By on December 29, 2011

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.)

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145 Comments on “99 Accord Hits 200K On New Jersey Turnpike...”


  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    The only thing I can post is my brother’s current car. A much unloved, at least here, 1994 Corolla DX with 225k on the clock (he reports that the clutch is starting to act up). It was bought used in 2006 with 150k on it and routine maintenance is anything but routine. Its engine is still strong, but misses on one or two cylinders periodically, and all of the electrics work (if a little more slowly than new). The last real oil change this thing had was 3 years ago, but my brother checks his oil level every now and then and adds some.

    All in all not a bad car for the maintenance averse.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    How long did it take you to get that Scanguage calibrated correctly? I have one, but gave up on trying to calibrate it because it never came out right.

    • 0 avatar

      I long ago stopped calibrating the tank setting, which is way off, but the “current” and “today” mpgs seem to be accurate to within 1.5 mpg either way. I think I calibrated it the first 3-4 fillerups, and then stopped.

      • 0 avatar
        crinklesmith

        I have mine mounted the same way in my Grand Marquis. Great little piece of equipment for the price, Scanguage even posts manufacturer specific coding on their website to add readable gauge parameters. Mine doesn’t read below ~55 degrees, and the fuel mileage is off unless you reset it every tank fill, other than that, it’s a decent little scanner. I wish Honda still made cars like that Accord.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I know a 94′ Camry that went 400k miles and if it ever saw its automatic transmission fluid changed or had an oil change more frequently than ever 30k miles – it’d be very surprised.

    It’s certainly possible to keep any car going indefinitely, with infinite patients and an unlimited budget. I know someone who spent $7,000 in one year to keep a 15 year old Volvo on the road. I know folks who have 300k miles but have gone through 2 engine and transmission rebuilds. That doesn’t really count in my book.

    To really impress me the mileage mileage must accumulate on original equipment and I’m doubly impressed if it can do this despite any attempt at maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      See my avatar picture. This is my 98 LS400 turning 200k in early Jan of 2011. It now has over 217k.

      Original engine, tranny, suspension, etc. The only non wear items (meaning brake pads and tires) that have been replaced in 14 years are: 2 timing belts at their 90k intervals with water pumps, a headlight switch, an alternator, a drivers door handle, multiple batteries (this car seems especially hard on batteries), and one oxygen sensor.

      This car is, IMO, the epitome of the Fat Toyota. They don’t make them like this any more. I don’t think anyone does.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    215k on my 96 Accord four-banger, before a series of issues compelled me to give it to the radio station last year.

  • avatar
    thirty-three

    My 1993 Civic (auto) is currently ay 352k km (219k miles). It still runs great, doesn’t burn or leak oil, and can handle freeway driving at 70 mph.

    When I bought it, I planned to keep it for at least 5 years. I think it will last 10 years at the rate it’s going.

    I believe it is currently the highest mileage car in the extended family, though we’ve got two 1989 Mazda 626s with 275k+ and 300k+ km on the clock.

  • avatar
    spyked

    260k and still rolling on Mom’s 95 Pontiac Grand Am V6. Automatic transmission. 2 door, manual windows, steel wheels, spoiler, and V6. Interesting option packages they had back then. Anyway, car won’t die. Transmission still shifts fine, ice-cold a/c, has only needed brakes (lots of them) and struts/springs. The interior has long since disintegrated, but it’s still running everyday in Central SW VA (460 corridor). Not a nice car, not a pretty car, but impressed considering it’s a GM product from the mid-90s.

    She just rolled over 103k miles on 2008 Mazda3i automatic. Hope it gets at least 200k.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I traded my 85 LeBaron GTS (non-turbo) at 206,528 miles, after owning it the last 12 years of its 15+ year life.

    I rebuilt the 2.2 at 160k (and replaced the original clutch just because the motor was out). The ashtray was used to hold the variety of little trim pieces that routinely fell off its interior.

    It was a beautiful car, and pretty reliable (except for the time the engine computer quit at 65 mph in the fast lane at night). But the rust began outpacing my skills, wallet, and patience.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    All the high mileage stories I have are from import owners. Not to degrade the owner or his Accord but 200k on a Honda is not uncommon. Heck 300k seems more the going average (for older models at least).

    I once thought GM trucks were built to last as long but after having both of them in the shop for countless repairs over and over again, I’m not so sure. Even after years of trolling the Toyota, Honda and Nissan message boards raving about how long GM trucks last, I was in for a rude awakening.

    My Toyotas are in the 6 digits at the moment and not one of them has needed anything outside of their routine maintenance. I fully expect them to surpass the 200k mark with flying colors and beyond with very little fuss.

    Yup, I’m drinking the Toyota kool aid now. At least I know I won’t choke on it like I did when I drank GM’s

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Garbage, there are well-maintained high-mileage domestic brand examples too. I think the secret is the car owner has to like the car or truck enough to change fluids and replace parts as they inevitably wear out. My 99 Honda Accord has been a good car, but I’ve had to put effort into keeping it that way.

      In my opinion, nothing kills the reputation of a car like bad owners and nothing attracts bad owners like low down payment financing. Look at the decline of Chrysler and Mitsubishi. There is a reason why neighborhoods full of rental property get trashed out and the same people who rent tend to destroy their cars too.

      • 0 avatar
        22_RE_Speedwagon

        “There is a reason why neighborhoods full of rental property get trashed out and the same people who rent tend to destroy their cars too.”

        Do you have some data to back up that asinine statement?

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      GM trucks will readily do 300K. Guys at work have 99 Silverado in Cleveland winters where no Toyota, car or truck will survive. Three early S-10 are at or behind 300K miles.

      Most vehicles of that era will go the distance.

    • 0 avatar
      jconli1

      As much flack as the General gets, my decidedly NON-mechanically-inclined mom racked up 320k in a ’78 G20 van before it was totalled by someone else. The replacement ’92 G20 saw 200k before being donated.

      During the same era, dad’s ’82 Camaro painfully clawed its way past 200k, the grandparents’ ’78 Monte Carlo saw 200k, my brother’s ’88 Cavalier saw 200k.

      (I was the wildcard… 200k Volvo 245 Turbo, 140k Suzuki Swift GTI, 180k Nissan NX2000, 180k Impreza, 180k Volvo V90… now in an 80k Element and hoping to surpass all of them)

    • 0 avatar
      damikco

      1999 Chevy Venter 180k and still going strong, 140k on Cadillac STS V8 runs like new.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    My second car was a 1988 Sentra I bought in the summer of 1995 with 190,000 miles the clock. I drove that for another 7 years until the head gasket finally let go at 296k. The replacement was a 2000 Hyundai Accent that I sold in 2008 with 124k. It’s up around 180k now. I also have a ’92 Sentra that I bought in 2004 with 223k. It’s not my daily, so it’s only up to 240k.

  • avatar
    dejal1

    265K on a 98 4 dr Accord, before I traded it in last year. Original exhaust, original clutch. Starter replaced at 220K.

  • avatar
    JCraig

    Sold my 88 VW Fox to a friend after the master cylinder went out, had over 325k on it then. Not sure how long it lasted after but I know he continued to drive it for months. Engine was amazingly solid as my ‘oil change’ was adding oil when it would run out. I got the car after it was considered used up so I don’t know what was replaced before me.

  • avatar

    I should have mentioned–I bought the car for $5,500 in Nov. 2004 with 67k on the clock. Original engine, trans, clutch, no major overhauls of any sort. I did get several inches of body rot fixed this year for $300. The repair history for the last 2-3 years is all on Truedelta.com
    The AC has not worked in at least four years. If I still lived in DC I would have had to have gotten it fixed.

