What Goes on With Japanese End Of Life Vehicles

Not all UK breaker yards take in all makes and model of old end of life vehicles; some will specialize in a make or even a specific model. But some chose to focus on all things Japanese, from Hondas, to Mitsubishis, from Nissans to Mazdas, Toyotas to Subarus and the odd Suzuki thrown in.

Actually there may be good business reason for this. We all know how vehicle built in Japan tend to be built to high standard and have long trouble free lives. Well this can cause problems for used part suppliers who have a demand for spares for newer models under 10 years old or even 15. There just isn’t enough models coming to the end of their life except for salvage, or those involved in an accident.

Resale values are quit high also for certain models, meaning many are repaired and kept on the road, rather than removed.

So How Long Is The Average Lifespan Of a Honda

We tried to investigate this question and found it very hard to get an accurate answer. That is because so long as it is maintained properly these models can just keep on going. Certain Honda models, with mileages of 200,000 mile plus are still very common. It is more likely that the vehicle will eventually come to its ELV, when its desirability has dwindled. This is where newer models adding more comfort, technology and cheaper running costs become more desirable than the older version. Then maintenance starts to fall away and more wear and tear takes place. Before that family transport, eventually appears not to be worth saving.

An Old Grey Honda

The Reliability Of Toyota

We all know the reputation of this brand. For years it has won prizes for owners being more satisfied with these as well as garage service. But styling and looks are not always the best here. In America the country is littered with old Toyotas still taking the children to school n the morning. In Africa, well old Toyotas are just everywhere, with no sign of any coming to the end of their life. Where older styling and comforts are less important, you will see old Toyotas still acting as work horses every day.

A burnt out Toyota

Clearly this burnt out Toyota has come to an earlier than planned end of life.

Forbes Publish 10 Vehicles That Will Last More Than 250,000 Miles That Are Sold In The USA

So we will only mention the Japanese models here.

  • 1/ The Acura RDX: Not a brand we know much about in the UK. But this SUV clearly has a good reputation.
  • 2/ Honda Ridgeline: Another USA SUV but an indication that Honda is at the forefront of long life vehicles.
  • 3/ Lexus RX 350: The up market brand of Toyota, showing some luxury as well as sturdiness.
  • 4/ Mazda MX5: Of course the British this inspired open toped roadster was going to make it. Simplicity is its strength.
  • 5/ Toyota 4 Runner: This is a big hit in the UK also
  • 6/ Toyota RAV4: The medium sized SUV, also sells well in the UK.
  • 7/ Toyota Yaris: This small hatchback is popular worldwide.

So this is a list for family vehicles sold in the USA, where typically they would do more miles than in the UK. Read more here at Forbes.

So Where Does Nissan Stand With End Of Life Vehicles?

There are some models that Nissan produce that have stood the test of time like the small Micra. It is quite surprising how this little hatchback that originally looked like a few shoeboxes strung together has become so popular because of its reliability and long lasting reputation.

The Independent reported in 2015 that the Nissan Micra was in the top 5 long life motors in the UK alongside the Suzuki Jimny and Toyota Land Cruiser.

And older model of the Nissan Micra in red

However some models such as the Nissan Almera have not stood time as well. Some purists put this down to the connection they have with Renault.

Mitsubishi and Their Long Life Plan

Fortunes of this Japanese manufacturing company have been up and down recently and sales have dropped compared to other brands. There seems to be little information on how long Mitsubishi vehicles will last and of course there are examples that are very old and still full of life. But there does not appear to any clear long lasting winners like Honda or Toyota.

Mitsubishi galant in black

More Than Motorcycles: Suzuki

Often seen as a more budget line than Honda and Toyota, it shouldn’t be surprising to establish that Suzuki’s have a more limited lifespan than others. Ironically their engines are well reported and as mentioned earlier the Suzuki Jimny engines is well received. But other factors such as bodywork and brakes often mean that the cost of repair can be higher than the worth of the vehicle. So in most cases find themselves coming to the end of the life a bit sooner than other Japanese brands.

How Does Mazda Stand With EDV

Overall Mazda has a good reputation for reliability and the MX5 is a clear winner here. Residual values remain high even for very old versions, meaning they are worth maintaining and keeping. Older salons and Hatchbacks just don’t have that desirability to keep on the road. So many of these Mazda models, possibly prematurely, find themselves in breaker yards.

Subaru And Rally Heritage

It helps if the saloons you sell have won a Rally or two in their lifetime. Bolt on the reputation of Subaru and you have a brand where even the older models have a worth, especially the Impreza which Rally drivers like Colin Mcrae became famous for driving. Don’t expect many of these in the breaker yards, it is not seen as a mainstream brand anyway compared to other Japanese makes.

The Typical Japanese Breaker Yard

There is an advantage of driving right hand drive vehicles and that is they match how they drive in Japan. So many breaker yards actually import parts and engines from where they were manufactured. Often this is the only way to keep up with demand of certain parts. It is not because there are very Japanese made models in stock, but about certain parts within where demand exceed supply. Remember and end Of Life Vehicle does mean all parts cannot be reused.

But consider this. If you wanted to buy a replacement engine for your Japanese model, would you prefer an engine that had done 70,000 miles from a UK registered version, or one that had done 70,000 miles from Japan? And that is the issue, hatchbacks, saloons all find their way to the breaker yard, but only after they have put in some serious mileage and wear and tear.

All but the very desirable models come to the end of their cost effective life at some point. But Japan has a reputation better than most, for offering that reliability and toughness.