By on June 17, 2011

Remember the million mile Accord? How about the other million mile Accord? What about the 1.3 million mile Town Car? Or, most amazingly, the half-million-mile Fiat?

Honda has a new million-mile contender coming up, and this time they are using Facebook to get their fanbase involved. With this arrival of a third well-publicized long distance voyager, however, is Honda unwittingly bringing attention to a very inconvenient truth?

Sometimes it just all comes together. Think of the 1959 Gibson Les Paul, the 1969 Mets, or The Empire Strikes Back. With the announcement of “Joe”, the man who is expected to reach the million-mile mark with his 1990 Accord sedan in September, it is becoming increasingly clear that the fourth-generation Honda Accord was the company’s sunburst ’59. Of the four Internet-documented million-milers out there, three are fourth-generation Accords, while the fouth is a 1994, which is the first year of the fifth generation.

The first million-mile fourth-gen appeared in 2002, which makes one wonder why there were no million-mile third-gens to show up in previous years, or any million-mile sixth-gens starting in 2007. Part of it may simply be that million-mile owners are rare enough to throw any attempt at True-Delta-izing this phenomenon into disarray… but as my dear old mom used to say, “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.”

The fourth-generation Accord also benefited from social forces outside its control. It was still a reasonably-sized car with a relatively unstressed engine, very few oddball electronic features, and a high percentage of stick-shifts sold during its production run. The current Accord makes almost twice the power of the fourth-gen from an engine just 1.3 times the size, has a vastly more complex valvetrain, is loaded to the gills with LCD panels and common bus networks, and is mostly fitted with an automatic transmission which, to put it mildly, is not considered to be a million-mile item.

It’s worth noting, as well, that today’s market is far more price-sensitive. The domestics manufacturers used to do Honda the ridiculous courtesy of pricing garbage like the Citation and Celebrity above the Accord. Today, Hyundai and Kia attack from underneath with 100,000-mile warranties and the very best in psuedo-German styling.

Honda’s use of “Joe” and his 1990 Accord in social media may end up having the same effect as Cadillac’s decision to use a red ’59 convertible a few years ago: reminding the suckers out there how good the product used to be. Or it could help the company regain the high ground among the Consumer Reports set… at least until somebody out there puts a million miles on an ’05 Sonata, right?

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77 Comments on “Again With The Million Mile Accords...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I think Jack has put his finger firmly on the issue.

    BTW I never had a dear old mom like that. (Says the man who is spending 16 days with his mother in the Buckeye State.)

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    To get a new gen Accord to a million miles will probably involve 10-11 transmission rebuilds numerous engine repairs and electrical component replacements.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    My ’91 Accord LX was indefatigable; purchased for $4K in 2003 with a scant 130K miles. It was taken from me, long before it was meant to go , by a careless elderly woman (also in an Accord) of about 80 who turned left into oncoming traffic without looking. I miss that car, especially because they simply do not make them like that anymore.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Jack nailed it on this one. That vintage Accord is my favorite of all of them for the reasons mentioned.

    The early 90s are most certainly the golden years of the Japanese cars. Several of my mechanic friends agree (and still own and drive vehicles from this era).

    Cars now are made to be used like we do our computers – you buy one new, drive it for 4-5 years, and dump it for a new one before anything major goes wrong. And that’s the way that the car manufacturers (foreign and domestic, whatever those titles mean anymore) want it.

    Now, if I could just find that one-owner, always-garaged 1992 LS400 with under 100K miles on it . . .

  • avatar
    twotone

    I’d drive a million miles in that car, but would not want to put 100 miles on those wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I thought something along the same lines. That car is tacky, not as tacky as many, but tacky nonetheless.

      On a secondary note, does that car look like it’s bow-legged? The wheels appear to flare out at the bottom.

  • avatar
    rtfact32

    I’ve got an ’04 Element that I have no doubt can see at least half a million…of course it has the five speed (I think at around 200k it’s going to get the 6-speed swap that I’ve read about…)

    I also am the dubious former owner of an ’94 Accord…who knew that Honda reliability didn’t extend to four-speed autos? We drove that home from RI to NY one Christmas. Parked it out back when we got home late on a Friday night. My father went to warm it up the next day to change the oil.