  • avatar
    JMII

    My ’85 Civic was sold at around the 160K mark… and nothing was wrong with it at the time.

  • avatar

    Based on a special survey I conducted a while back, the average car that isn’t totaled in an accident goes about 160k these days before being junked, and 200k is surprisingly common. In addition, many people now expect 120k before having a $500+ repair.

    100k isn’t what it used to be! The Mazda Protege5 that’s still young in my mind is now at 108.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      the average car that isn’t totaled in an accident goes about 160k

      So, by definition half are scrapped before 160k? I guess I just can’t get over people paying top dollar for used cars with 100k miles.

      • 0 avatar

        There are lots of reasons why a car under 160k might get scrapped other than a collision. All parts age, regardless of mileage. Design defects. Rust. Usually one or more of the above in combination with varying levels of owner neglect.

        My own anecdotal evidence is that mileage is not a very accurate indicator of how “used up” a car is. More like:

        mileage x (number of owners)^2

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        Even without total-loss crashes, city driving or low annual mileage are common causes of a car not getting to 160K. Without at least 15K a year when near new, getting a car to 200K miles is unlikely.

        We have an 04 Subaru that could easily not get to 160K, probably from accumulated fender-bender damage making it not worth fixing a mechanical problem.

    • 0 avatar
      thirty-three

      With cars lasting longer, this should create long-term problems for automakers. The longer a car is on the road, the more time it will take to be replaced by a new car.

      If exporters weren’t exporting so many used cars to poorer countries, we would probably have too many decent used cars available here. Decent meaning high mileage, but drivable and serviceable, like my 93 Civic.

    • 0 avatar
      musicalmcs8706

      I wish that I could make it to 120k in my 2005 Impala LS before any $500+ repairs… But I have had numerous $500 repairs on it. And now the transmission is showing the first signs of starting to go with 85k on the car.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Your 160k mark is fascinating.

      Recently, it has been a real challenge to get our 01 Elantra past that (now 168k) milestone, but it should be good for a while, hopefully. Without love, patience, and poverty, it wouldn’t still be here.

      As I mentioned above, my old LeBaron GTS needed overhauling at 160k, but we pushed through that wall, too.

      Whether it makes sense to spend 4 figures at that point is a difficult question to answer. Twice I’ve said yes, and several times I’ve said no. Having two Chrysler minivans croak at 120k miles was most disappointing, and I didn’t bother fixing them.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I have a 200K picture of my 94 Escort. On 301 near Middletown DE. I sold it at 211K

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      I had a first gen Ford Escort back in college. I took it up to 185K, it was well thrashed by that time. I always changed the timing belt when required. When I called the junk man to haul it away he took one look at the odo and said, “85K, that’s about right.” I told him it was 185K. He refused to believe me and claimed that it was not possible to get that kind of mileage out of a Ford Escort.

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        I got mine with 88K and did regular maintenance including the timing belt, tune ups, suspension, and always used Mobil 1. It had 95% of the compression left when I sold it and still got 40 MPG. But I was tired of it. The car needed an exhaust pipe and I was ready to move up./

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The early Escorts (1981-85) were buggy…but by the time the 1985 1/2 models debuted, Ford had worked out most of the problems. Relatives and friends had Escorts built after 1985, and they had no problem going well over 100,000 miles. And with minimal care, too.

  • avatar
    swiftfox

    301,000 on a 2003 Subaru Forester driven on highway commutes. Oil is going somewhere as I put in a quart per 1200 miles just to be safe. Only unanticipated repair was clutch kit. Did some bobsledding in it the first winter I had it as I took an icy curve a bit too fast. Thought I would roll over – car has great balance!

  • avatar

    The ’50 Studebaker was on its last legs with 90,000-plus, after the trip across the country in 1957. The ’57 Chevy barely made it past 100k. I saw it a year and a half after we sold it, with 106k on the clock, but I very much doubt it went beyond that. The ’57 Plymouth had had a rebuilt engine probably around 60k, and I’m guessing we got it up to maybe 80-90k before we … I don’t even know whether my father sold it or junked it. The body was all rusted out. My ’62 Falcon got junked at around 106k after it threw a piston rod. The trans had about had it by that time. I was having to double clutch it into second. Although that was proably my fault for doing a lot of clutchless shifting. But the 1970 Valiant went 140k over 16 years, and the main reason my parents junked it was because my mother thought it was pretty gnarly, what with torn upholstery and a bashed in rear quarter panel and part of the trunk which they’d never fixed. But the engine and trans were fine.

  • avatar
    ddx12000

    Just hit 265k in a 1994 V6 XLE Camry – main seal is shot, though, so it is leaking serious oil. Time to let her go, but she’s been a good car. The engine is still strong, but I can’t justify the money to replace the seals and the tranny and this point…the tranny is starting to slip going up hills, and that’s going to be an issue here in WA state.

  • avatar
    slance66

    It won’t happen for me. I sell around 100-110k. I’d be happy to know the cars are still going at 200k, but (1) who has the time to even manage the various repairs and (2) I get bored of cars after about 5-6 years.

    The urge to squeeze every last mile out of a car is no different than hypermiling, and other attempts at extreme frugality. It’s fine for those who are so inclined, but it’s not worth the effort for most of us.

    • 0 avatar
      thirty-three

      Thank you, for helping to keep frugal people like me on the road for cheap :)

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        +1!

        When I met my wife, she told me that her family bought new and kept cars *forever*, and then got rid of them a decade later when they were too much trouble. I told her that I buy those cars and drive them for another 6 or 8 years. So far, it’s held true, and I spend less (of I do some of the work myself). :-)

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      Slance66,

      I think you are missing the point here and that is that many of us have bought our cars with plenty of miles already on them but manage to take them to 200K or more on the original engine/transmission and others just don’t have the financial wherewithall to buy a brand new car every 5-6 years and it’s nothing to do with being frugal, it’s about being able to save for retirement or whatever and not having car payments all the time.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      If you want to find out how your old car did, you can always run a Carfax report. I thought I had amazing patience when it comes to old high mileage daily drivers, but my 1989 Ford Tempo was still on the road in April.

      Only about 20k miles gave been but on it since I sold it in 2003 with 165k on it (after a harrowing series of automotive misadventures), but someone has done more with it than I ever expected.

      I just traded in my 1998 Ranger at 185k miles. It had a lot left in it, but a 5-speed pickup made a lousy city kid-hauler. I’ve been watching the dealer ads and Carfax to see what happened to it. It dropped off of the dealer’s for-sale listing, but no sale has been reported for a couple of weeks, so I’m guessing it’s their new parts-getter. That would actually be a fairly good fate for it, since it’s a sturdy, useful, and well maintained little truck with a new timing belt and a lot of miles left in it — and rather lousy cosmetics.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    I got 238K out of a Chevy Celebrity, about 220K out of a Plymouth Valiant, and about 190K from a Chevy Cheyenne pickup. The latter 2 I acquired when they already had about 170K. All American cars, although I’ve had good luck with imports too.

    It’s amazing how long cars can last with a modicum of care. Doing mostly highway miles doesn’t hurt either.

    Congrats to you David! It’s a great milestone. When the Celebrity hit 200K I sent a letter to GM and unexpectedly got back an official “Chevrolet high-miler” T-Shirt! Who says they don’t know how to do marketing? :-) Send a thank-you letter to Honda and see what they send back.

  • avatar
    EEGeek

    I just replaced my 97 VR6 Passat with 331k miles on it. I have a 325k picture on my phone. I think the engine would last to 400k, but new electrical problems pushed me over the edge to finally get a TDI Sportwagen. I hope it lasts as least as long.

