Are you wondering if a car can go for a million miles and become a million mile car? If that is the question that is bothering you shouldn’t think more because there are a lot of cars that went that length and even more in some instances. Some of these cars are even running and driving today as we cover this article. That’s why we devoted a whole article to this topic to take a little time and appreciate these wonderful pieces of machinery.
The million mile club is something that most car owners who love their cars want to achieve. But for many, it is almost impossible. Why is this the case? Because not many people have the nerve to drive a million miles. Especially in one car. That’s why most car owners would rather catch a flight instead of turning on their car and heading up to their destination.
So, most of these cars were used for business purposes. Managers of companies travel from one end of the state to another and they need a good and reliable car. When you have a job like this, it is fairly easy to build up miles on the car. That’s why most of these cars were used for that purpose and they have managed to get a ton of miles on them. But which are these models? You probably are interested in finding out.
In this article, we are going to learn what makes a million mile car, then we will learn how you can get the most out of your car in terms of mileage. Then we will cover our top picks of cars that achieved the million mile goal. So, let’s get into it.
What Makes A Million Mile Car
This is a good question that is worth elaborating on in-depth. What makes a million mile car? A million mile car makes the vehicle achieve a million miles during its lifetime.
But this is arguably one of the most controversial claims. Since mileage could also be faked. Especially on cars that have one of the old odometers and do not have a car computer. And even computerized cars can also be manipulated and the mileage can be tweaked by the desire of the owner. This is highly illegal, but some people go to some extra lengths to prove a point and get the acclaim that they did something extraordinary.
Most reliable are the cars that have the whole service history with them. And for a million miles of mileage, you would probably be having a few notebooks and a bunch of papyrology that will require days to be properly checked and concluded that this car has a million miles on the clock. Some of them have probably entered the Book of Records.
Also worth noting, is the ability of the car to reach a million miles with only one engine. Many cars have reached a million miles with a few engines swapped. But it is extremely rare for a car to reach this mark with the original engine. That’s why later when we will list some of our picks we are going to list some of these cars that have achieved this benchmark with only one engine.
Because running a single engine for over a million miles is a true benchmark and proof of quality and engineering. Considering that usually, an engine lasts between 150,000 to 250,000 miles. A million miles is far beyond what is expected.
How To Maintain Your Car
Before we go into our list of million mile car. Let’s first discuss what you can do to achieve that benchmark of a million miles. How to maintain the car to hit that mark with a single-engine in the best-case scenario.
The key, to making your car’s life long, is maintenance. Without maintenance, you are quickly killing your car. In most of these cars that hit a million miles, the maintenance was immaculate. Not a single oil change was skipped or delayed. That’s what made these engines’ lives so long.
The number one maintenance that you could do to a car to extend its life is to do your maintenance regularly. Especially the oil changes. If the recommended interval is 8,000 miles, you should replace the oil at 5,000 miles and make sure that the car runs on clean oil that is not burnt all the time. This will make sure that the bearings are in perfect working order and will last for a lifetime. Also, the piston rings will be thankful for this service.
The other important aspect is transmission maintenance. The transmission fluid has to be replaced regularly and you need to make sure that the transmission is running on perfectly good fluid.
Not to mention all of the services that need to be done. Because if I do, the list would be extra long.
Another important aspect is your driving style. If you drive aggressively on the road, you cannot expect the car to last for a long time. This is the case because the internals wear off quickly when the car is exposed to a lot of stress. Performance simply kills the engines and transmissions. That’s why you need to drive normally.
1. Proper Tire Care
Tires play a crucial role in a vehicle’s performance and safety. Keeping them in good shape will not only prolong their life but also the longevity of your car. Make sure to check the tire pressure regularly, as incorrect tire pressure can lead to uneven wear and tear. Rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles to ensure even wear. Also, don’t forget to have a wheel alignment done periodically.
