1 2
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/11/10 12:47 a.m.

Interesting piece over at cnn.com: http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/autos/1004/gallery.ireport_mega_mile_cars/index.html

I have a little more than 205k on the CRX. I'm not on the original engine, but most of the paint is factory.

By the day, props for the dude with the Cherokee--nice Punisher shirt.

EvanR New Reader
4/11/10 2:47 a.m.

This article seriously p'd me off. How can anyone do a "high miles" article and ignore Irv Gordon, they guy with 2.3+ million miles on his Volvo 1800??

bludroptop SuperDork
4/11/10 3:38 a.m.

My dad used to give his cars away once they reached 100,000 miles - thinking they were 'worn out'. He stopped that after he gave me his '79 Rabbit and I doubled the odo figure. 200,000 is the new 100,000, but the fact is that lack of maintenance or cost to repair (or both) is what kills cars, not miles.

BobOfTheFuture Reader
4/11/10 3:55 a.m.

That depends are you trying to buy it or sell it?

egnorant Dork
4/11/10 4:42 a.m.

I am amazed sometimes at the mile I see. My Daily driver..91 Escort just passed 342,000 miles and is still going strong on the original engine. My old 95 Mustang just passed 300,000 with its new owner. Last time I saw my 86 Escort EXP it had 309,000 miles and that was 5 years ago. I still see it on the road, just haven't seen the mileage.

74 Mustang has been garaged and used rarely due to a broken drivers window in Arkansas at 405,000 miles, but the champ is 1982 Datsun wagon with 530,000 miles. It was Moms car, then my brothers car, then his wifes car, then a neighbors car, then the neighbors sons car. Runs like a sewing machine, but the plastic and body are turning to dust around it.


PubBurgers Dork
4/11/10 5:13 a.m.

Really surprised they're making a big deal about 200K. i consider 300,000 to be the start of truly high mileage. Between our 3 cars we've got over 500,000 miles, with the Volvo contributing 265,000 of that. My old Previa had 240,000 before the head gasket popped and i sold it.

4cylndrfury SuperDork
4/11/10 6:50 a.m.

when I was a tech at an instalube oil change place, we had a guy who drove out west and back about every 10 days for work. His 90-something caprice had 569k on the ticker. He had it in once a month for an oil change, once every 6months for diff fluid and once a year for a trans flush. The body and interior were immaculate. It was kind of an honor to get to be the guy to turn the wrenches when he came in.

Also used to deliver pizza with a dude whose crown vic had 390k when I left, and he still drives that car today 7 years later , though I think hes a manager and off the road now. He purchased the car with 40k, so that was 350k IN CITY miles. oil changes and reg maintenance are key

GI_Drewsifer Reader
4/11/10 8:12 a.m.

200,000 miles isn't as big a mile stone as it used to be. However I still think that most cars don't make it to 200K on original motors. I know I certainly wouldn't buy a car with 200k on the clock. But I wouldn't throw a car out just cause it'd had passed the mark.

DrBoost Dork
4/11/10 8:12 a.m.

I agree, regular maintenance are key. I've had about 1/2 dozen cars with over 1/4 million and one with 365,XXX. Each of those cars had original engine with the exception of a gasket or seal here and there. 200,000 isn't that big a deal any more.

Jensenman SuperDork
4/11/10 8:20 a.m.

Saw a Supra some years ago with 580K. The guy was military, drove all over the US so it had mostly highway miles. Still on the original clutch but he had gone through a bunch of tires, three sets of brakes and the valve cover gaskets had been replaced. He changed the oil every ~4k miles, other fluids every 60-80k and the coolant yearly.

Twin_Cam Dork
4/11/10 8:30 a.m.

I have been trying to convince my fiancee that the 170K mile Saturn SL2 we just bought her has a lot more miles left before it bites the dust. Clearly, I'm not totally nuts.

That article didn't mention that guy with the Volvo, as some people have mentioned before. 2.3 million is a lot by my book...

