Road trips often lead to interesting conversations about cars.
There are two cars in my family, a 2013 Subaru Legacy that was purchased new and now has 16,000 miles on the clock, and a “new to us” 2008 Audi Q7 with a shade over 80,000 on the odometer. Driving across the state yesterday, the conversation turned to what constitutes high mileage on a vehicle. The Audi drives as if it’s just been broken-in even though the dreaded 100,000-mile mark is only about two years away.
As we spoke, the rain poured hard and we were passed by a fast-moving semi truck. Even with the wipers at full force, the tidal wave of water rendered the windshield useless.
But that truck sparked a question:
What’s the average lifespan of a semi truck? They are on the road for 12–14 hours a day for years on end. Surely 80,000 miles to a semi driver is just a moderate year, right?
With some quick research we found that used semis are available with upwards of 600,000 miles. Granted, we’re not talking the same class of vehicle as the average passenger car, but I wanted to know more. Answers on the topic range widely, but it doesn’t appear uncommon for a semi to go over a million miles before needing an engine rebuild. Many truckers say they average up to 100,000 miles per year on their rigs.
The engines in those machines are, of course, purpose-built to stand up to enormous work loads. They are also rigorously maintained, but the fact that they work so hard every day and last hundreds of thousands of miles longer than passenger-car engines drove home the point that maintenance is key to longevity.
I want both my cars to last well past the 100,00-mile mark. In fact, I see no reason why I can’t get them to 200,000 or more. When put in perspective by the semi trucks on the road, the 80,000 miles on the Audi makes her feel like a baby.
When shopping for used cars, try not to be too afraid of mileage. Always make sure the previous owner can supply maintenance records, make sure any recall work has been performed, and then spend the time and money making sure the car gets all the attention it needs while you drive it.
What’s the most mileage you’ve ever had on a car?