How Many Millions of Miles Can a Car Last?

By automotive-mag.com 6 Min Read

How long do you keep your car, and how far do you drive it? Well, lessees usually say three years and anything between 20,000 to 25,000 miles. For others, however, the vehicle has to last ten years or longer for cost reasons alone. And then there are the real mileage guzzlers with a million or more miles on the clock.

These are usually cabs, mostly from Mercedes-Benz, which is the case in a report from Grand Canary Island. According to Tenerife News, a W123 Mercedes 240D in the rather rare long version reached the milestone. The 17.6-foot-long saloon has been operating as a cab on the island since 1988. Up to seven passengers fit inside, plus the driver. The 72-horsepower diesel pairs with a five-speed manual gearbox.

Behind the record-breaking Benz is a certain Domingo, who became known as “Dominguito” in Gran Canaria, Spain. According to Tenerife News, the long 240D is used in three shifts of eight hours each. That adds up to around 435 miles per day. The car has now clocked 4.35 million miles.

However, some parts are no longer original. According to the publication, with a mileage of 3,100 miles per week, the 240D requires up to 52 oil changes every year. In addition, there are fixed maintenance intervals. For example, the OM 616 engine is thoroughly checked every 621,371 miles. The current engine is only the second unit under the hood. A replacement one is already available if required.

Dominguito passed the cab and the company to his son. In 2008, one of the drivers came up with the idea of extensively restoring the 240D and making it the company’s flagship. The new boss let him do it.

At that time, the car had a mileage of 2.4 million miles. The mileage has almost doubled since then. While the company made every effort to retain as many original parts as possible, they had to modernize the driver’s seat and steering wheel. In addition, the passenger seats were reupholstered and covered.

Mercedes-Benz W123 (1977-1985)

The body was also given some reinforcements to prevent fatigue fractures despite the constant stress. The current brakes were also taken from a more modern Mercedes.

The extra-long Mercedes W123 is set to break even more mileage records with a few spare parts from its successor, the W124. By the sixth-million mile at the latest, there will be another big celebration in Maspalomas on Gran Canaria.

The Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart is home to another mileage millionaire. It is also a 240D, a Stroke Eight in a standard version. It once belonged to Greek cab driver Gregorios Sachinidis and has an incredible 2.9 million miles. Over the years, the 200D (the 55-horsepower version) became a 240D (a bump to 65 hp, chassis and body were identical). Sachinides installed two replacement engines, and the unit was overhauled eleven times. Mercedes presented the Greek with a brand-new C200 CDI in 2004 as a farewell gift.

Irv Gordon and his Volvo P1800, who died in 2018, are still in the Guinness Book of Records. At the time of his death, he had 3,260,257 miles on the clock. In his own words, Irv Gordon never set out to break any records with his car. On a Friday in 1966, the American picked up the Volvo from the dealer—and just couldn’t stop driving. Irv brought the car back the very next Monday—the 1,500-mile inspection was due.

Volvo P1800 with three million miles

In the time that followed, the then-teacher commuted daily to his workplace in the P1800, a distance of 125 miles. The car was also used for vacation trips. After ten years, in 1976, 500,000 miles had been covered, and in 1987 the million mark was reached.
He entered his name in the Guinness Book of Records in 1998 when he drove the longest distance ever covered by a single car owner in a private car—1.69 million miles. In 2002, two million miles were on the clock; this record drive took place in Times Square in New York.

In Germany, an Audi 80 TDI has been recorded as having driven 683,508 miles, while the Toyota Collection in Cologne owns a Lexus LS 400 with 621,371 miles. Generally speaking, the investment exceeds the actual current value of such mileage. Hobbyism or a personal connection wins out over common sense here.

Will such achievements still be possible in the future? Modern cars have tons of electronics and chips on board. Some wonder whether automakers designed these vehicles to have a service life.

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