  • avatar
    redliner

    In 2004, my father bought a brand new Toyota Camry 5 speed manual (yes, a Camry with a man-tran) and managed to put 238,000 miles on it over 4 years. In 2008, an unlicensed, 15 year old in a pick-up pulled out less than a car length in front of him. The Camry (which still had surprisingly high resale value) was totaled. Until then the car was pristine, except for some moderate road rash from all the highway miles. Even the interior looked new. My father did most of his own maintenance. Hand washed and vacume every week. Synthetic blend every 7k. new tires every 50k. Coolant system flush, new spark plugs and belt at 150k. Nothing else.

    He replaced it with a stick shift Jetta Tdi, also bought new, in 2009. It now has 150k miles. and has cost at least 3 times what the Camry did in maintenance, but he likes it, so there’s that.

    • 0 avatar

      how does your father manage to drive 55k a year? That’s amazing

      • 0 avatar
        redliner

        He works as a federal contractor. The type of work that he does requires that he travel all over the country, although mostly up and down the north-eastern coast. He typically spends about 4 hours per day driving.

        According to him, after factoring in the standard mileage allowance from Uncle Sam, (around $0.50 per mile) he actually ends up making a little something by traveling in a relatively inexpensive car. He uses that car 100% for work, No personal use.

        On weekends he drives an early 80′s Jaguar XJ with the “double-six.” Last year he put less than 3000 miles on it. Beautiful (read: money pit) car.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        While your father likes the Jetta, it is illustrative that the diesel has running costs that are treble that of the well-engineered gasoline automobile.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Behind a boneheaded 55,000 mile a year commute is our even more boneheaded (and working hard on insolvent) fed gov paying the man a $28,000 a year driving bonus to do it.

  • avatar
    skor

    “Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping
    I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
    Counting the miles on the New Jersey Turnpike
    They’ve all gone to look for America
    All gone to look for America
    All gone to look for America

  • avatar

    My immediate family has had numerous GM H-body 3800 V6 cars from the late 80s and 90s. All of them hit 150k with no issues easily.

    My parents got me a lightly used 92 LeSabre when I was in high school (late 90s) and I drove it daily up until 2006. By then it had 330,000 original miles and the only repair it needed was a new A/C compressor.

    I sold it for 400 dollars and it ran like a top. One of the doors stopped opening, the suspension was pretty worn out and floaty but everything else worked great. I never should have sold it.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Let me guess. Driver’s side door quit working?

      I had a 91 LeSabre on which neither of the driver’s side doors worked. This was a daily driver for 7 months until I graduated high school and my aunt helped me get a loan on a newer car. I sold it off for $100, primarily because I didn’t have room for it; would have kept it, should have kept it, but the window motors stuck in the down position. Not good during the winter.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      My three H-bodies have a combined lifetime mileage of about 710K and (last I knew) all are still on the road today.

      OTOH, none of my A, N, or W-bodies went past 150K.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    The Borman 6, my 1st 528e went to almost 350 k miles on its original engine and transmission . The alternator, the main fuel pump and most of the coolant hoses were original.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    In May 2004 I bought my BIL’s 1997 Cavalier with 192,000+ miles on it for $1000. He was very good about maintaining it, as it was his work car (he was in sales at the time), and everything ran well.

    In late 2004, I hit something hard and metallic during a whiteout on my way home from work. A couple of days later, I noticed trans oil on the driveway. Unfortunately for me I was involved in getting new equipment functioning properly at my former workplace and I didn’t pay attention to the leak until one day the car would not go into gear. I was out $1800 for a used 50K mile tranny and installation. But the rest of the car was fine, so I thought it was better than car payments. And it was.

    Fast forward to July of this year, the car makes 250,000 miles. After 14+ years on the road, the body is getting too raggedy to take to nice restaurants, and I’m starting to get some electrical issues. I’m guessing those are due to the perforated body (thanks to road salt) and the evap canister is triggering a check engine light. The anti lock brake sensors in the back are kaput, so I don’t have those anymore either.

    It survived both of my kids learning how to drive, 14+ years of no garage, and for a while there, a punishing schedule that had us driving all over Western Michigan in all kinds of weather. The driver’s seat is pretty much flattened out from my huge ass, but she starts up every morning, still burns no oil, loses no antifreeze and gets 27 MPG in city driving.

    I can’t complain.

  • avatar
    Scizootie

    I just turned 200k three weeks ago on my ’93 Saturn SL2 5speed. Original clutch (although she’s gunna need one soon haha), doesn’t leak anything, but does burn a little. My previous Saturn was a ’93 SL2 5speed that the odo stopped at 174k (very common on the ’91-’94), but I know it had well over 250k when I gave it to my mechanic friend. Took at ’94 Saturn SL in on trade back in the day w/ 500k on it, we put it in our showroom for display. Yes, I worked at Saturn for 15yrs, but now that’s gone and I’m at Toyota and I see 200k plus cars all the time here.

  • avatar
    newcarscostalot

    My friends had a 94 Astro Van with 270,000 miles on it and it ran fine. They sold it and bought a first gen S10 Blazer that has close to 200,000 miles on it that runs fine as well. I owned a 97 Intrepid that had 200,000 miles on it when I gave it to a friend and it also ran just fine. I forgot to add that all three of these vehicles are on their original Motor and Trans with Nary a rebuild as far as I am aware. The Astro and Intrepid suffered from poor maintenance and kept chugging along. I’m keeping up on the Blazer so it will (hopefully) last.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      An Astro and an Intrepid – each with over 200k?! That’s nearly miraculous, particularly with poor maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        newcarscostalot

        I agree, I and my friends are fortunate that we both knew the previous owners of our respective vehicles and they took care of them very well. The lack of maintenance on the Intrepid was sensor related, as I kept up on the oil changes and changed the trans fluid and filter. The van is the most surprising as fluids were ignored and I cant remember ever doing an oil change on it or hearing about the oil being changed. Fortunately it didn’t leak or smoke and the trans shifted well. The luck of the gods must have been on that vans side lol.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    We are at 195k on a 2002 Honda CR-V that I bought from my mom (who was the original owner) for my teenage daughter’s first car. My mom didnt even take care of it, although my stepdad did keep the maintenance up on it, and it still runs literally like new. Looks really good too, which is surprising since my mom never washed it!

    Just recently the power lock acuator failed… $50 part plus a few hours in my garage swapping it out. Amazing how well these things hold up.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    What the hell, I am at 330k on my 98 Corolla and no nothing , no video, no youtube, no celebration, no ribbon cutting ceremony, no acknowledgment from Toyota, not even a freaking free oil change. What I got instead was: “don’t you think it’s time for a trade-up?” when I took it for an alignment.

  • avatar

    I would not want to drive one car for 200k miles. I need another car every three to five years, just for fun.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Well, at least the writer has much better taste in cars than in roads, love the NJ Pike??? which part in particular, the always long line at the south end entrance toll, the stinky zone near Elizabeth or Newark, or the extra heavy traffic of Jersey folk trying to get out of the stinky are for some fresh air and elbow room?

    • 0 avatar

      My favorite site is the Linden Cogen/Bayway Refinery complex at exit 13. It is gorgeous all lit up at twilight, all lit up, especially with John Coltrane in the CD player. The New Jersey Turnpike is an American icon. Go here to see in detail why I like it so much

      http://tinyurl.com/ythmaf

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        RECIRCULATE!!

        (but once you get out of the NYC commuteoplex (south of exit 8) it’s not too bad to the Delaware line. I actually commuted from Staten Island to Delaware for about 3 months in 2006, it was boring but doable on a temporary basis)

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Ah yes, the NJ Turnpike, like a scene out of Blade Runner come to life. What’s not to like?

