Something happened today that never happened to me before. My car odometer hit
100,000 miles. I have owned, leased, or driven nineteen cars since 1971. Today was
the first time any of my cars crossed the 100,000 mile threshold.
My first two cars died in accidents. I killed them before they were anywhere near
100,000 miles. Then I had a series of Ford and GM products in the 1970s, 80s, and
90s. When I was working at Ford, I was not keeping the cars very long. We got good
deals on slightly used cars and the culture was to turn cars over and drive the latest
After I left Ford, I continued to buy Fords and then General Motors cars. I kept these
cars longer. While the quality of American cars had improved, long term reliability
was still an issue. These cars were all rattle traps and never made to even 90,000. I
maintained them, they just began to wear out around the 70,000 mile mark. They were
pretty good cars up until that mileage.
In the mid-90s, I gravitated to Toyota and Lexus. These cars would have made to
100,000 or beyond but they were leased.
In 2002, I bought a Toyota 4Runner. I had wanted this truck in 1995 but the Chevy
Blazer was $5,000 less. When my son took that car to college, I again wanted a 4
Runner, but this time General Motors was offering 0% financing and I ended up with
another Blazer. The first Blazer began to have "issues" and required repairs equal to
the value of the car. So, I gave him the second Blazer and without even checking with
GM, went to the Toyota dealership, picked out a beige 4Runner Limited and drove it
I paid it off faster than I anticipated and have owned this car for ten years and one
month. I did not drive it much in 2007 and 2008 when I had a company car, but every
other year I put about 12-13,000 miles on it.
Others that I know that have this same vintage design of 4Runner has as many 250,000
miles and their vehicles are still going strong. I look forward to my car lasting that long.
It is paid for. It runs great. Maintenance costs will be less then car payments and
maintenance for any new car I might by. It would be awesome to get another ten years
out of this truck.
100,000 is not a big deal in the large scheme of things. Many people are driving cars
with that much mileage. My mother told me today that almost all of her vehicles had at
least that much mileage. Others I know buy Mercedes or BMWs with 50,000 miles on
and drive them to 150,000 miles. My experience is only a big deal to
me. When I first started driving, the odometers were mechanical and when
they crossed 100,000
they started at zero again.
I will write about it again if I get to 200,000 miles.
File this one under: minor curiosity in the big scheme of things.