    He came charging back into the house, yelling at me “How the hell did you drive that seven hours in first gear? Are you stupid?” I looked at him blankly, having no clue what he was talking about. i swore up and down that it drove just fine…a quick test drive confirmed yup, it was never going to shift out of first again. I finally convinced him that the transmission had grenaded itself…

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      We have an 03 Element that I doubt will be worth a crap at 150k. We love the car for its utility but at 90k its not much to brag about as far as integrity and robustness. I wont get into the details but its the last Honda we will own for a very long time.

      • 0 avatar
        rtfact32

        Auto or five-speed?

        I’m actually really pleased with the entire package. Ours is the FWD, base mode without much in the way to go wrong. In fact, I just drove it home to my parents a few weekends ago, climbed out after the 6+ hour drive, and thought, that I STILL love that car.

        We camp in it, haul the bikes, furniture, etc. It’s juts the perfect size between a small SUV and a large car. Again, the only thing that really needs changing is gearing to drop the rev’s down to reasonable range at highway speeds. Oh and cruise…please!

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I had an automatic 1991 Accord which I donated in 2010. One problem was after using sport mode, the transmission would get stuck in 3rd gear a few days later. I eventually figured out that if I disconnect the battery and reconnected it (thus rebooting the transmission cpu), I got all my gears back. It’s a known problem and would cost about $800 to replace the transmission chip.

      It was a great car.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      rtfact32- Ours is auto and the transmission works fine. Its the rest of the car that’s become disappointing. I’m with you on loving the utility and design, nothing beats it for space/economy. At 90k ours has a decent laundry list of failures, door lock, door window,seat upholstery cracking, random plastic parts flying around the interior, eats struts, power steering pump whine, wheel lugs snapped off, rust, maintenance light on and its hard to work on as a DYI’er. As I said we love the car and wish it inspired more confidence to go the long haul but doubt it will. We even considered the small camper top for it for family trips. On the positive side Elements have unbelievable resale value. Ours is still worth nearly 10k!

      • 0 avatar
        rtfact32

        We’ve had an annoying squeak that pops up from the clutch pedal (we just say she’s talking to us)…there are two random plastic pieces that came with he car when we bought it used that to this day I have NO idea where they go. The drivers seat is starting to get some cracks on the outside bolster…but other than that and routine maintenance, it has been trouble free. It’s funny you should say you wish it inspired more confidence as a long haul car, it is exactly what we expect of it. My Focus, an ’01, is our around town car anymore.

  • avatar
    jj99

    The concept prevalent in Detroit that the quality, reliability, and durability of Toyota and Honda vehicles has declined is absolute and total fiction.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      And the millions of recalls by toyota were just for fun, they wanted the dealers’ mechanics to get some exercise?

      I bought a 2002 camry based soley on extensize riding time in one of my co-workers previous generation one, which was a great car, the 2002 was a cost-cutting special, from the exterior styling, to the crappy interior, the outside door handle breaking off twice (glad wasn’t being chased by a pit bull) to the three times that the speed sensor failed and my car downshifted from 5th to 2nd while doing 70-75(fun) all with-in 80,000 miles. (Question, anyone buy a camry during that time period? Did the dealer tell you atleast twice not to turn the over-drive off?)

      Face it, the japanese have become the high cost producers now, and they sure do seem to be following the same game plan that detroit did (B.L. “See how much you can cut before the customers start to bitch”) and the result are vehicles that are becoming less and less competative and companies living off reputation.

      And yes we all know you’re a troll, so your response will be….

      But reality is reality

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        Well, at least Toyota recalled the millions based on 1 fatal accident, while Ford refused to recall the Exploder (with cause 200+ deaths) for as long as legally possible.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        Well, it sounds like you have bad luck or a lemon to be honest, since you’re having that many problems all on the same car. My family has two Gen 5’s and the only thing that’s gone wrong is shortly after purchasing when I realized the brake light switch wasn’t positioned properly, and then very recently when I got a CEL because the gas cap didn’t seal as easily anymore (which I solved by tightening the gas cap more carefully after fills). The interior is admittedly not as nice as the 4th gen Camry but overall the 5th gen actually has great reliability if you look at actual statistics.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      Two myths in the automotive world – All Japanese cars are bombproof and all German cars are junk.