2. Brake Maintenance
Brakes are a vital safety component of any vehicle. Make sure to check the brake fluid level regularly and replace it as recommended by the manufacturer. Also, don’t wait until the brake pads are completely worn out to replace them. If you start hearing a squeaking noise, it’s a sign that the brake pads are getting thin.
3. Coolant System
Keeping your car’s engine at the right temperature is essential for its performance and longevity. Make sure to check the coolant level regularly and top it up if necessary. Also, it is recommended to flush the coolant system and replace the coolant every 30,000 miles or as specified by the vehicle manufacturer.
4. Battery Care
A car’s battery is its power source. Without it, your vehicle won’t start. Make sure to check the battery terminals for corrosion and clean them if necessary. Also, if your battery is more than 3 years old, it is advisable to have it tested by a professional.
5. Regularly Change Air Filters
Changing your air filters regularly is crucial for maintaining the performance of your car. A clogged air filter can lead to decreased fuel efficiency, and reduced power, and can even cause the engine to stall. It is recommended to replace the air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles or as specified by the vehicle manufacturer.
6. Check Belts and Chains
Belts and chains are crucial components of your vehicle. They ensure that everything runs smoothly and synchronously. Check them regularly for wear and tear and replace them as necessary. If a belt or chain snaps while you are driving, it can cause serious damage to your vehicle.
7. Regular Inspection
Lastly, a regular inspection of your vehicle by a professional can help identify potential problems before they become serious. Make it a habit to take your car for a check-up at least once a year. Even if you think everything is fine, a professional might spot something that you missed.
8. Drive Carefully
As mentioned earlier, your driving style plays a significant role in the longevity of your car. Avoid sudden accelerations and decelerations. Try to maintain a steady speed, and don’t overload your vehicle. Also, avoid driving on rough roads as much as possible.
9. Use High-Quality Fuel
Using high-quality fuel with the right octane level for your car can improve its performance and longevity. Low-quality fuel may contain impurities that can clog the fuel injectors and lead to poor combustion.
10. Keep Your Car Clean
Regularly washing and waxing your car is not just about aesthetics. Dirt, salt, and other debris can accumulate on the surface of your car and cause rust and corrosion over time. Keeping your car clean helps to protect the paint and bodywork.
11. Replace Spark Plugs and Wires
The spark plugs and wires play a crucial role in the ignition system. Worn-out or damaged spark plugs and wires can lead to poor performance and reduced fuel efficiency. It is recommended to replace them every 30,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on your vehicle.
12. Check Suspension and Alignment
The suspension system is crucial for the handling and comfort of your vehicle. Regularly check the shocks, struts, and springs for signs of wear and tear. Also, make sure to have the wheel alignment checked at least once a year.
13. Maintain Fluid Levels
In addition to oil, transmission fluid, and coolant, there are other fluids in your vehicle that need to be checked and maintained at the proper levels, including brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid.
14. Change the Timing Belt
The timing belt is a crucial component of your engine. If it fails, it can cause significant damage to the engine. It is recommended to replace the timing belt every 60,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on your vehicle.
15. Check and Replace the Serpentine Belt
The serpentine belt powers various accessories in your vehicle, such as the alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioning compressor. Check it regularly for signs of wear and tear and replace it as necessary.
16. Keep an Eye on the Dashboard
Your vehicle’s dashboard displays important information about the condition of your car. Don’t ignore any warning lights that may come on. Consult your vehicle’s manual or a professional to understand what each light means and take appropriate action.
17. Listen to Your Car
Pay attention to any unusual noises your car makes. Squeaking, rattling, grinding, or humming sounds can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed.
18. Use the Air Conditioning Wisely
Using the air conditioning excessively can put a strain on your engine and reduce fuel efficiency. Use it sparingly and consider other ways to stay cool, such as driving with the windows down or using a sunshade.
While reaching a million miles with a single engine is a rare feat, it is definitely possible with the right maintenance and care. Regular oil changes, transmission maintenance, and tire care are just a few of the many things that can help prolong the life of your vehicle. Remember, it’s always better to prevent a problem than to fix it later. With the right care and attention, you can ensure that your vehicle will serve you well for many years to come.