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        After 30+ years of regular travel, I like the Jersey Turnpike.

        Despite the crazies, it carries a lot of people with reasonable safety, at a reasonable toll rate, and without cops trying to raise money with ticketing.

        Skeptics can compare to I-95 in Connecticut or between DC and Richmond, VA. Case closed.

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        It’s a great highway, especially the part with separate lanes for cars vs trucks, physically separated no less. Has been a few years since I drove it though so can’t speak to current traffic conditions.

    • 0 avatar
      John R

      Yeah, I had to stop and re-read that sentence and increase the gain on my sarcasm detection just to be sure.

      I HATE that stretch. Oblivious dummies with Prii in the left lane, 4-cyl Altima nee GT-R owners boppin’ in every lane.

      If there ever was a case for minimum speed limits that varied by lane…

  • avatar
    meefer

    Can’t come close, my 99 Accord decided to make itself the world’s only 5 cylinder Accord at 125K almost 5 years ago. Just put new tires on that thing too. It was a ticking time bomb with that 4 speed auto anyways. Lovely car otherwise.

  • avatar
    Ian Anderson

    I can’t claim anything in my family at that mileage, closest would be my dad’s ’89 S15 at 170K, the 4.3 puffs blue smoke at first start but it runs great and moves the truck decently despite the 3.08 rear axle. His prior ’84 S10 had a carbed 2.8 that he ran to 265K with a trans change (Isuzu four-speed) in there somewhere, then sold to a guy who drove it another 100K on that motor and another trans before the floors and body mounts rotted out. The ’89 will suffer the same fate in the next few years.

    The ’96 F-150 we had at work had 203K on its 4.9 and M5OD before the frame rotted out and the front passenger-side suspension basically fell off.

    And slightly off-topic, having used that road for almost three months to get to a jobsite in Plainfield, getting stuck in traffic at the merge coming south everyday at 4:PM for two hours somedays, how can anyone love the NJ Turnpike?

  • avatar
    Stinger

    At 205k miles on a 01 focus wagon. Bought used at 120k, have less than $5k into it total. Everything works, drives well, been very happy with it.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Funny, I am about to spend a few hundred dollars to take the route 66 from Mo to Cal and would spend almost as much to stay away from the pike, you see I lived in No. Jersey and as much as I wanted to get away as much as possible, I dreaded the stinky turnpike with its irregular road surfaces and the pot holes.

  • avatar
    musicalmcs8706

    My dad’s 98 Blazer has around 220k on it. He replaced the transmission at 150k, and a few other things but that keeps on going strong. I bet rust will get to it before anything else, and that’s going slowly, especially for rural West Michigan and he rarely parks in the garage.

    My mom’s old 98 V70 had around 217k on it when they traded it in for her 07 V50. Coolant was starting to leak into the oil and it was time to trade it in. A New or used was done on the car: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/new-or-used-maxx-ing-out-moms-next-wagon/

    Somehow one of her flute student’s mother ended up with the car. Sounds like the car had a hard time getting through the summer…

    My 2005 Impala has 85k on it and I’m hoping to get to 150k, if not 200k before it goes away. But with the large amounts of repairs done, and the transmission starting to walk towards the door, I don’t know how long it’ll last. I don’t want to be spending $500 often on a six year old car!

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    My diesel Benz has about 426,000 miles and change on it. It runs, passed inspection, but given the spike in diesel prices and my new hotness it’s been sitting for a couple months hooked to a trickle charger with an oilpan underneath to catch some phantom leakage. When it was my daily driver last year it ran about $2k/yr to maintain, and it has a new exhaust system with less than 5k miles on it (as well as some AC components), and it would kill me to have to sell it for scrap.

    I’m hoping to buy a house on a bit of property next year with well water, septic tank and no HOA, that would allow me to have a place to put it so I can part it out. The motor is actually fine, had a new timing chain at 400k, and would be worth at least $1k as a motor core charge ($6k for a reconditioned engine). I have in the back of my mind the notion to find a 350SDL with a blown motor and do a swap as the 350 is just a stroked version of my 300, but I doubt a good-condition rust-free 350 with blown motor is just sitting around out there..

    If I can’t figure out what to do with it by next summer, I’ll probably end up donating it to the radio station and drowning my sunk costs in cheap beer and BBQ.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Kohalmi

      I think a diesel Mercedes is the most durable car ever made. My mom had a 79 240D. Slow as molasses in January but the built quality was unbelievable!

    • 0 avatar

      you’d be surprised at how desirable these things are on ebay. five years ago, i put my 240d up for sale. the good: 80k, 4spd., no rust. the bad: manual trans was slipping and on the way out, it was 23 years old and the interior looked it, i was spending about $3k/yr. on small repairs. i put it on ebay with a $1200 buy it now and it was sold in six hours and was getting emails for 2 weeks from people hoping the buyer backed out. i could easily have sold it for double what i got but a deal is a deal.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    A friend who is an accountant has a customer with a used car lot. He had a 2001 Accord with 407,000 miles on it for $3,999. He also had a 2006 or 2007 Civic with 270,000 miles for closer to seven grand. I like Hondas, and I think the majority of the 4 cylinders(RDX excepted) they’ve built recently are as likely to last longer than the ones that came before as they are to not be as durable. It will be interesting to see if they can retain that durability while incorporating CAFE induced band aides like direct injection and CVTs. I’m not optimistic. Hope the dopes insisting that cars need this stuff enjoy paying for thousands of dollars in durability induced maintenance and depreciation expenses to save hypothetical dozens of dollars on fuel.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    On craigslist I’ve spotted several old wagons with almost a million miles, one was a Plymouth volareAspen and the other a Buick Electra. Both run but I think the Aspen was having a few issues.

    They were probably freeway flyers, one of the secrets to high mileage is free way traveling.

  • avatar
    texan01

    I’ve got 293,002 on my 1995 Explorer. I was there when it hit 100,000 while still under my brother-in-laws care. It hit 200,000 on LBJ freeway and Coit rd, in Dallas in 2006, and it will hit 300 sometime in the next 3 or 4 months.

    Hopefully it’ll hit that milestone on its next major road trip.

    It’s not been perfect, nor entirely trouble-free, but it’s not left me stranded, and other than the transmission dying at 225, it’s been cheap-cheap to keep going.

    My other high mileage car was a 1976 Chevelle it hit 199,558 before I junked it. Mom and dad bought it new, and I junked it in 2001 after it tried to kill me. That and it was rusted out, and in dire need of a good restoration and there was no parts available at the time to keep it.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Kohalmi

      I haven’t seen a 95 Explorer here in New Hampshire forever. They’ve rusted out years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        texan01

        Mine has nary a spot of rust on it. It still looks brand new if you discount the chips in the hood and the thinning clear coat on the roof. They are still all over the place here, selling for upwards of 4 grand for a 250,000+ mile example.

        I’ve replaced the leather seats with cloth, as I like cloth a whole lot better, and the leather had cracked and dried out despite my best attempts to keep it up. A/C still works flawlessly on the original “Black Death” prone FS-10 compressor. I think since the last oil change, I’ve spent 15 bucks for new wiper blades. Prior to that oil change it had to have the heads worked over at $400 for the whole job.

        It eats radiators and heater cores on a somewhat regular schedule. I’m hoping with getting the heads re-done since they were warped it cures or slows down the rate at which I’ve had to change them. The heater core is about the hardest thing to do to one, and it involves removing the dash.

        Cars do rust in Texas, but since we don’t salt the roads, body rot isn’t much of a problem. I can crawl under it and loosen any bolt without having to break the torch or penetrating oil out.