      • 0 avatar
        Southerner

        Yeah— to half of that, anyway. So often I read here and elsewhere that the German cars lag significantly in reliability. But seldom, it seems, do the writers elaborate, or specify the fault(s).

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The question is how many engines, transmissions, ect were needed to get that far.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Three midsized cars from that era represent the trifecta of longevity.

    Toyota Camry (1992 – 1996)
    Honda Accord (1990 – 1993)
    Volvo 240 (1988 – 1993)

    It was a rare time when everything these manufacturers made was two clicks ahead of the competition. Durability, interior quality, longevity… none of their direct competitors came even close.

    I can wax eloquently about the Carmy’s triple sealed door mouldings, the quality of the steel all three of these companies used vis-a-vis their competitors, and Volvo’s seven layers of paint for all their models (compared to the two to three for domestics models).

    But that was then and this is now. Today the Camry and Accord have serious reliability issues and Volvo is barely a marketable brand thanks in part to savage decontenting.

    The ghost of tomorrow is no longer with us today. Except for Joe’s old Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      What kind of relibility issues plague the Accord and Camry…I’m curious.

      And does ANY manufacturer make an automatic transmission that can last 1 million miles?

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @geeber: The last time I had a tranny rebuilt (about 18 years ago), the crusty old mechanic told me that he had been working on transmissions since the 50’s, and that they have done nothing but gotten weaker and weaker during that time.

        Judging by the numerous anecdotal and evidential examples we’ve seen over the last 20 years, I’d say the old SOB was right.

        I’m putting my faith in lots of oil and filter changes for my 6 speed automatic, I’m hoping I’m right…

      • 0 avatar
        67dodgeman

        Anecdotal, but …
        I bought my wife the 2007 Camry (in early 2006) and it’s now sitting at 60,000 miles. Been to the dealership twice for brake work (rotors warp and then the cars shudders under mild braking). Two water pump replacements due to leaking coolant. It’s on it’s third battery so far. Recalls were pretty much a non-event for us, no problems and they did the work during a normal service schedule.

        My opinion, brakes, batteries, and water pumps are basic issues that should be 100% reliable and the only time they’re not is when the manufacturer is cutting costs. It’s not rocket science, and I’d readily pay more for quality components in those areas instead of that stupid pinstripe package crap.

      • 0 avatar
        jj99

        67dodgeman, I know of a 2007 Camry. 4 cylinder. 88,000 miles. Repairs: Recently, rear brake pads. That is it. Current market value = 10K ( recently offered as a trade in ). Purchased new = 17K. Car never had a warranty claim. Steering and suspension are solid. I bet it will make 200K with few problems. Almost forgot … it just started it’s third set of tires.

      • 0 avatar
        Dynasty

        What kind of auto tranny can last a million miles?

        Maybe not a million, but probably the most robust auto trannies ever to come off the line would be a Turbo 400 or the lowly 2 speed Powerglide.

        I had a big block riviera with a TH400 with over 175K miles on it (when I sold it) and the transmission ran like brand new. But when I got the car, the fluid in the transmission looked 30 years old. I doubt it was ever rebuilt.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        I don’t know if any manufacturer *does* make an automatic that will run 1MM miles, but it looks like there is at least one that *did*:

        “Joseph Vaillancourt’s 1963 Plymouth Fury, driven as a cab since the mid-1960s, reached 2,609,698 km (1,621,591 miles), when it was struck and totalled by a truck.

        The [TorqueFlite] tranny, by 1991, had only been opened once.”
        source: http://www.allpar.com/old/high-miles/vaillancourt.php

        Mind you, using a ’60s Fury to draw conclusions about the long term durability of an ’80s Reliant is just as pointless as using the durability of a ’90s Accord to draw conclusions about the current Accord.

        As the mutual fund salesmen like to say “Past performance is no guarantee of future results”…

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Penguinboy, Yup the 727 is one of the best slush boxes ever made, Ford’s C6 is similarly as durable, both are a big cut above every other car/light truck transmission ever made. The turbo 400 comes in a distant 3rd place just ahead of the TH350.

      • 0 avatar
        danwat1234

        I believe that million mile Joe’s Accord has an automatic transmission!

      • 0 avatar
        danwat1234

        I believe that million mile Joe’s Accord has an automatic transmission!

