Question Of The Day: Is 300k the New 200k?
One engine. One man. 300,000 miles… and it was only the beginning.
Yesterday I visited an auction where 8% of the vehicles had over 300,000 miles.
I did a double-take when I did the math.
300k = 10 years at 30,000 miles.
If your average speed is 40mph, we’re talking 7500 hours on the road. Take off 10 hours a day for sleeping, eating, hanging out, and ‘refreshing yourself’, and the total amount of time just on the road stretches to nearly 18 months.
That’s an amazing amount of time to spend staring through a windshield.
A lot of folks take longer to get to that goal. 15 years. 20 years. Even 25 years if the weather and the preventive care are strong enough.
We’re at an age where even the worst cars of twenty years ago are still on the road. They’re not even considered ‘old’ in most locales. Just part of a scenery that consists of ever older vehicles. If you keep the older cars of today kept up, they may indeed keep on for the duration.
Which brings on the question… “Is 300k the new 200k?”
The 200,000 mark is still impressive to many people. But I am only giving out a true, “Wow!” when I see a vehicle go past the 350k mark. In my world, old metal is part of the landscape. Your world may be a bit different.
What do you think? Extra credit will be given if you know a kindred frugal soul in your life who has kept their car running past the 300k mark.
Editor’s Note: Questions? Thoughts? Remembrances? I can always be reached at steve.lang @thetruthaboutcars.com
200k doesn't impress me, but 300k certainly does. Here in New Hampshire, older cars tend to disappear into the earth - my first '89 244 did (at 219k), and my '94 855 (at 221k), previously from Maine, is headed that way. My other cars are another '89 244 with 210k, which I'm planning to keep forever, and a '92 745 that was pretty thrashed by its last few owners and threw a rod at 214k. I'd save it if it wasn't used up, but rust surprisingly isn't an issue...
I have driven or know a few cars with high mileage, one was a 1990 Nissan Patrol with ~360k that I know had a head rebuild on the 4.2 diesel I6, a 1994 Ford Falcon ute with 350k that drove as smooth and quiet as new, and a late 1960's Peugeot 404 with over 400k taken off the road for a rusted gearbox crossmember. That's not counting innumerable taxis that have 450-650k at the end of their 5-6 year service life (depending if they are bought new or not). More often these days they make that mileage on the original driveline.
I bought a 1980 Toyota Starlet used in 1986, for $3000, ran it up to about 160K with only the replacement of a rear end (real problem was the U-joint was going out - Toyota of San Antonio told me it was the differential, I had a long road trip ahead of me, so believed them and had to replace the U-joint on the road 1500 miles later in the middle of the trip - at an independent repairshop). At about 160K, I went overseas with the USAF, and gave it to my kid brother. He ran it up to 268K with a couple junkyard transmissions he and a friend installed poorly. It definitively died on the exit ramp to his apartment in Atlanta, returning from a trip to Vermont. His employee discount Mercury Tracer had become available the day before.
I've got a friend who has a Honda CRV with 505,000 currently and still going strong. My 2002 Civic SI has original transmission, alternator, clutch, radiator, etc with 187,000 miles. The only issue is paint peeling on hood. Otherwise she is ready to reach 300,000.