      • 0 avatar

        old explorers are all over new york city. the high ground clearance (potholes) and availability of parts seems to have made them popular with the outer borough street parking crowd. they’re cheap, tough and i expect to see them hang on for a long time. one common issue seems to be that the rear bumpers sag.

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        @Safe
        The Explorers are also short for the amount of room inside, making finding a space easier. They can also be driven up onto snowbanks and piles, instead of having to shovel out a space to park.

        Not being broken apart by potholes and fender benders matters more than mechanical reliability in NYC, as miles driven tend to be low.

  • avatar
    400 N

    I went 447,000 km on a 99 Honda Civic Dx with the original engine and clutch. Lots of work in the front end – wheel bearings, CV joints, dampers, and changed the timing belt every 100,000 km. If something was weak it got changed.

    A tree branch fell on it while parked on the driveway. Insurance company wrote it off, and I bought it back and cleared a $2,000 profit on the deal, then drove it for another 4 years. Just got $350 for it.

    They really don’t make them like that anymore.

    PS It sat out behind the barn for 2 years with fuel stabilizer in the tank. The engine looked dubious, covered in leaves. I put the jumper cables on it, and it fired right up.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I’ve got 236K+ miles on my 1992 Ford Ranger with the original engine and transmission. I have the 4.0L pushrod Cologne V6 with the Mazda sourced 5spd manny tranny and so far, both run just fine though I have a major oil leak now as I JUST put in 2Qts of oil in it and I had added half a bottle I had in it just before heading to Tacoma late last week for Christmas and it was not enough.

    I go through probably 2Qts every 2 weeks to a month now.

    Otherwise, it runs fine, no major smoking or anything like that and it needs all other fluids such as the coolant, the power steering and brake fluid need replacing and I think I have a slow leak in the power steering pump and perhaps the coolant too as the overflow bottle goes dry every so often.

    I bought this truck in early 2006 from a buddy of mine for $3000 and around 189K miiles and only had to have the master and slave clutch cylinders replaced, oil changes, 2 sets of new plugs and wires, new tires, new exhaust, new thermostat and some new shifter parts to rebuild the shifter and that’s been it. Thankfully the master and slave cylinders didn’t both go at once so it was doable.

    We were never able to determine if when the clutch was replaced in 2005 at the college where my buddy and I took it to to have the master clutch cylinder replaced (originally thinking it was the slave) that it should’ve been replaced when they did the clutch as the slave is inside the bell housing as he worked there at the time and had them do the clutch originally. It indeed was the master so that got replaced and another leak was fixed and it ran fine until late 2008 when the slave began to leak, finally letting all the fluid drain out one morning on my way into work early one sunny day in January of ’09.

    And that’s been it so far, I’ve not had to replace coil packs, starter, alternator, fuel pump or anything like that and had to have a new windshield put in last winter as a big ol’ crack that developed in the fall of ’06 got another crack sometime in the fall of ’10 that eventually met up with it in the lower left corner.

    Being that it was bought out here in the Pac NW, it’s a clean, rust free truck, just got lots o’ miles on it and I plan on replacing it early next year if at all possible for something smaller and more fuel efficient.

  • avatar
    JoelW

    This is kind of cheating since I *work* at a Honda dealership, but…

    I’ve seen a 1993 Del Sol as recently as about 3 months ago with 497,000+ on the odo.

    Also, we have a customer with a 2007 Odyssey with over 250,000 miles on it. Yes, that’s a 2007.

  • avatar
    Johnson Schwanz

    I’m the proud owner of two automobiles with over 200K miles. My 2002 Honda Accord Coupe V6 has 210K on the odometer. Aside from the obligatory transmission failure at 120K miles and the annual motor mounts installation, it’s been relatively trouble-free. However, my 1997 Honda Passport is on its death bed. As it currently sits in my driveway with 224K miles, it’s leaking oil from the valve cover, transmission fluid from gasket, power steering fluid from the pump, and it needs front-end work. Both vehicles were purchased brand new with less than 3 miles, each.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I bought a cheap 1987 K car with 75K on it. Paid very little because the original owner broke the timing belt and when it was replaced, it was off a tooth and as such, it had no power. Assuming he damaged the engine, he unloaded it to me. I knew the feeling of being off time in these cars, because on my first belt job I was off a bit. I put 253K miles on that car with the original trans and original engine. Trans was still in excellent shape with only one fluid change. The engine had piston slap that made it sound like a diesel at idle but it ran well until it blew a head gasket. Other than MAP sensors (which I kept in the car) this thing never broke down. I gave it good maintenance and it rewarded me with stellar service. It was never on a tow hook until it went for that final ride. A bit rusty in the rockers and underneath but still solid… I was saddened to see it go…the key to making any car last is never let it overheat…a death sentence to any aluminum engine…

  • avatar
    Pete Kohalmi

    My 1996 BMW 328i has 261k miles and shows no sign of slowing down. It’s never let me down in the twelve years I’ve owned it. It’s been maintained by a reputable BMW mechanic and costs me about $1000/yr for maintenance/repairs. The body’s getting rusty but the leather has NO TEARS at all.

    I discount folks saying they’ve got 300k on their 8 year old cars. Big deal. It’s just cruising on the highway with very little effort. Same for folks who live in CA or FL. It’s the New Hampshire winters here that really take a toll on a car. At -20F a car makes some strange noises!

    • 0 avatar
      fiasco

      My 03 Legacy is only at 158k, but I don’t think the car has EVER been south of the Indiana factory where it was built, and 95% of those miles have been in New Hampshire, where the state highway director once said of the bridges, “Drive fast and don’t look back!” It’s at least a mile of gravel road to my house, and the car has spent its share of time going to rallies in Quebec. It gets ridden hard and put away wet.

      I’ve recently made about $2,500 in suspension, brake and front end repairs/upgrades to keep this tractor going down the road straight; but I’m afraid the clutch and center differential aren’t happy with me hauling a ton and a half of firewood around on a trailer repeatedly…I have a feeling that with spring will come a drivetrain refreshing, then we’ll try go get another 100k out of it. Hopefully I can keep the tinworm at bay.

  • avatar
    K5ING

    My 2001 Golf GL TDI hit 400,000 miles on US287 near Belveue, Texas a couple of years ago. I bought it new, and I’m at 434,000 miles now. It still runs and drives like new and has never left me stranded. No major repairs either. Best car I’ve ever owned, hands down.

    YouTube video:
    http://youtu.be/ztMzdk2KI6A

    Blog about the car:
    http://www.caughtatthecurb.blogspot.com/2011/03/golf-with-insane-miles.html

  • avatar
    geggamoya

    Can’t say iäve broken any records, the longest i’ve driven from new is my -03 focus, that’s at 125.000km(~78k miles) and it’s currently at a workshop because very low compression in cylinder 1&2. Also the AC leaks and there’s rust. Will be sold as soon i get it repaired.

    My 740 has about 350.000km(217k miles) on it and everything apart form the fuel gauge works just fine. I suspect the auto trans will be the first major component to go. The instrument cluster has been replaced before i bought it and the “new” one says about 450.000km so i can’t be 100% about the mileage.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    My ’72 Chevy truck shows 44,000 miles on the clock. I wonder what the true first digit would be. It would not be a 1.
    P.S.- good post, Skor. (The Simon & Garfunkel one).

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    My 1999 aurora has 440k. It hasn’t been used for a long commute lately, so it will take quite a while to hit 500k. It had the head gaskets replaced and I assume the head bolt upgrade circa 2001. Ac compressor, alternator, water pump etc. Sure I spend maybe what’s it’s worth every year on repair ands maintenance, but I wouldn’t be able to replace it with something near as nice for anywhere near that.