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      90-93 Accord does not belong with that bunch. Quality of the steel and paint was low, the clear coat failed even worse than the GM and Ford vehicles of the era and they rusted like crazy from the inside out, one nick in that thin cheap paint and it didn’t take long till it spread way under the paint around it. Interior quality was horrid the fabric they used on the seats and door panels was a dirt magnet and just couldn’t be cleaned. The seats were horrible by the time they were 6-8 years old most owners had placed a small pillow at the junction of the base and back, so the bottom of the seat back didn’t kill your tail bone. The automatic transmissions were crap.

      • 0 avatar
        ciddyguy

        I don’t know, I tried to buy my best friend’s then 1991 EX Accord wagon and it looked fantastic still and this was in 2004 and he’d gotten it second hand about 3 years or so earlier.

        He wishes he’d kept it, but oh well as he sold it anyway when I could not get a loan at the time.

        That being said, the inside and outside looked very good for the miles it had, well over 150K if I recall.

        True, cars out here in Seattle don’t rust like they do in the snow belt.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I don’t know I’m in Seattle and I see a fair amount of rusty Honds. Take a closer look and you’ll see the rust creeping out of the windows and wheel wells.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        You dont see many older Hondas around here because of one thing…RUST. Many models, especially Hondas and Mazdas start to show rust around the 8 year mark. Who wants to keep driving a car that is dissintegrating? The worst are the Cheyy trucks and 90’s GMs that have the paint completely worn away on all of the top surfaces.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        I’m on the Eastside (425 area code) and it’s rare to see any rusty car. Even Datsun 280ZXs from the Malaise Era don’t seem to rust here.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      steven lang, I can see it in my crystal ball. June 17th, 2021. The TTAC website. All the Detroiters will be saying how Hondas and Toyotas from the 2010s were the pinnacle of durability, quality, and reliability, but the 2020 models have durability and reliability problems, and how Detroit has FINALLY caught up.

      Other posters will state their 2011 Camry, with only 60,000 miles needed multiple water pumps, batteries, and roters.

      The same thing will happen in 2031, 2041, ….

      • 0 avatar

        You don’t have to be a Detroit fanboi to recognize that the days of fat engineering at Toyota are over. You don’t have to live in Michigan to recognize that Honda’s lost some mojo.

      • 0 avatar
        Roundel

        You’re right!
        Steven has NO IDEA what he’s talking… how could someone who is around used cars all actually be right about how the massive decontenting has affected Toyota quality… blasphemy I say!
        *DING* Hark, another batch of Kool Aid is done, hurry off now and get some!

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @roundel….FYI …jj99 dwells under a bridge,and Kool Aid just is not part of a Trolls diet. Its folks like us,that can’t resist the urge to feed them that keep them sustained.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Those years of Honda and Toyotas may last a lont time in Atlanta, but they rusted away years ago in Maine. The Volvo keep soldiering on however.

      I picked up a ’95 Volvo 945 that had spent it’s whole life in New England to use as an iterim beater recently. 213K, no rust at all, still looks nice. I fully expect it will last another 213K if I want to keep it that long.

      My buddies ’02 Accord has had 3 transmissions in its 160K, just had all the fuel and brake lines replaced due to rust, and has rusty fenders and sills that will not pass inspection in another year or two, Not impressed.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    My parents, who drove matching 82 Accords, gave up on the idea of a new one after 1990 because they felt it was ‘too big.’ Mom got an Integra that lasted till 2006, and Dad got an early SE-R which he still has.

    Part of the perception of older reliability is just how much service new cars seem to need, and how much must be done by the dealership these days. Blame it on all the electronics that help keep the average driver out of trouble and make the engines more efficient, along with some fairly sill smog controls akin to BMW’s ‘thermal reactors’ from the 70s.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      What?!
      I’ll try to minimize the snark, but in no way can you compare the service today’s cars need to the service required of new vehicles from past decades. How often do new cars need their cap and rotor replaced? Or the points? How often do you need to water up the battery? How long do the plugs last? How often do all those serp belts need changing? How often does that HOAT stuff screw up your thermostat and water pump? How often do you have to climb under the car with a grease gun? How were those 90,000-mile tires of the 1970’s and 1980’s? I could go on, but I’m starting to have flashbacks of what auto ownership used to mean, and I’d like to forget once more.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        Ditto. My roommate in college got rid of his 67 Cougar because he was tired of having to adjust the carb all the time to keep it idling correctly in our climate that has a lot of temperature extremes.

