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Old 08-22-2009, 11:41 AM   #5
David 93 SL2m
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: North America
Posts: 3,594

2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Post Re: Going the Distance: Duane Delegan and His 390k Mile Saturn SC2

Looks like the section on Duane Delegan in the article got truncated. Bummer, as I agree with 99.9% of the missing part. No problem, here is the full version of the section on Duane Delegan:
Sticking with his Saturn

Duane Delegan isn't shy about it: He's frugal. Superfrugal. Growing up, when the family was "really, really poor," the Chicago-area man even recalls lending his parents money from his piggy bank.

So when Delegan buys a car, he makes it last. In 1994, Delegan splurged and bought a new four-cylinder Saturn SC2 for $14,000. About 390,000 miles later, the Saturn is still rolling. What's his secret?

Delegan says he once read about a short-haul railroad company that saved huge amounts on maintenance by not pushing its trains beyond 80% of their limits because the top 20% of speed was where of the 80% of the wear and tear occurred.

He took the lesson to heart. He rarely if ever goes faster than 60 mph, instead settling in behind a slow-moving tractor-trailer on the highway. "If you slow down on the expressways, you get in less accidents, you get less speeding tickets. . . . You get better gas mileage," says Delegan, who now lives in a rural area near Chicago but has put both city and country miles on his car. "I just checked it the other day, and I still get 36 miles to the gallon."

The Saturn has required very little: an alternator, some tires. "I think I had to replace the rear wheel bearing once, but other than that it's been OK." Every other time he fuels up, however, Delegan now has to add a quart of oil. The fact that a car like the Saturn has a plastic exterior has saved it from much rust, he adds.

A vehicle will last a long time if you just avoid the temptation to buy another, says Delegan. Buy something you can live with, that has more classic styling and color, he advises. (Alas, he says his gold Saturn looks "kind of like a beached whale" and has teardrop mag wheels, but could look worse for a 12-year-old car.)

"Anytime you want to buy a new car, wait 60 days, then remember each day, you are not making payments, paying sales tax, higher insurance fees, new licensing fees and not worrying about dents," Delegan says.

"The cost of a new car is $20,000 to $30,000. The cost of a high-mileage car without payments? Priceless."

More do's and don'ts from Delegan:
  • Stick it. Buy a manual transmission vehicle; it will last longer.
  • Keep it to yourself. Never let anyone else drive your car.
  • Keep it simple. "Always purchase the most basic version of the car model. You will stay out of the dealership service department and save tons of money and frustrations. Power windows or seats and digital gauges always break," says Delegan. Those extras don't add much if at all to the resale value after a few years, but they can add to the headaches, he says.

∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K


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