  • avatar
    87CE 95PV Type Я

    Not to be rude David Holzman, but how does a 1999 Massachusetts native travel that far without any visble rust?

    Around 150K miles my family and I spent a few grand getting most of the Voyager’s rust fixed and as of now she has close to 166K miles at nearly 17.5 years of age. New York really irks me at times.

    Dad’s 87 Saab 900 went about 250K miles on the original drivetrain as did his 93 Legacy. However, the Legacy soldiered on to 343K miles with new bits until the strut tower finally broke and the axle was on the stops. Right now his 96 Legacy has close to 273K miles on the original drivetrain.

    A relative of ours has over 400K miles, but the engine and tranny are new as are various body panels, NYC is rough on a car.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    My record is 350K on an ’87 Volvo 744GLE. Bought it with 250K in ’95, put 100K on it in 2yrs, sold it to my now roommate’s Mother, she put another 75K on it or so over 5-6 years, gave it to him, he kept it until the tinworm made it unable to pass inspection around ’05 or so. That car even had its original, never touched other than fluid changes ZF 4hp22 ticking time bomb transmission. The engine had never been apart. The car is still sitting in roomie’s Mom’s garage, and has served as a parts donor for both of us over the years. Put a battery in it and it would probably fire right up and run.

    Here in Maine, RUST kills Japanese cars. The only ones that see high mileage are the ones with long commutes, as you rarely see one over 10 years old. I dunno what kills American cars, don’t care. European cars seem to just keep going and going until they get in an accident or an owner who can’t afford the upkeep anymore. Usually with at least a quarter million miles on the clock. My current ’93 Volvo 965 wintah beatah has 235K on it and runs like a swiss watch. No rust, and shiny paint too.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Around here (southcentral Pennsylvania), most old European cars are long gone. They simply become too trouble-prone for most people to keep running, although they do have superior rust resitance.

      The vehicles cars from the late 1980s and early 1990s still used as daily drivers are invariably Hondas, Toyotas, GM and Ford SUVs and pickups and some GM and Ford passenger cars (primarily the GM A-bodies, H-bodies and W-body Cutlass Supreme and Regal, and Ford Escort, Tempo, Taurus, Lincoln Town Car and Fox-body Mustang).

      My wife is from western Pennsylvania, which has a harsher winter climate and worse roads than around here. You’ll look long and hard for any European or Japanese cars from that time in daily use. Mostly it is GM and Ford trucks and SUVs, along with the GM and Ford cars I mentioned above.

      • 0 avatar
        Pete Kohalmi

        That’s surprising. Here in New England there are tons of old VWs, Volvos, Saabs, Benzes still out there day after day, winter after winter soldiering on.

        Also see a lot of old Chevy trucks. Not so many Fords or Dodges.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I really think there are two reasons why we see so many old European cars in New England – the first is simply that New Englanders BUY more European cars per capita than anywhere else in the US. The region is more like Europe than any where else in the US in terms of road conditions and population density, climate, etc.

        Second is because there are soooo many European cars, there are a TON of garages that specialize in them. Thus there is competition that keeps the repair prices lower. There are AT LEAST four Saab specialists in Portland Maine, which is a metro area of only 200K people, for example. There are at least as many Volvo specialists. Within 30 miles of me there are two BMW specialists that have all of the factory computer equipment for late model BMWs. Countless VW shops. It is not like the middle of the country where you might have to travel 200 miles to get your Volvo looked at.

        The superior rust resistance is certainly part of it too. Here in Maine, Japanese cars, with the exception of Subarus, just have never been all that popular because historically they just rotted away. Subarus were the exception because they were cheap and just so darned good in the snow. And we have lots of Subaru specialists around too. But I can’t think of any Honda or Toyota indy specialists, they just end up getting worked on at the dealer or non-specialist garages. And our local Honda dealer has nothing at all on the BMW dealer when it comes to prices. My buddy with the V6 Accord got bent over for $2500 for an (aftermarket!) exhaust system and rotten brake lines for inspection this year. Rotten brake lines on a merely 10yo car is just sad.

      • 0 avatar
        87CE 95PV Type Я

        Pennsylvania flunks your vehicle during inspection if there is a rust hole bigger than a quarter, but New York does not. That is why a friend’s 1970-1972 Dart failed inspection where they lived outside Philly and they were not pleased, but then again, this was around 2002. They told me if they knew how long the Dart would last they would have kept up with the rust. Oh yea, New Yorkers like my friends can sometimes buy PA cars off people due to flunking from rust and either fix it to flip it for a profit or drive it themselves. Sometimes NY and PA cars even get sent to Dixie where there are no inspections and rust for the most part.

        Dad’s 93 Legacy had 343K miles on the body driving from Sayre, PA area to Syracuse, NY for years and you could throw a cat through it by 2006-2008, but it passed everytime. One of the rear strut towers finally broke in a parking lot. My 95 Voyager was pretty bad as well, but driving just 50 miles to the south you can find more and more of them that look pretty good. I drove it to Florida and a few people along the way were surprised at how rusty it was, but I think they were also surprised I drove it that far. A few trucks around here are broke back and I am amazed they are still allowed on the road and these trucks are only from the late 1980s to mid 1990s.

  • avatar
    Tessai

    I can’t claim to have put the high mileage on myself, but I did own a ’90 Civic Hatchback (DX)with a 5-speed* that hit ~280k before I donated it to charity. I needed a fuel-efficient commuter and found the car with 235k on it for $900 on Craigslist, I snatched it up. A year later a friend borrowed it to haul wheels to get race tires mounted for his miata, loaning me said miata for the day. I fell in love with that car, he forgot to set the parking brake and let my car roll into a Jeep Cherokee (bent the cherokee’s license plate, dented my hood almost to the windshield) and it was all the excuse I needed to ditch the car and get a miata of my own.

    In hindsight I should have kept the car and bought the miata anyway, but I had no use for effectively two small 4cyl two seat daily drivers. The Civic technically had rear seats but I wasn’t about to subject anyone to them, I’m not that cruel. I still miss that car sometimes.

    *As far as I can tell, the DX trim was supposed to come with a 4-speed stick, not a 5-speed. I had a guage cluster without a tachometer, and no passenger-side rearview mirror, so I know I had a DX on my hands. How it got the better trans without any of the other options I’ll never know. Car was purchased from the original owner who used it as a highway commuter, and everything else was factory, so I doubt it was the result of an enthusiast swap.

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      Tessai,

      Are you sure your Civic was truly a DX? I ask as I had the 1983 Civic hatch and it WAS a DX but I keep thinking mine had a tach, probably not since Wikipedia says the 1990 DX’s don’t so probably not for mine but it’s been years since I’ve had it so memory is now fuzzy. It didn’t come with a right hand mirror but had the 5spd manual though along with the rear wiper/washer and electric defroster (some accounts say my vintage DX didn’t get those, but mine did).

      It also had no power steering either, not standard in those years either but it had intermittent wipers, dealer installed (I think) AC and a factory supplied AM/FM mono radio.

      Only the base hatchback had the 4spd manual and also, cloth inserts were standard on the DX grade cars, the base gets all vinyl upholstery only. By 1990, power steering was standard on the DX hatchbacks though the base car did not.

      The DX was one step down from the “S” trim that made its debut in 1983 with a slightly more powerful motor and contained a tach and a right side mirror if I’m not mistaken, otherwise, it’s got all that the DX had but add in a firmer suspension and more sportier trim bits to differentiate it from the lesser trim.

      So unless your car’s tranny’s been swapped out at one point, it should’ve had the 5spd in it to start with if truly a DX grade hatchback.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I love the New Jersey Turnpike

    That sounds masochistic. What an ugly hunk of tarmac that is. It does work well for the Sopranos intro and Being John Malkovich, but otherwise, you can have it.