      • 0 avatar
        Strippo

        Fair enough, but climb back in your Wayback Machine and move forward to the early to mid-1990s, when cars were still mostly mechanical things without a computer-monitored sensor in every component. There exists a historical sweet spot for the production of relatively uncomplicated, trouble-free, high mileage appliances, and it ain’t 2011.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    My parents had the ’91 EX 4 door and it had the 5spd manual and it WAS a good car though they only kept it until 1995 but I STILL see plenty of that generation, as I do the 3rd gen models though not as much as I do the 4th and up generation accords.

    I from 1998-2006 had an ’88 LX-I (essentially the later EX trim) that was good, though a lack of maintenance was more detrimental to that car as were minor accidents and a rear ender where I was hit from behind. Sold the poor car with water leaking inside and no muffler and needing A LOT of TLC work, but still ran fairly well despite it all, and it WAS a 5spd too.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I have a bigger question: Who in their right mind WANTS to drive the same car for a million miles? I’ve had my Impala for 7 years and I love it, but sometimes I get the itch to buy something new, but maybe that’s just me.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      My dad probably would. He gets a charge out of seeing just how far he can go without spending large sums of money, in this case making car payments. It was a fight for my mom to get him to buy a new car after the incident in 1992, which I’ve related here before, involving his then long paid for 1978 Buick Skyhawk.

      Some people want power, some people want luxury, and some people want something as inexpensive and simple as possible. My dad was kind of annoyed that he had to have power locks because they don’t make his car, 2011 Focus, without them. However, now he gets a charge out of having a button to push and a FOB.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      Good point. Many cars will go 200k plus but most lose their desirability to be driven soon after 100k. In other words they get you down the road but the squeaks, rattles, smells and general decay cause you secretively to want to get t-boned so you can shop for something else.

  • avatar
    wsn

    For this time, Jack missed the point.

    The percent of cars that go over 1 million mile is NOT a good indicator of durability.

    For instance, the percentage that can go over 300k miles is a better metric. Or, better yet, use a more controlled statistical method, like using the median distance for cars that are driven at least 20k miles per year and ones with no major accidents.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I’d like to see Mr. Lang write another article on what issues he sees with each brand at auction, and which brands really are the durability champs. He hasn’t written that type of article for a few years, and I wonder of things have changed since that time.

      • 0 avatar
        toffeefilter

        you can do it yourself to some extent on cars.com/autotrader

        currently there are some 170,000+ cars > 100k miles for sale…too lazy/don’t care enough to analyze the data but here it is.

        Acura(2222)
        Alfa Romeo(10)
        Am General(6)
        American Motors(14)
        Audi(1309)
        Bentley(3)
        BMW(4023)
        Buick(3201)
        Cadillac(2801)
        Chevrolet(28831)
        Chrysler(4762)
        Daewoo(15)
        Daihatsu(1)
        Datsun(9)
        Dodge(13112)
        Eagle(22)
        Fiat(2)
        Ford(30865)
        Geo(62)
        GMC(7745)
        Honda(9727)
        Hummer(215)
        Hyundai(2030)
        Infiniti(1441)
        International(18)
        Isuzu(551)
        Jaguar(431)
        Jeep(6506)
        Jensen(1)
        Kia(1239)
        Land Rover(532)
        Lexus(3289)
        Lincoln(1951)
        Lotus(2)
        Mazda(2154)
        Mercedes-Benz(3371)
        Mercury(2499)
        MG(5)
        MINI(138)
        Mitsubishi(1988)
        Nissan(7628)
        Oldsmobile(1521)
        Plymouth(347)
        Pontiac(4659)
        Porsche(200)
        Rolls-Royce(8)
        Saab(554)
        Saturn(1798)
        Scion(239)
        Sterling(1)
        Subaru(2129)
        Sunbeam(1)
        Suzuki(357)
        Toyota(12630)
        Volkswagen(2787)
        Volvo(1973)
        Willys(1)

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Honda could be in worse shape. The Million Mile Volvo! was a 1966. The last Million Mile Mercedes-Benz! was a 1981.

