How many miles can you put on a car? Manufacturers today aim for a service life of 150,000 miles, with most cars easily surpassing 200,000 miles without any major problems. However, a handful of vehicles have passed the 1 million mile mark.
What does it take to reach this milestone? Classic simplicity or modern reliability? Excessive pampering or travel in any weather to rack up miles? Car or truck? These three cars show that there isn’t any magic formula aside from regular maintenance.
Joe LoCicero’s 1990 Honda Accord
Vehicle inspector and former mechanic “Million Mile” Joe LoCicero bought the Accord used in 1996 with 74,000 miles on it, and since then has stuck to the factory maintenance schedule, doing all the repairs himself. Raising two children while owning the car, he says the biggest wear items have been in the interior, having replaced the seat belts, most of the upholstery and the steering wheel. He took apart the engine once to remove carbon buildup and replaced the fuel pump after a mere 741,000 miles. Honda celebrated by throwing him a parade in his home town.
Tammy and Hugh Pennington’s 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD
Tammy Pennington began using her husband’s truck to bring FEMA trailers to those in need after Katrina, and by 2006, they decided to get her a new truck for their hauling business. Since then, the couple have been delivering trailers all across the country, combining business with vacations. It took just six years to reach the million mile mark, with Tammy doing 90 percent of the driving. Aside from a set of fuel injectors, the truck hasn’t needed any work outside of regular maintenance.
Irv Gordon’s 1966 Volvo P1800
The Guinness Book of World Records named Irv Gordon’s Volvo the most driven car in the world in 1998, having covered 1.69 million miles. Despite the record, Gordon kept driving his car across the country and is now just short of the 3 million mile mark. When asked about why he keeps his car going, he told USA Today, “Nothing is forever. But that’s why they put paint in a can.”
The body panels are original despite several accidents as are the engine block, transmission and differential. Gordon changes the oil and replaces the brakes himself while he’s managed to get as much as 450,000 miles on a single clutch and 900,000 miles on a carburetor rebuild.
To celebrate the mileage milestone, he’s taking a trip to revisit some of his favorite places across America.
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