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
4/11/10 8:33 a.m.
GI_Drewsifer wrote: 200,000 miles isn't as big a mile stone as it used to be. However I still think that most cars don't make it to 200K on original motors. I know I certainly wouldn't buy a car with 200k on the clock. But I wouldn't throw a car out just cause it'd had passed the mark.

I bought 2 BMWs (an E28 535is and an E30 325is), both within a few thousand miles of 200k. Both were mechanically in excellent shape and ran deep into the mid 200s. The E30 hit a deer doing 80 and then became my racecar. I ran it wide open on the track 30 days a season for 2yrs and just gave the engine away - still running great.

The 535 was broadsided and parted out and so I never got to see how long it was good for.

I would not think twice about buying another.

Knurled Reader
4/11/10 8:33 a.m.
GI_Drewsifer wrote: However I still think that most cars don't make it to 200K on original motors.

My first VW had 215k on the original unopened (save for valve cover and oil pan gaskets) engine, original clutch, and original transmission. The rest of the car was disintegrating.

My current VW has 316k on the original unopened (save for valve cover and oil pan gaskets) engine, original clutch, original transmission, and original diff and driveshaft. Judging from the absurd levels of slop, I wouldn't doubt if the rear halfshafts were original too. The floors are rock solid.

I had an RX-7 do over 212k on the original engine. There was no car left around it, sadly.

I have plenty of customers with 200k+ cars. It's a non event. ONE of my customers had 660k on a 5.7l engined GMC 3500. He basically drove for 12 hours a day every day for LandStar.

I've only ever replaced one engine due to being worn out instead of being neglected, and that was... a 1ZZ-FE in a Corolla that burned a quart of oil per hundred miles.

Engines are not really "wear items" anymore. They outlast the rest of the car.

carguy123 SuperDork
4/11/10 8:39 a.m.
BobOfTheFuture wrote: That depends are you trying to buy it or sell it?

Yeah if you are selling something you'd better not bust the 150,000 mile mark or you'll never get any serious money out of it as I just found out on my Explorer Sport Trac. The most money I got offered came from a trade in.

The dealer had a tote the note lot and the construction workers like those 'Splorers.

P71 SuperDork
4/11/10 8:56 a.m.

It's all in maintenance. My old RX-7 had 240K miles on it with 250+ autocrosses and is now an IT race car. Original engine and trans. Then again, my neighbor's Dakota has 57K miles, looks like it has 5,700,000 miles and breaks something new every week (freeze plugs from never flushing the coolant, head gasket for the same reason, rough running for never changing the oil, brakes are shot for wearing the pads down to the caliper pistons, etc, etc).

My first truck was a 86.5 Nissan Hardbody with the Z24 motor. It had 190K on it when I bought it, 270K on it when I sold it, and was easily able to double that figure. High mileage to me is an honor, not a bad thing. Means I helped take care of that car properly.

Wally SuperDork
4/11/10 9:35 a.m.

My Escort had 290k when I totaled it, the a/c still blew cold. My wifes Malibu is 240k and I'm thinking about fixing the rust and painting it this summer since everything else works. Even My Monte SS had about 200 on it when I parked it but it was on it's third transmision. I bought it in high school and it beat it like a drum every day.

HappyJack New Reader
4/11/10 9:42 a.m.

I agree with just about everyone else here. As long as the motor is looked after, it will outlast the rest of the car. I was given a 95 Saturn SL1 with 437,000 kms (271,000 miles) I figured the engine would be shot. Low compression, lots of blow by, etc. I ran a compression test and it is up all the way across. The engine doesn't even tick. Runs like a top.

aussiesmg SuperDork
4/11/10 9:42 a.m.

I run Big Fords, we drive from city to city and average 1500 miles a week, most of the Town Car/Crown Vics get 250 to 400K before the rust wins over them. the usual repair problems are accessories like alternator, starter, and tune issues. I have had several 12a RX7s go well over 250K also.

200,000 is just getting broke in IMHO.

RoadWarrior Reader
4/11/10 9:44 a.m.