    The 1990-1993 Accords may have hit the durability sweet spot, but they’re my least favorite Accords. The automatic seatbelts’ anchors left them hanging in the air in front of my chest, and none of the seats provided comfort for my 6’2″ frame. My friend’s family had one that lasted close to 300K before being rear ended, but the automatic felt like it could fail at any time for over 200K of that. It clunk, made indescribably metal on metal noises, and shifted like an old city bus. These Accords remind me of what Car and Driver said about their LeMons Aurora: GM cars will run badly longer than most cars will run at all. Well, I never saw a GM car that ran badly as long as my friend’s 1991 Accord did.

    • 0 avatar
      chrisgreencar

      At least in ’92 and ’93, the automatic seatbelts were gone, replaced with a drivers’ airbag. Same for the ’91 Accord wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        That’s good, as the automatic seatbelts were awful. I guess I’ve never been in a 1992 or 1993 Accord.

      • 0 avatar
        chrisgreencar

        I had a ’90 Civic 4-door with the automatic belts. Once I got used to it I didn’t mind it, but the car seemed so dated as soon as airbags became common. The worst is when people would unhook them to keep from wearing them, but the little buckle would still slide up and down the window frame every time they got in the car.

    • 0 avatar
      geggamoya

      Don’t know about the states but there is at least one million mile Mercedes(that’s not 40 years old) at their museum in Stuttgart. It’s a Finnish taxi, 1991 Mercedes-Benz 6D Limousine Lang 250D which went there at 1.650.000km, and the same guys current -04 stretch E270CDI needed a new transimission at 1.066.583km half a year ago, plans to drive that car to a million miles and then get an S-class. The original transmission already went to the museum.

      The same guy drove a cadillac brougham limousine before swithing to Mercedes and that cadillac needed three transimmions to get to 660.000km.

  • avatar

    While the points Jack makes are interesting, the paucity of post third-gen million mile accords probably has at least as much to do with the small number of people who drive more than 60,000 miles/year on average in a ’94, and 100,000/year for an ’01 than with any faults of post-third gen accords.

    My ’99 (stick) will probably hit 200,000 this year. At the rate I drive (I bought the car used) it will take me 40 years to get to a million miles.

    The car IS in good shape except for several inches of body rot around a rear wheel well, which I will get taken care of this summer.

    A friend’s 02 with a slushbox had to replace that at 100k. But I suspect she’d never changed the transmission oil.

  • avatar
    debaser

    You could easily flip that question around, and ask who in their right mind wants to buy a new car when the one they have runs well and does everything they want it to?

    My wife’s 98′ Maxima is coming up on 230k miles, and is running with very little trouble at all – until it becomes a money pit, dies, gets hit or crashes I’d happily keep driving that car.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    I don’t know. My ’99 Accord is just shy of 200k miles and I’d wager it could easily make at least a half-million. It has the auto, but I religiously have the tranny serviced. The 2.3L Vtec runs like a top and never has needed anything more than basic service. Electronic speaking, the only thing that has failed was the CD player, easily replaced with an after market unit. Otherwise nothing, all on a vehicle that sees probably 75% city driving on very poor pothole filled roads of the frozen tundra. Rust hasn’t even showed up as it’s been garaged and washed frequently in the winters. Suspension is the only part that has been more or less all replaced.

    We can all reminice about how great Japanese cars were in 1990, but that was 21 years ago now. By my calculations to reach 1M miles over 21 years you’re averaging just under 50k miles/year. That’s got to put you in the mostly highway driving zone which are easy miles. I’d bet with religious maintenance most modern vehicles can hit a million if you just pile on highway miles at 50,000+ per year. Stop and go traffic kills auto trannys, potholes ruin suspension and shake things up, and frequent on/off cycles do their damage. Cruising all day long down a limited access freeway is an easy day for any vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      joeveto3

      @200K You hit the nail on the head. If you drive 40-50K per year, as I do, and maintain your car (fluid changes, frequent washing), it will last. Period. When you’re driving that much, the duty cycles are low. Most days, my car is stuck on the freeway, stuck in cruise control. The transmission isn’t shifting much for the miles my cars see, the engine isn’t revving much, nor is a lot being asked of the suspension. I’m very particular about my cars’ maintenance and I document and track everything, from routine maintenance, to washes/details, to fuel economy.