Highest Mileage Cars
There are for sure a ton of cars in the world that have achieved a million miles or sometimes more but we are simply not aware of them because their owners do not want to brag about that on the internet. That’s why not all of the stories see the light of the day and we learn about their achievements.
These people are people who don’t want attention from the public and want to live a peaceful life. And I understand them. But in some cases, these million mile cars get sold to others and the stories of the cars come out publicly.
So, we highly hope that you are going to like our list of the million mile car and learn what are the most famous examples of cars that broke the million mile mark and wrote their names into the history books. Let’s find out.
Million Mile Car #1: Mercedes 240D 1976 Greek Taxi
The first car that we are going to cover is a heavyweight champion. This Mercedes managed to accumulate 2.8 million miles during its long life as a cab car.
The story came from Greece in 2004 where a Greek taxi driver managed to accumulate 2.8 million miles on this 240D Benz from 1976 until 2004. And considering the age of the vehicle and that it was used as a taxi. It is highly believable that he managed to do so.
When Mercedes understood about this car and recognized this vehicle as to the longest-running vehicle in the history of the company. Then they have decided to give the driver a new C-Class as a gift that he trusted his Benz during the long years of ownership. But in exchange, he gave them his old car that had 2.8 million miles and they have put the 240D in a museum. A good ending for such a special car.
Million Mile Car #2: 2007 Toyota Tundra
We all know about the Toyota quality, but is Toyota able to hit the 1-million-mile mark and become the million mile car? The report is that yes, it is. The Toyota Tundra has hit 1 million miles and has hit the headlines in 2016 when this was accomplished. The odometer has stopped at 999,999 only shy of a mile, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t hit the 1 million goal.
This achievement was accomplished by Victor Sheppard who used the Tundra for his oil supply job. The only issue was at 776k miles and this issue was not engine-related. When Toyota learned about this Tundra, they decided to give Victor a new Tundra for his achievement.
Then they tore the million mile Tundra apart to learn what could go wrong with a million mile car. The engine and all of the internals were in immaculate condition. That tells a lot that if you maintain a car you will see it reach these milestones.
Million Mile Car #3: Lexus LS400
If you are a car guy, you probably know the story of the million mile Lexus. This Lexus LS400 is owned by Matt Farah, a famous automotive journalist who is running his channel called The Smoking Tire where he drives and reviews cars. You can check it out if you want to.
Nevertheless, he bought this Lexus with 850,000 miles on the clock. The Lexus LS400 was properly maintained during its long life and he bought it as his daily. He actually borrowed this car from a lot of his friends. Only to hit 1 million on the clock which the Lexus actually did.
As we know Lexus is owned by Toyota and similarly to the Tundra story, this one tells us a lot that if you maintain these cars, they will last forever and run without issues.
Million Mile Car #4: BMW 325i 1990 Mobil 1
Unlike most of the cars on this list that were bought by individuals, this car was bought by a company. More precisely the American company Mobil 1 is quite known for its quality oils.
This car was purchased by them for the sole purpose of testing their oils, more precisely the synthetic oil that they were producing. And they chose the right car for this task. Which was the bulletproof 325i with a 2.5-liter engine that was one of the best engines of its generation.
The 325i hadn’t been driven anywhere as many people would think. This car was placed on a bench and was bench tested. Running on thread mill for its whole life. It was set to run at 85 mph with unlimited fuel and was tested like that for almost four years.
As the car hit 1 million miles, the mechanics tore it apart and the engine internals were like new. And that is telling you a lot about the 2.5 BMW engines at the day. They were the perfect engines in 1990.
Million Mile Car #5: Hyundai Elantra 2013
The happy owner of this car was Farrah Haines who works as a car parts delivery driver in Kansas. She managed to hit the 1 million mile mark on this car in only five years. If you do the math, that is 200,000 miles per year.