    Speaking of masochism, I had a Nissan that just hit 200,000 before I gave it away (although that mileage is a bit of a guess, because the odometer froze up at the 199k mark somewhere close to the end).

    But it was running far from gracefully by the time that it reached the end, despite my efforts to maintain it well from the day that I had bought it new. For all intents and purposes, it ran fine for about the first 150,000 miles or so, but it was running on fumes and Bandaids during its final days. Lesson learned: there was a reason why the comparable Toyotas and Hondas cost more and depreciated less.

  • avatar
    AKRonald

    My first car was a ’58 Beetle purchased in Berkeley in 1982. Still had the 6 volt lights. I have no idea how many miles were on the 99,999 odometer, but suspect it had enough experiences in the 60s and 70s to count for something. It got me through winter snow storms with a can of spray on windshield deicer sprayed on while driving with my arm out the driver’s window (advantage of vertical windshield with no dashboard).
    I replaced it in 1984 with a 81 Toyota Starlet 1300 cc 5 speed with 69,000 miles for which I paid $3000. I ran it up to 165 K with only a U-joint replacement. When the Air Force sent me overseas in 1991, I gave it to my kid brother who eventually (around 200K) needed to replace the transmission with one from a junkyard. He continued driving it 80 mph until after he had gotten a job working for Ford and used his employee discount to purchase a Mercury Tracer. Before the Tracer arrived, he drove from Atlanta to New England, losing 3rd gear on the way north. The head gasket had been leaking for a couple months, turning the radiator fluid milky. It blew on the off-ramp to his house in Atlanta, and he was able to coast it into his apartment parking lot with an estimated 270 K miles (the odometer gearing in the replacement transmission wasn’t the same as the original). The Tracer was waiting at Ford for him to pick up the next day.
    We now have a 2000 Grand Caravan with 152,000. Electronic control unit needed replacing, as did the plugged up catalytic convertor. Only real problem is that it is AWD and there is a seal which went out at 80,000 and 140,000 resulting in $3.000 repair each time. When I change the oil filter 5000 miles after an oil change (every 10,000), it takes less than a quart to fill the filter and top up the crank-case. It has pulled a pop top trailer many of its miles (Take that Consumer Reports).

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The most miles I’ve pounded into a car is 186K miles into a 89 Ford Probe LX 5-speed; I was the original owner and did that in about 4-1/2 years. I know for a fact the car when well over 200K miles with the next owner.

    I got 160K miles out of a 1998 SWB Pontiac Trans Sport as the third owner before the infamous head gaskets started to go. 160K miles isn’t all that impressive, 160K miles in a Gen 1.5 GM U-Body sure is though!

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    210,000 on a 1987 Jeep Cherokee Pioneer. Original 4.0 inline 6-cylinder, 4X4 automatic. Neither uses or leaks oil.

    Daily driver for my 26 year old daughter. She drives a lot and loves the Jeep.

    I use Mobil 1 and a Wix filter. I expect to get at least 300,000 miles out of this engine before rebuild. And yes, I will rebuild it.

    I will be able to put Antique tags on it in a couple of days.

  • avatar
    volvogeek

    At one time I had 3 volvos with over 300k on the clock. ’86 245 with exactly 300k, ’85 245 with 312k, and a ’97 855 with 331k. It’s all about the maintenance, folks. Don’t let it get away from you, and your car will last a LONG time.

    And you must not have searched for Irv too hard, he has a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1006400590&ref=ts

    Check out the Irv-O-Meter: http://vcoa.org/-resources/irv-o-meter

    For those interested in how GOOD a well-maintained, 600k car can look, check out Badger: http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=234240

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Kohalmi

      Yeah , Volvos are very rugged too. Probably second only to a Mercedes diesel. We still have lots of old Volvos and Saabs around here. They’re just so boring to drive though. No passion in them.

  • avatar
    JCraig

    I have to say this car has aged much better than the 2002 626 in my family with 125k miles. I don’t know how much of that has to do with the Florida heat but even the gauge needles are curved now.

    SN: That era of 626 was the absolute low point in Mazda’s history, at least in my lifetime.

  • avatar
    dts187

    -WARNING-: Nostalgic Rambling Below

    My first vehicle was a 1988 Dodge Dakota with the 3.9 V6. My oldest brother got it in 1994 when my dad purchased it from Ohio Edison (former meter reader truck) with a little under 100k on the clock. My oldest brother drove it until 1998 and it was parked in our driveway when he bought a new Jeep. At that point I believe it had 170-180k. It sat in the driveway seeing sparse use until 2001 when the next eldest got his license. Two years pass, I get my license and The Beast gets handed to me just shy of 200k. I drove the snot out of this thing for the next two years. Road trips, impromptu off-road excursions, pulling a trailer full of half-stacks/PA gear, and occasional (frequent) donuts and attempted power slides were the norm. The Beast handled it all with dignity. She showed her age (well over 240k) but drove like a dream. Only thing this truck ever needed (aside from routine maintenance) was a wheel bearing.

    As much as I loved The Beast, the average teenage girl was apprehensive about stepping inside and going for a ride. Rather than let my emerging love life suffer, I saved some money, sold The Beast for $1200, and bought a 98 Dakota RT with 88k for 7k. The new truck looked great (still love the looks of the 2nd gen Dakotas), had tons of torque, and didn’t look like the scene of a potential date rape. But two oil pumps and a transmission (automatic) later I realized what a mistake I made. When the engine went I put the truck on eBay as-is.

    To this day when I head back to my parents’ I’ll occasionally see my old blue Dodge Dakota being driven by the guy I sold it to. I wonder how many miles it has? What repairs it’s needed? And most importantly: How much does he want for it?

  • avatar
    brettc

    I have a 2002 Golf TDI that’s just under 204000 miles at the moment. I’ve only owned it for about 4000 miles. I had an ’85 Jetta diesel with about 350000 kms on it before I got rid of it. It was still running fine at 350000 too.

    There’s a guy on the TDI forums with a 2003 Jetta that just passed 700000 miles. http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=339560

    I have a Scangauge-E in my car. It seems to be fairly accurate for the economy numbers. I filled up last night and it guessed that I put 14.5 gallons in but I put 14.4 in so it was only off a little bit.

  • avatar
    passive

    Not my car, but the guy who drives me to the airport has a 2004 Accord with pretty close to 1,100,000 kms(680,000 miles) on it.
    He babies it, and both the (leather) interior and driving experience is as good as any Honda I’ve ever been in. He’s spent less on big maintenance items in the entire lifetime of the car then I have in the 3 years and 100,000 kms I’ve owned my Oddysey. I think his timing belt made it to 850,000 kms.

  • avatar
    Gary Numan

    Great reader comments and examples tied to this article.

    I’m the original owner of a 2000 Accord EX V6 Sedan and am religious about the maintenance and care of the car. It only has 106k miles and is simply the best overall car I’ve ever owned (my career has been in the auto industry and my father owned a dealership).

    My “old” Accord still runs and drives like new and it is understandable to witness so many examples of these Accords to gather the miles and years of use. To date, the only “failures” my Accord has experienced is 2 batteries and one alternator (it had the Delphi unit). It will be interesting to see if I will encounter the known transmission problem to this particular model.

    After all these years, I must confess how impressed I am by the quality of the car, the “feel” of the controls and the chassis dynamics.

    As you can guess, I’m not very compelled to let this one go and I’m not finding the recent Accord to my liking due to the larger size and less than desireable styling.