      Will there be an occasional part failure? Sure. But on a per mile basis, I’d argue the failures are far less than for the average driver.

      When I tire of my cars and trade them in for another gently used replacement (I can’t afford the depreciation hit of a new car), my trade usually looks and runs like new, despite having high mileage. My cars are often in much better shape than cars with a third of the mileage.

      So I believe I could easily bring a car at least to 500K, and pretty fast, if I didn’t tire so easily of my rides. I’ve driven/owned the domestics and the imports, and frankly, I don’t think there is much of a difference. They all have their quirks, but take care of them, have realistic expectations, and you can’t go wrong.

  • avatar
    Kosher Polack

    Strangely enough, it was a ’91 Accord wagon that drove my parents (but not me) away from Honda forever – just a severe case of being dealt a bad hand, I suppose. Despite loving how it drove and how much it held (and leaving me wishing wishing wishing I could get an Accord or Civic wagon), balance shaft issues caused numerous breakdowns and eventually a new engine. And they replaced it with a Plymouth Grand Voyager. Sometimes there’s just no justice in this world.

  • avatar
    chrisgreencar

    On the other end of the spectrum, coincidentally there is an estate sale in my locality this weekend (Pasadena CA) advertising a 1993 Accord, immaculate and garage kept with 33,000 miles. That’s not an easy item to find! Wish I could get it but it’s not in the cards. Talk about the little old lady from Pasadena!

  • avatar
    George B

    There are several factors involved in getting a million mile car, but some owner has to want to keep a car alive to make this happen. I see lots of 6th generation Honda Accords on the road here in road salt free North Texas with enough in good shape for a few 4 cylinder manual transmission examples to go the distance. Not sure why people put so much effort into customizing Accords, but they do. The lack of removable filters in the automatic mean non-stick examples will go to the salvage yard well short of the million mile goal, creating a huge supply of cheap parts for those with three pedals.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    A reason there are no 2007 or later cars that have hit a million miles is that hardly anybody drives 1000 miles 5 days a week fifty weeks a year.

    Obviously.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Who in their right mind WANTS to drive the same car for a million miles?

    Not that I will, but I’m someone who keeps his car forever. My Trooper just hit 180k (minimal repairs except TWO transmissions….warranty covered one, $4500 for the other…and the usual shocks, tires, brakes….). I love the comfort and lumbering nature of my car, as well as it’s hauling capacity. Not the 17 mpg though.

    I am excited about that Honda Fit wagon thing they’ll be introducing late next year…..

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      I am also one of those who keeps his car forever. My sportbike has 21k…this is probably more miles than about 90% of them on the road. Our Neon just passed 200k. It has no redeeming qualities except it always starts & gets me where I’m going. That is good enough for me.

      I commute 65 miles rt and I hope to get > 300k out of it if it doesn’t rust out first!

  • avatar
    IGB

    Hyundai has nothing to worry about with regards to anyone ever touting a million mile Sonata.

    Modern Accords, electronics and higher stress engines aside should have very little trouble reaching 200,000 miles. New Sonatas should (hopefully) come near that too – turbo and all. Realistically the bell curve is well to the left of that for average vehicle ownership. The target market for manufacturers are people that buy cars, not the people that maintain them into eternity.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    What is more tough on a car? Driving on the highway nearly non-stop to rack up 60K a year or 25K a year of slugging through a commute 5 days a week. Or 3K of driving a year with a car that is rarely warmed up enough to enter closed loop operation? Put it this way: All of you out there who drive 15K a year and have passed 100K have more operational cycles on the starter – by far – that that million mile Accord. That type of mileage is impressive no matter how you look at it but cars don’t wear nearly as much in steady state operation as they do being started cold several times a day and being neglected with poor maintenance. I’d bet that under the conditions that the Accord was subject to, most of today’s cars could do it. Maybe with more repairs perhaps, but they could still do it. Point is that this feat is not likely to translate into near-zero operational repairs for your typical Accord’s life.

  • avatar
    smlfox

    I had a 1993 Accord LX. It was my first car and we bought it from a family friend in 2003 with 94,000 miles. The only problem it had was a some fading on the rear quarter panel, but I didn’t care. I was in love with it. I named him Althie after the character in a book. My only mistake while owning that car was selling it to buy a truck in an effort to impress a girl. Damn my being a teenage boy.