In 2019 she got herself a new Elantra by Hyundai who happily gave it to her. After this news sales of Elantra’s skyrocketed and everyone wanted to get one for themselves. That is good marketing. But also, the car was pretty much in excellent condition without taking into consideration the mileage since it was mostly driven on the highway.
Now Farrah is a happy owner of its new Elantra and if she continues driving like this, she could hit another million in 2024.
Million Mile Car #6: 1990 Honda Accord
Honda’s are regarded for their quality and endurance. Especially the older models like this Accord from 1990. This car has proven that Honda’s quality from the ’90s was on par with Toyota’s quality of today. They were basically indestructible cars that were running like forever.
The same is the case with this Accord owned by Joe LoCicero from Maine, who drove the Accord for more than two decades and hit the million mile mark. And got the nickname Million Mile Joe. Honda even showed their gratefulness to him and gifted Joe a new Accord in 2012.
When he was asked how he achieved accomplishing this benchmark, he simply answered by doing regular maintenance and keeping track of every service throughout the years. And there were quite a few service books that Joe had on his Accord. So, if you are in the market for one of these Hondas, you know what you are getting.
Million Mile Car #7: 1983 Lincoln Town Car
Now let’s cover something more American since American cars can also hit a million miles. More precisely the 1983 Lincoln Town Car. Knowing this you know that it could be more American than this. Lincoln which is the higher-end marque of Ford to hit 1 million is quite an achievement, to be honest.
And one Lincoln owner was successful to accomplish this pursuit of hitting the million. The owner’s name was Chet Belisle. He drove this land yacht from coast to coast numerous times and it never broke down. The Lincoln has hit 1.3 million miles in total and this can be considered as a record for a Lincoln.
As the owner noted. He only did the regular maintenance. He also did engine and transmission rebuild as well. And he nailed these rebuilds properly which later extended the life of the Town Car and managed to hit the 1.3 million mark. The owner also tracked each service and tune-up he did since he bought the car brand new from the dealership. It is a really remarkable story.
Million Mile Car #8: 1966 Volvo 1800S
If you thought that 2.8 million miles was insane, wait until you hear about this Volvo 1800 from 1996 that hit a remarkable 3.2 million miles on the clock. For this car, the million mile car is a joke, to be honest.
The proud owner of this Volvo is Irv Gordon who owned this car from the dealership back in 1966 brand new on Friday, and on Monday, he brought the car for service. The mechanics were, what?? You just bought the car? He put some miles on it during the weekend. And there were 1,500 miles on the clock for a single weekend.
Then in the next 10 years, he managed to hit half a million and in 1987 he hit the million mark. In 2013 when he was about to hit the 3 million mark, he decided to make a road trip from New York to Alaska. And as he said, it was one of the best experiences ever.
Million Mile Car #9: Ford Crown Victoria
Everybody cares about the million mile Tundra and the million mile Lexus. But they forget the American cars. That’s why we have another American car, which is a legend by itself. The Ford Crown Victoria has also managed to hit the 1 million mark.
The car was purchased in 2002 by a man who is now retired and wants to sell the car. He drove it in 48 states including Mexico and the car was running smoothly all its long life. The owner also took good care of it. Replacing the oil every 7,000 miles and making sure that everything is in perfect working order.
And as you can see in the video that we are going to add. The car looks like it’s genuine and is a true million mile car. And it’s a Crown Victoria. It could get better than this? I think not. This car is a true testament that if you care for a car that the car is going to last forever.
The only thing that was wrong with the car was the time at 950k miles when it started to clatter. But it turned out that only the valve guides went off and had to be replaced. The engine remained original and everything on this car looks like it has 1 million miles. In the video, you can check out the story by yourself and see the testimony of the owner and the man who bought it from the original owner.
Million Mile Car #10: 1996 Dodge Ram
Now, let’s also cover some pickups. Since cars are not the only vehicles on the road that could hit a million miles. We know that we covered the Tundra. But also, there is also something more American that hit 1 million miles.