267,000 on my Jetta GLI 16v...motor was stil the most oil tight engine I've ever had....the electricals and body were another matter :( I miss that car.

neon4891 SuperDork
4/11/10 10:12 a.m.

My friend linked me that the other day. I was thinking about posting it here but you beat me to it.

Right now our highest milage car is my neon at 137K and our highest ever was my old accord, at 225K+ before a deer. We have had 3 other cars go past 180K, 2 where taken by deer, another was claimed by rust(bed, floor, brake lines, oil pan).

pres589 Reader
4/11/10 10:31 a.m.

I doubt anything electrical in my Olds Intrigue will be functioning properly at 200,000 if it's condition at 120,000 is anything to go by. And I'm too lazy to a want to deal with the thing so I don't. Selling it will be a hoot...

Nitroracer Dork
4/11/10 10:55 a.m.

The biggest thing here is maintenance and a lot of people aren't willing to take care of a car the way most of us on this site would. But the make/model matters too, some cars were just made from crappy parts not meant to last a long time. My family had an 89' Taurus that was dying by 110k with impeccable maintenance. You could pull the key out of the ignition while it was running, consumed a lot of oil, etc. It was replaced by a 00' Intrigue we got 180k out of. Only got rid of that car because the trans was getting ready to go and we couldn't afford the downtime.

oldsaw Dork
4/11/10 11:18 a.m.

Not that I'd trust CNN to know a lot about cars in general, but the article does point towards an attitude - "if it's [old], it's not worth keeping". That bodes well for the people on the GRM board!

I just returned from running to the store in my '86 Prelude Si - 267,000 miles on the original bottom-end; head was replaced about 50,000 ago, but I still have the original and it's actually in pretty good shape. This is a three-owner car and the first two really took care of it, even after it served two teenagers in the second owner's family. I've had it for nine years and it still runs great for a 24yr old car.

The 20yr old Civic next to the Si has over 180,000 and as the only owner, I know it's it great condition. Yup, it's a keeper, too. The engine was rebuilt at 130,000 since it suffered from the typical D-series valve guide deterioration, but it was good excuse to also replace the clutch, lighten the flywheel and do a little "head work".

High-mileage, well-maintained cars FTW!

Shaun Reader
4/11/10 11:22 a.m.

I haver a 1995 Volvo High Pressure Turbo 855 that uses the same amount of oil, makes the same mechanical noises, shifts just the same, steers just the same as the the day I bought it at 90k. It is at 170k now, and has been pushing a 17psi remap for 70k. It rattles more and some trim is getting loose, other than that.. what a bargain. The goal was to go to 200k and semi-retire it or sell it but I think 250k is going to be a breeze.

Improved materials, precise fuel metering, vastly improved tolerances, cooling systems that work much more reliably, continually improved lubricants, the extended warranty marketing battle- lots of stuff has happened that has made 1990-2005ish batch of cars and trucks very long lived. I do wonder if cars made in the last 5 years or so might reverse the trend, as engineering for manufacturing has become close to an exact science, and duty margins (it would seem) can be dialed back precisely for cost savings and still satisfy the marketing need for 100k warranties.

For instance; there was an over sale on extended under-warranty oil change intervals a few years back that cost dealers (the sludge debacle), so that went away, but the manufactures were knowingly cutting vehicle life expectancy once the vehicle was off warranty to make sales and profit.

Add the electronics complexity and packaging density that is pushing cars to the point that even entry level vehicles now sometimes need proprietary OEM equipment and software in order to maintain, diagnose, and repair them and the game changes. This may, or perhaps even has, started ushering in an age of cars the are very expensive to maintain past warranty, as the economics will not work like they do right now because idiotic and stupendously expensive dealer interactions could well be necessary. Which would not work for me anyway.

Travis_K Dork
4/11/10 12:09 p.m.

I think a big part of it is how the car has been taken care of in the first 100k miles. You can ruin a car in that time, or you can take care of it and drive it another 200k. In my experience, 350k is about when most of the original parts are going to be pretty worn out (if its a well made car).

1 2
Our Preferred Partners