Twas the day before Christmas, and driving from Lexington, Mass., to northern Virginia, on the New Jersey Turnpike just two miles south of the Molly Pitcher service area, my ’99 Accord 5-speed hit 200,000 miles. I love the New Jersey Turnpike so this was a highly appropriate spot for the milestone.
This is the first car in my extended family to pass 200k. My brother’s son, Aaron, has the second furthest traveled car in the family, a ’95 Volvo 940 wagon. It has a mere 175k on the clock, despite the fact that Aaron lives in LA. The Volvo was the last car my parents ever bought, on my birthday in 1999, and I’m sorry Aaron is replacing it, as it is a truly classic Brick, but Aaron’s cousin, comedian David Malkoff (Mark’s brother), is giving Aaron an ’02 Civic with less than 100k for $2,000. When Aaron asked me if the car was a good deal, I told him that if he didn’t want it I’d buy it, myself. Similarly, my sister’s son, Dillon’s car, a Grand Cherokee, which he inherited from his father, is being replaced about 25k short of 200k. Both cars were nickel and diming their owners.
The Accord still runs well. The engine is peppy, and I got 31.5 mpg on the ride down to Virginia, averaging more than 70 mph, despite having put the snows on. Moreover, when I wind up the engine, the little voice in my head goes off: “I love this car”. The Accord may not be Mozart, but it IS Salieri to the Boxster’s Mozart.
Nonetheless, this year I’ve spent close to $2,000 on repairs, including replacing the gas tank, which readers of Piston Slap will remember from earlier this month. And I’m near due for a timing belt.
In this day and age, 200k really isn’t that much. My dear friend, Robyn’s ’97 Impreza, bought new, went 265k before she donated it to NPR, at which point a number of expensive repairs loomed (although the noisy manual trans probably got that way from neglect of fluid replacement). My handyman, Greg’s Volvo 740 wagon has 300k. I’ve heard plenty of other stories like this.
Can you beat me? Can you beat Robyn? Can you beat Greg? Do you have a story to go with the milestone? (By the way, please don’t tell me about the 1966 Volvo P1800 that supposedly has 2.8 million miles, or about 60,000 miles/year, every year beginning during the Johnson Administration. I’ve tried and failed to track down the owner, and I won’t believe that story until I see it well documented.)