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They're unreliable because they're a pain in the rear to work on and because parts are expensive and hard to get hold of. It's easy to change a cam cover gasket on a Mercedes Benz 560SEL which you can get pretty much on the same day in any big city for around $6/side.

Mileages are low on many cars because owners don't want to deal with what's involved in maintaining them, so they don't drive them.
 

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Yeah I don't really care about new owners or new cars for that matter. All new cars are reliable and all are covered by a bumper to warranty. If money was no object to me and I wanted a new one, i'd lease it and give it back after 3 years.

I was responding to your point about neglect. A car that's difficult to maintain is easily neglected. That might not even be a question of cost, but more a question of value and convenience.
 
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