  • avatar
    bpscarguy

    All of my family gets high mileage out of their cars. Used to be 100K was the mark, but now its at least 200K.
    Here’s the list:
    My 1994 BMW 318i conv automatic – 256,000 miles and still going strong and absolutely solid as a rock(though now its my fun weekend car)
    My 2002 Infiniti I35 – 116,000 miles and I expect to hit at least 200K
    My dad has a 2001 BMW 740i that is at 284,000 miles
    My mom has a 1995 Buick Regal that has 197,000 miles (although she is now starting to shop for a new crossover suv)
    I have an aunt who has 203,000 miles on her 2002 Chrysler Town & Country minivan.
    My dad had a 1990 Lincoln Town Car that went 275,000 miles

  • avatar
    nickeled&dimed

    The first car I ever owned was a 1987 Volvo 740 Turbo. I bought it at auction for $500 in 2001 with 258,000 miles, and sold it 3 years later for $475 with 285,000 miles. Everything original to my knowledge. Turbo didn’t blow up because the wastegate was close to falling off, which prevented it from spooling up much.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I had a 1986 Audi 5000 CS Turbo AWD that somehow managed to see 239,000 miles. I bought it with just over 98,000 miles, and put over 100,000 miles on it between the ages of 16 and 21. My parents soon bought me a ’96 Olds Acheiva from an old lady so I could have a working car at all times. I still miss that Audi. It was never a cheap car to fix, and the electrical gremlins never ceased. I sold the parts to other masochists that could afford to fight the evil German wiring harness of doom. RIP Audi 5000.

    • 0 avatar
      Mrb00st

      Ahh, Typ44′s. Mechanically robust for all the greasy rotating bits.

      Everything else? Nooooooope.

      My friend had an 87 5k CS-Q “Olympic Edition” – god I loved that car, but it was a right nightmare.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Exactly. I always had a back up plan for when the windows diecided to stay down or when the sunroof decided to stay open. I never went through a drive-thru because the 5000 would overheat by the time Burger King microwaved my Whopper. Nothing like having to turn the heat on in the summer with all the windows down and sunroof open. The 5KTQ will also make you hate the words alternator and distributor cap. I was the first of my friends to drive, so those are insignificant facts to 16 year olds. The car always looked good and always loved going 80+ mph.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    As several people above have pointed out, several things help a car rack up miles

    _1 Many mile per year: cars wear out from both miles and simply from time. Racking up 40-50,000 miles per year can get about any car to 200k because things don’t have time to age.

    _2 Highway Miles: related to #1 because often high miles per year are on freeway. Engine wear is greatest in first few minutes after starting, and long trips don’t wear out brakes, transmission shifting etc.

    _3 Weather: extreme hot or cold or both.

    Funny, when I bought new car I had choice between ’99 Accord (like author’s) or ’99 Ford Contour. I chose contour because I could get it so cheap, about 10,000$ with rebates etc. This was bare bones model with manual tranny and 4-cyl.

    This car just turned 100k because I live close to work and use minivan as family hauler. It has done well in extreme Arizona heat, parked outside at work for 12 summers in full sun in megahot parking lot. I did have fuel pump go bad. Other than that no major problem, and paint looks amazingly good considering extreme “heat lamp” treatment in open parking.

    On other hand my 2004 Toyota Sienna Minivan has had several $$ repairs (steering rack ~$1200, AC ~ 1200). Also the dashboard is cracking and will likely rot away, this would cost $$$$ to fix. This from a car that is garaged 95% of time.

  • avatar
    crm114

    My 99 Accord 5 speed is coming up on 213k. The first 150k were mostly highway, but since then it’s been beaten on like a rented mule delivering pizzas in downtown Minneapolis.

  • avatar
    pdog

    My MkIII Jetta just turned 200K miles last week. Still on the original 2.slow and 5-speed, although the clutch was redone around 100K. Engine is still peppy with no sign of oil consumption. Transmission has also held up well. And the ride is like new ever since I refreshed the suspension with new struts/bushings/mounts. I just drove it on an 800 mile trip with no problems, getting 34 mpg at 70-80 mph the whole way.

    The only issues are a broken cupholder and intermittent cruise control function. Miraculously, even the sunroof still operates.

    I know my experience is anecdotal and that the data indicate these cars were less reliable, but I really wonder whether other owners are beating on or neglecting their cars. I do keep up on the maintenance though, making sure belt changes happen on time, making sure the oil is changed every 5K miles or so, and replacing things if they fail. Having an honest independent VW mechanic has also been very helpful. And I don’t have the dreaded auto tranny or power windows, so that simplifies things.

    I was thinking about getting a newer VW, but the newer ones seem so much heavier and more complex. Maybe now that the 2.slow is back I can upgrade.

  • avatar
    otaku

    Back in 1992 I bought a slightly used ’91 Ford Escort GT (4-speed auto/1.8L Mazda engine) with about 21k miles on it for $7,500. I babied it for a few years, then in 1998 when I was looking to trade up, my brother took it off my hands for $3,000. He was not nearly as kind to it, but it ran on the original engine and tranny until a little over 200k miles. He used it mostly for commuting to and from work on the highway, spending money only on basic preventive maintenance. It held up pretty well for him over the years and dealt with some of the worst winters New England had to offer, all while still averaging right around thirty miles per gallon. He finally traded it in on a Hyundai Accent back in 2007, mostly because it would no longer pass a state inspection.

    Funny thing. I recently accompanied a friend to a Honda dealership and we took a Fit for a test drive. I must admit, I have absolutley no idea why they receive so much praise. The engine was gutless, the automatic shifted rough and constantly hunted between gears. The stiff suspension tuning made it feel like we were riding on its axles, as we slammed over every bump in the road and listened to the structure shake and rattle all over the place.

    While my old Escort GT hatchback was certainly a bit rough around the edges, I couldn’t help but think that it would’ve run circles around the Honda. I mean, it offered more power, better handling from an actual four wheel independent suspension, rear disc brakes, more comfort and less noise. I’m not sure whether the Fit has more cargo area, but the Escort’s hatch could handle whatever we needed to lug around without any problems (including an old school style, low-definition, big ass 32 inch glass tube Sony TV). Just sayin’

  • avatar
    Andy D

    A guy I know from my 528e fixation, drives a 1985 535i 120 miles a day. The car has been re-fendered in non matching fenders. It doesnt matter since the original clear coat failed a decade ago. He is closing in rapidly on 500k miles. The deciding factor will be tinworm. It is only his 2nd car. We met in ’03 at a car meet in NC.

  • avatar
    Alex the guy with the Accord Coupe

    279k on my 2000 Accord Coupe EX-V6. Original slushbox. Driver’s seat replaced twice. Four new motor mounts. Driver’s side window gear replaced. Heater core replaced. Ignition switch replaced.

    Other than the shredding of alternators, which appears to be taken care of, this has been the perfect car. Paid off for 2.5 years now (bought used in 2004 at 65k miles) on a six-year note. Love it.

  • avatar

    1973 Nova with 250cid I6 and Powerglide: euthanized at 330,000 after the last brake gave out. Made money off it, selling the autobox.

    1986 F-150, 302cid V8 and four-speed: traded 3 years ago on current 94 F-150, presumably still turning the odo. Had 298,000 and was running great when I made the trade.

  • avatar
    fvfvsix

    I have a relative who is unnaturally attached to his 86 S-10 blazer. Over the years, he’s taken to replacing the motor/tranny rather than rebuilding. IIRC, he’s on his fourth motor/tranny with about 500,000 miles on the frame. Yes, it looks like crap… but I’m amazed at how the body & frame are still driveable after all those miles, though.

    His other car is a 1980 Camaro berlinetta. Also looks like crap, but I suspect it has around 600K on it (probably its sixth or seventh motor, though).


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