Often we look at cars that have low mileage when searching for a used car to buy. This is because of less wear and tear to the engine and body, but also because with regular maintenance (as you will read from those who have managed to clock over a million miles in their purchase), you can run a car for many years accumulating many hundreds of thousands of miles. So let’s take a look at the makes and models of cars that have managed to achieve more than a million miles.
Nissan Frontier/Navara (2007)
Courier driver Brian Murphy from Chicago drove his Frontier 300-400 miles per day over the 13 years it took to reach the one million mile marker. His secret is to change the oil every 10,000 miles, keep it clean and protected against moisture and rust, and drive sensibly. He replaced the original clutch at 801,000 miles, replaced the timing chain at 700,000 miles, and the alternator and radiator at 450,000 miles. He did have to replace the driver’s seat at around 450,000 as well. Nissan were so impressed, they featured Brian’s pickup at the Chicago Auto Show and gave him a new replacement.
Chevrolet Silverado (1991, 2006)
Back in 1996, Frank Oresnik bought his five-year old used Chevrolet Silverado when it had just 41,000 miles on the odometer. He did use it for a lot of towing, but drove it carefully driving around 80,000 miles per year breaking the one million mile barrier in 2008. He decided when he bought the pickup truck that he was going to keep it for as long as possible as he couldn’t afford to update every couple or five years, and didn’t want to put himself into debt for a newer model.
The 2006 Silverado 3500 HD fitted with a GM Duramax diesel engine drove a staggering one million miles in just six years. Owners Hugh and Tammy Pennington used it to deliver trailers (some trailers nearly 40 feet long) to car dealerships across North America. They would accumulate roughly 166,000 miles per year, and even loved driving it so much, they always went on long-distance road-trips in it.
Honda Accord (1990, 1994)
Honda have a proven record for reliability which spans at least four decades, and even I have had a couple of Accords at one time or another which I have been very happy with. It’s then no surprise that I found not one, but two models that easily topped the one million mile target. The used 1990 model was purchased by Maine resident Joe LoCicero in 1996 with 74,000 miles already driven. As a vehicle inspector, Joe traveled nearly 5,000 miles a month for his job, and eventually reached the one million milestone in the Autumn of 2011. Inspired by his achievement, the local Honda dealership presented Joe with a brand new Honda Accord celebrating his vigilant preventative maintenance and regular oil changes.
The 1994 model was owned by David Witte from Timonium in Maryland. David was a self-employed route-mapper that required him to virtually live in his car for long periods of time. The millionth mile was reached on Route 340 in West Virginia back in May 2001 – just seven years after it rolled off the new-car factory line.
Honda Civic (2008)
Darrell “Doc” Gould drives around 4,000 miles per week with his delivery job in Missouri which takes him to St. Louis and Des Moines, Iowa. He admits to loving long road trips and says the secret to staying alert on the road is to have a quick 20 minute nap every couple of hours. His reliable Civic sedan managed the journeys with no problems, and is testimony to Honda’s reputation for reliability.
Lexus LS (1996)
American auto journalist Matt Farah decided he wanted to find a high mileage vehicle for the sole purpose of taking it over that magic million mile. So after searching around he purchased a 1996 Lexus in December of 2014 with a whopping 897,000 miles on its original four-liter V8 Toyota 1UZ-FE engine off its third owner who ran the car for more than 700,000 of its driving life. Satisfied with its solid service history, Farah enlisted the help of friends to accumulate the miles over the next five years before he found himself at the wheel in 2019 when it hit the million miles.
SAAB 900 (1989)
SAAB are renowned for building some of the best airplane engines and some of the best automotive engines as well. I should know, I had one for six years with no problems whatsoever. It’s no surprise then to find one that achieved the million miles, in fact reaching 1,001,385 miles in 2006 when owner Peter Gilbert kindly donated it to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum near Milwaukee. When SAAB found out, they gave him a 2007 9-5 Aero as a thank you.
Toyota Tundra (2007)
The proof that these are sturdy and reliable pickups is the fact that two of these 2007 models were bought by friends Victor Sheppard and Aaron Morvant who both drove them over the one million mile mark. Victor surrendered his model to Toyota in 2016 after driving 1,020,130 miles, where they dismantled it for inspection before giving him a brand new Tundra in return.
Hyundai Elantra (2013)
Farrah Haines racked up a million miles in only five years (200,000 miles per year). The car parts delivery driver from Olathe in Kansas received a package containing keys to a new 2019 Elantra from Hyundai in recognition of her amazing achievement.
The common theme reading through these stories is that regular maintenance and good driving habits are key. There’s also a recurring pattern here which is that car companies are giving away free cars to those who reach the golden milestone – whether it’s a new or used car purchased by the current owner. This could be an incentive for purchasing a quality used car if you are planning long road trips or working as a courier.