How To Get 400000km From One Car
Monday, September 22, 2008
My car has just driven its four hundred thousandth kilometer. This is a great distance for any car to travel - much more than I expected when I bought it 22 years ago - and I was so pleased I took this photo of the odometer to document the occasion.
Why am I so pleased? Having a reliable car is a great blessing, and not needing to regularly update to newer models has saved me a bundle of money. There’s also the satisfaction of not conforming. In Australia’s consumerist society it’s common to trade in a new car for a newer model every 5 years or so, because we are told it is more economical than driving an older car. Driving one car for as long as I have is the opposite of this, and I take pleasure in rebelling against consumerism in this way - especially when it saves me money!
I confess that my current engine and gearbox are second hand replacements … but the originals both lasted over 376000km - and that’s excellent service! With these two replacements behind me, there’s no good reason for the car not to clock up half a million km or more without further major work. I suspect the body will fall apart before the car stops working.
So what is the secret of getting long service from a car? In my case there is no secret, just plain old common sense:
- Buy something decent
- Look after it well with regular servicing
- Drive sensibly
That may not sound exciting or fashionable, but it worked for me. The following also help:
- Avoid comparing your own car with others. Depending on how yours rates in the comparison, this can lead to either envy or pride, neither of which are healthy.
- Avoid paying attention to new car advertisements and car salesmen. If your own car is mechanically sound and meeting your needs, why let yourself be tempted by the lure of something you have been happily doing without up to now?
- Think about what you really need from a car. If its prime purpose is to get from A to B reliably and comfortably, and it’s doing that, does it really matter if there are scratches, dents, and rust spots? Duct tape can cover a multitude of cosmetic inadequacies!
If your car is unsound or uneconomical, replacing it can be sensible. But if you can be content with something functional but not necessary glamorous, you might be surprised, like me, to find how long it will last.