Could your car hit 1 million miles? Not every car is destined for the heady heights of the million-mile club. But with the right car, regular maintenance, and a little luck, your car could become one of the chosen few.
It will take more than an occasional oil change to achieve this magic milestone, and you'll have to plan for the long haul. That means buying a car with a reputation for reliability and durability. It also means using a smooth and conservative driving style that doesn’t put unnecessary strain on the engine, gearbox, or brakes.
If you do these things and meticulously maintain your car, it stands a better chance of joining these automotive greats in the high-mileage Hall of Fame:
1. 1966 Volvo P1800
Irv Gordon is a legend in the long-distance driving club after taking his 1966 Volvo P1800 to 3.25 million miles. When he hit the magic million, Volvo gave the retired science teacher a new car, but he kept driving his P1800. Gordon’s second million miles earned him a Times Square ticker-tape parade and another new car.
Gordon never ignored a rattle or squeak, he changed the brakes every 100,000 miles, and he changed the oil every 3,000 miles without fail. He also had such a sympathetic driving style that his first clutch lasted an incredible 450,000 miles. Gordon also took his car in for its first inspection just a week after buying it and inevitably became a regular at his local dealer.
The New York native kept driving his 1966 Volvo P1800 and set a record that will be hard to surpass. Gordon passed away at the age of 77 in 2018.
2. 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD
Retired auto worker Hugh Pennington and his wife Tammy set up shop delivering camping trailers as a retirement job. In six years, they racked up over 1 million miles in their trusty Chevy Silverado truck.
And these aren’t just coasting miles — the pair did 150,000 miles a year towing trailers around the States. The Chevy was still powered by its original engine and transmission when it finally retired from service.
3. 1990 Honda Accord
Joe LoCicero was a qualified master mechanic and former vehicle inspector. So when he bought his 1990 Honda Accord with 74,000 miles on the clock, he immediately implemented a military-style maintenance regimen.
He still had to rebuild the engine, which may have been the end for a less-skilled owner. But LoCicero’s obsessive attention to detail, which includes a record of every fuel stop, was the key to his car’s longevity. He racked up over a million miles, averaging about 48,000 miles a year.
4. 1989 Saab 900 SPG
After a 17-year love affair that took his Saab 900 SPG past the 1 million mile mark, Peter Gilbert donated this spectacular Swedish legend to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum in 2006. Although three cylinder heads had given way, the engine was original with one transmission; the car had 88 tires throughout its life.
Gilbert credits synthetic oil for his car’s long life and continued to use it on his next Saab.
5. 1963 Volkswagen Beetle
The VW Beetle was a budget car not designed for the long term. Cheap, simple, and readily available parts meant that California-based Albert Klein could replace the engine seven times in 24 years. Just how original is this Beetle? That’s a different question, but there’s no doubt Klein covered over 1.6 million miles in his air-cooled classic.
The car cost $1,900 in 1963, but Klein’s meticulous records showed it cost more than $38,000 in maintenance over the years. So it may well have been cheaper to replace this aging Beetle well before the 1-million-mile mark.
Going Beyond Typical Car Maintenance
Bear in mind that these are rare cases. Most cars are nearing the end when they reach 100,000 miles. It's simply safer to replace an aging, high-mileage car. Plus it's cheaper, as repair costs can increase with mileage.
These costs are one thing you can control with an extended warranty from Protect My Car. A wide variety of policies cover most cars and can provide simple fixed costs, meaning repairs won’t blow your budget.
If you're aiming for the magic 1-million-mile mark and want to enjoy every mile without worrying about an expensive repair bill, get in touch with PMC today.