The average lifespan of a vehicle has grown in recent years. 100,000 miles used to mean it was time to start looking for another vehicle. Now, because of new technologies and an increase in quality of materials, vehicles are lasting an average of up to 150-160,000 miles.
However, there are some vehicles that have been driven much farther. I was able to get an EXCLUSIVE brief interview with one of them: THE 1966 Volvo P1800S that belongs to Irvin Gordon, who was awarded the Guinness World Record for “most miles driven by a single owner of a noncommercial vehicle” in 2014!
Before we get started, I just want to say that I have always wanted to establish a telepathic connection with an inanimate object, and I am honored that you chose to allow me to make that connection with you. I know you’re on a time crunch, so I’ll just get to the questions. First, can you please tell me a little about yourself?
“I was born sometime between 1961-1966 in a Volvo factory. My memory is not so great these days! Volvo was founded in Sweden, and was built with two things in mind: quality and safety. I grew up in Long Island, New York, which is where my owner, Irvin Gordon, was also born and raised. He bought me with most of his life’s savings in 1966 because I am so irresistible, and has been driving me ever since then. Through the years, Irv and I have been all over the country in all types of terrain and climate. We’ve seen a lot in the 3 million or so miles that we’ve driven over the past 50 years, and we’re still going strong!”
I’m too curious to beat around the bush here, so I’ll just ask now—In your experience, what is the secret to long life?
“When I was built, the manufacturers wrote a manual on how I work. Who knows me better than my creators? Follow the instructions and guides in their manual, and you will not go wrong.
The first thing I would say is that regular oil and fluid checks are definitely in order. The oils and fluids lubricate my insides, which are what make me go. If the levels are low, they should be replenished. If they are consistently low, that’s a problem, and it should be checked out by an honest mechanic that knows what he or she is doing. Irv has done that for me and I tell you, I hardly ever get sick!
Some other things to make a habit are washing and waxing. Irv washes me regularly and waxes me at least twice per year. He does this, not only because wants me to appear clean, but it helps prevent dirt and other chemicals from wearing down my paint job, which can cause chipping and other damage. Plus, it puts me in a good mood, and gives me the drive to keep driving!”
Most of those things seem like common sense, although not everyone does them. Besides those things, what else can help extend your lifespan?
“This sounds kind of weird, but develop a relationship with your vehicle. Know its ins and outs. Know what it sounds like when it’s running smoothly, and listen for sounds that are outside of the norm. Irv is constantly aware of my health, and can tell the instant I start feeling under the weather.
That brings me to another point. When you know there’s a problem, get it fixed quickly, and use genuine parts. The moment Irv notices that I’m sick, he takes me to a good, trustworthy mechanic to have me repaired. He chooses to use genuine parts because those are what were inside me when I was built. It’s important to remember that repairs can be costly, so it might be a good idea to start a vehicle “get well soon” fund for unexpected circumstances.
Lastly, like many people, I don’t like stress. It also takes me a little while to wake up. What does that mean? That means that things like “putting the pedal to the metal,” slamming on the brakes, and revving the engine are bad ideas. They put much more stress on my heart [the engine]. If it’s extremely hot or cold outside, it’s best to give me a few minutes of to sit still while running to get ready.”
What is the one thing you want people to take away from this interview?
“Treat your vehicle like a family member by following the owner’s manual, keeping on top of regular maintenance, keeping it clean, and having a trustworthy mechanic repair it immediately when something goes wrong. Do those things, and your vehicle will go far—just like I have!”
I hope you all got as much from that interview as I did. Be kind to your vehicle, and it will, in turn, be kind to you!
Please let us know the highest mileage YOUR vehicle has reached in the comments below!