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CAR TALK

by Ray Magliozzi | November 26, 2022 at 1:31 a.m.


DEAR CAR TALK: I am interested in buying a 2022 Toyota Avalon Hybrid. This is the final year that Toyota will be making this vehicle. Is it wise to consider buying it? Will the resale value be reduced as a result of its discontinued status? I plan on keeping it for eight to 10 years.

What are the pros and cons given that it will no longer be made? Thank you. — Art

DEAR READER: I wouldn't worry about it, Art.

Over the next eight to 10 years, getting parts won't be a problem. Toyota, like most car companies, has been very good about keeping parts available for the long haul. And it's particularly easy with the Avalon since it shares a lot of parts with other Toyotas, like the Camry.

And, if someone's buying a used car eight or 10 years from now, whether or not they can buy a new version of that car (which would probably be electric and totally different anyway) is not likely to be high on their wish list.

They're more likely to want to know if a used car has a good reputation for quality and reliability, whether the particular car they're looking at was well maintained and cared for, and how bad the dog smell is.

The fact that it's being replaced by a refreshed model with a newer name (Toyota Crown) is more likely to affect the new car sales price right now than it is in the future.

For psychological reasons, lots of people want "the newest" thing, and may be less excited about buying a car that's being "discontinued."

So, you may be able to get yourself a good deal on a great car for the next eight to 10 years, Art. And if you're keeping it that long, I wouldn't let any concern about resale value affect your decision.

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DEAR CAR TALK: I just got a "MASSACHUSETTS TELEMATICS RIDER" for my 2022 Honda Insight offering three years of free maintenance in exchange for "If within the three (3) years from the date of the original purchase or lease Purchaser ... chooses to designate any third party as the recipient of any telematics data generated by the Vehicle, Purchaser agrees that Purchaser shall exclusively so designate only an authorized Honda dealer within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Purchaser acknowledges and agrees that, absent any such designation, such telematics data shall be transmitted as Manufacturer deems appropriate."

That's only one clause of the rider, but I'm trying to decode the legalese to understand the ramifications. Any thoughts? I'll ask my lawyer tomorrow. — Chuck

DEAR READER: This is a glimpse of the future, Chuck. New cars increasingly come with "telematics." That means that the computer in your car can transmit information about your car, wirelessly, to another party.

Your dealer very much wants to be the recipient of that information. Why? The short answer is that it can be turned into money.

Here's the scenario: Your engine's computer determines that you need an oil change in 500 miles. It relays that info to your dealer. Your dealer then sends you a text (or even pops up a message on your car's screen) that says "Hey, Chuck. Your car needs an oil change. Hit 'REPLY' to schedule an appointment."

That's a way of getting you back to the dealership, rather than some other repair shop. And, while you're there, they can sell you shocks, tires, brakes, fuel injection cleanings, service plans, a new air freshener, and, when the time comes, a new Honda.

Right now, you don't really have an option to send your telematics data to a mechanic of your choice. But, there may come a day when you can do that. And the dealers really want that information coming to them.

So, for legal (getting you to agree, voluntarily), as well as practical reasons, they're offering you something of value in return for letting them have your data.

At this point, it's probably not a bad deal if it's only for the three years that your car is covered by warranty anyway. You're getting something of at least marginal value — free maintenance (read the fine print) — for something you can't easily sell elsewhere, yet, anyway. But, as time goes by, if "Right to Repair" laws like those in your state get passed and expanded, you will someday be able to have your car communicate with the mechanic of your choice — perhaps one with lower prices and better waiting room coffee. So, keep your long-term options open.

Ray Magliozzi dispenses advice about cars in Car Talk every Saturday. Email him by visiting cartalk.com


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