That was a Dodge RAM 2500 that was owned by Dan Elderman. As noted, he got the truck only for the Cummins diesel that these trucks are running.
We all know Cummins and their reliability. They make one of the best diesel machines on the market and also the most reliable.
Another example of this reliability is this RAM 2500 that hit the million mile car mark. As the owner claimed. He did all of the work on the car by himself and we can see that he did an immaculate job. Getting a million miles from a Ram is really respectable.
Million Mile Car #11: 1989 Saab 900 SPG
Now let’s cover something European. More precisely something Swedish. Which is a Saab 900 SPG. Although the car was Swedish, the owner was an American from Wisconsin named Peter Gilbert.
Peter drove this car like nothing else. Achieving to hit 1 million miles from 1989 until 2006 when he decided that it was time to retire this car and this car was retired. Now it’s in the Wisconsin Auto Museum showing the reliability of Volvo.
Million Mile Car #12: Chevy Silverado 3500 HD
We covered the Tundra and the Ram. But Chevy also has an ace in the sleeve and that is the Silverado. One US couple has bought the Silverado after the Katrina disaster and they gave the truck a good run for its money. Accumulating more than 1.2 million miles in a six-year timeframe. Which is really respectable.
As they claimed, they replaced the oil every 5,000 miles. Similarly, as the other owners in this list had. Regular oil changes are the key if you want to make sure that your car is going to last for a long time. The fewer oil changes you do to your car. The less you will get out of it. That’s why to change your oil regularly and make sure that your car lasts 1 million or something closer to this.
High Mileage Cars: 15 Vehicles with a Million Miles or More
- Many cars never see more than 100,000 miles on the odometer.
- Determination, dedication, and a decent maintenance budget are needed to keep a car on the road for an extended period of time.
- 15 cars with over one million miles have been recorded and daily driven, serviced regularly, and maintained well.
- The 1964 Porsche 356C, with over one million miles, was daily driven, and serviced every 3,000 miles for over five decades.
- The 2007 Toyota Tundra, with over one million miles, was dealer-maintained and in good condition when it reached its seven-digit milestone.
- The 1989 Saab 900 SPG, with over one million miles, was driven on a daily basis and eventually donated to the Wisconsin Auto Museum.
- The 1996 Lexus LS 400, with over one million miles, was loaned to other journalists to rack up miles, making it one of the most famous mega-high-mileage cars in the world.
- The 1991 Honda Accord EX, with over 1.16 million miles, stayed in the owner’s family for two generations, ending at 1.16 million miles.
- The 2006 Ford F-250, with over 1.2 million miles, had an engine salvaged from a junkyard that ran at least another 800,000 miles.
- The 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Heavy Duty, with over 1.22 million miles, was owned by the Penningtons and was dealer-maintained.
- The 1966 Mercedes-Benz 250SE, with over 1.28 million miles, was serviced often and baby it over the years.
- The 1991 Chevrolet C1500 Silverado, with over 1.29 million miles, was regularly rust-proofed, carefully cared for, and maintained.
- The 1983 Lincoln Town Car, with over 1.3 million miles, was maintained at a Lincoln dealership and never broke down once.
- The 1963 Volkswagen Beetle, with over 1.61 million miles, required seven engines on the way to reaching this milestone.
- The 1966 Volvo P1800, with over 3.25 million miles, holds the Guinness World Record for the highest mileage, achieved by regular oil changes, following the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines, and keeping the car clean.
Million Mile Car: In Conclusion…
In this article, we have covered a lot when it comes to the topic of the million mile car. We have discussed what makes a car a million mile car. Then we learned what you can do to make sure that your car lasts that long. As we noted, doing regular oil changes is key to keeping the engine healthy and happy. Also, transmission flushes are a must to keep your transmission in check as well. Not to forget other maintenance.
Then we shared our list on the million mile car and we wrote about some examples of cars that hit this mark and some of them have gone even far beyond that. Hitting 3.2 million miles which is bonkers as the British would say.