    I disagree about the poor quality of these cars. Maybe mine was one of the rare few, but it was a damn good car. I treated that car much like a teenage boy in a small southern town would. By that I mean my treatment of the car included driving it through a field one night.

    The most interesting thing about my car was that my friend’s mom also had a 93 Accord LX and almost every time something happened to one of them it happened to the other within a few weeks with the exception of a thermostat on mine and a muffler on hers. This was so tested that about two weeks before my senior prom my friend’s mom told me her rear driver’s side window motor died, but she jiggled the switch and got it up. I clearly remember saying “watch, mine is going to die on prom night.” It did. I did the same thing and it went up, but then after getting to my date’s house and realizing I forgot the corsage, I rolled it back down on the way back to my place. I had to take the door panel off and push the window back up (which allowed the motor to work enough by taking some pressure off of it) in my tux. About a month after I sold it, I was moving my friend’s mom car after mowing her yard and checked the production date. Both were built in April 1993.

    I’m sure if I hadn’t been stupid enough to sell it, I’d still be driving it. My best friend’s brother, to whom I sold the car, offered it back to me when he essentially killed it. My mom said no because she didn’t want it sitting in the driveway and I would have had to have it towed 220 miles home. All it needed was a headgasket and for a couple hundred bucks I could have had it back and given my car to my brother. Yes, I really would have taken a 1993 Honda Accord with 120,000 miles over my 11 year old car with only 50,000 miles. That’s how amazing it was.

    That car was amazing and I loved it. The truck I bought was a piece of shit 1995 Dodge Dakota that was in the shop three times for transmission leaks among other things in the year and a half I owned it. Because of my Accord, I went back to Honda. I looked at Accords (my dad even found a low mileage 1990 with 77,000 miles), but instead I found a 1997 Acura Integra with a scant 48,000 miles that I’m driving today. It was 10 years old when I got it. Now, 4 years later, it’s up to 126,000 and still going strong. I will not make the same mistake I did with my Accord. I’m keeping this car until it’s undrivable.

    Everytime I see a 92-93 Accord, I sigh and say to myself “I miss my Accord.” I would love to have it back, but supposedly it got totalled back in 2007 or 2008.

    The reason why people drive them so long, I think, is that they were built when Honda was really coming into it’s own in the midsized car market. There was noting remarkable about the looks, but the fourth generation surpassed Ford and Toyota in quality if I recall. They were simple cars. The DX trim offered your basic car, the LX improved it with power windows and door locks. My car was painted in Phantom Gray Pearl, a color limited to the LX trim level. The EX gave you a sunroof, alloy wheels, and optional fog lights and an optional spoiler. You could get leather seats and even an optional CD player. Then there was the 10th Anniversary Edition in 1993 that gave you the alloy wheels off of the EX coupe and ABS.

    Otherwise, they were basic cars, but drove well. They had good sight lines and excellent maneuverability. My little Integra reminds me a lot of my Accord. Honda was still on a roll back in 1997. The switches are exactly the same, the entire interior layout is identical (with a few differences)and the rack-and-pinion steering (though wearing out now) had the exact same precision I felt in that Accord. My little Integra remains stock, too, and that’s the way I like it. It’s not like these little ricers you see running around.

    When I first got it, it was a rare sight. Very few stock Integras were around, but more are coming out of the wood work. While my Accord wasn’t so rare (at least where I lived), it still stood out. Mainly because of the Phantom Gray Pearl paint, but also because of the way it held up to the sands of time. *sigh* I miss that car.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Million miles? Hey ain’t it a million miles of luck? REALLY unlucky and get a terrible Toyota or really lucky and get a million mile K-car? Between that and accidents/freak weather/theft etc – its luck-luck-luck..?

    Besides surely these niched, owner heralded, unusual miles of durability aren’t really in the best interests of the economy or manufacturer?

    Honda? Just sat in a 2012 Civic today with power roof – balloon head here couldn’t find any headroom.

  • avatar
    colin42

    Cummins Has a million mile club – although not a small acheivement it’s not as rare as 3 Accords

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    The ole aurora (the one sajeev reviewed here) is up to 430k. I just got some work done on it, need to get the AC working or it won’t be getting many miles this summer.

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