tally of its costs so far in that 2016 post. So the additional costs since then of three oil changes, a set of rear brake shoes (installed by me), insurance and registration has amounted to barely 15 cents per mile since then. Cheap wheels.

And since there’s nothing better out there to replace it with, I’m planning to keep it indefinitely. As is apparently the case with some neighbors two blocks away who have two of them. See you back here for the 20 year update.