My daily driver recently turned 100,000 miles. Yet somehow I’m the one that feels old. Actually, any sense of time passing makes me feel old.

Technically I’m probably middle age, although that seems so old just to type that. I don’t have my AARP membership yet, so I’m not getting the Denny’s discount.

I can even still remember why I walk into rooms—usually.

No, I’m more like I-remember-looking-through-a-hole-in-a-camera-to-take-a-picture old. Or these-are-not-bifocals-they’re-called-progressive-lenses old. I’m old enough to know the Year of the Cat is not one of the Chinese zodiac years. And the Sign of the Cat on tv featured a different definition of Cougar than today.

More specifically, I am I-once-owned-8-track-tapes-and-oh-gawd-all-four-of-my-cars-are-over-100,000-miles old.


Didn’t I just buy this “new” car a little while ago? Did I just blink away 4 years? Where the heck was I driving during all that time?

“Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.”
—Maya Angelou

Realizing that your car has 100,000 miles is like realizing that your baby daughter has started going to elementary school and is acting like a teenager. What?!—et, tu, Tochter?

Time is so compressing.

Back in the “old” days, rolling over 100,000 miles was a monumental achievement for a car. It wasn’t impossible, but it was certainly difficult. It was probably a combination of driving less, lower reliability, and the low shelf life of Bondo® that kept older cars from going this far.

“You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.”
—Woody Allen

Well, what does 100,000 miles on a car represent anyway?

It means no more new car smell. There’s a chip or two on the windshield, and maybe a crack on the fascia from that thing you ran over on the freeway. The shake, rattle and roll come from the body and not the radio. Everything that’s supposed to be replaced in a car is typically replaced by now.

In other words, it’s been around the block a few times. In my case, about 251,428 times. And used $14,589.64 in premium gas doing it ($63.43/week, $3,647.41/year). That’s 4,336 gallons of gas, averaging about $3.36/gallon. The car gets 23.1 mpg.

Didn’t I used to pay less than a $1/gallon when I first started driving?

Cars are generally designed to last about 10 years or 100,000 miles. When engineers design a car, the parts are usually tested to simulate a 10-year life or 100,000 miles of usage. These are accelerated tests because watching paint peel for 10 years is really boring. In today’s manufacturing world cars can easily exceed these limits. I would say that 200,000 miles is the new 100,000. Sort of like 40 is the new 30. Or so no one tells me, but I wish they would so I would feel better.

With that said, 100,000 miles is still 100,000 miles. That’s about 4 times around the earth along the equator. If you could drive one over the ocean, that is. When my cars have this many miles, I worry about what’s going to fall off or what I’ll have to replace next. I think every new noise or smell is coming from my car when I drive it.

I start thinking about cost/benefit analysis of keeping the car. My eyes start wandering to or I start getting that 4-year, 10-month, 26-day itch (my average time between car purchases).

A 100,000 mile car feels like it’s on borrowed tires.


…what’s there to lose? The car’s older, so why not throw some sticky tires on it and drive it on the race track? It’s probably on basic insurance anyway. And since you have to replace parts, why not put high performance parts in it instead? You’ve gotten your money’s worth on it. In my case, I even have a new engine raring to go.

So, Go For It!

Confession: Most of the time, I’m a big Wuss. I’m a risk-averse engineer who wants to stay married. Maybe buy a pair of shoes (or two) for my kids. And spend most of my money buying shiny, electronic, blinky things. (Hey, I’m risk-averse, not fiscally responsible.)

So, No.

I will not be tearing up road courses with my <key term for future loophole exploitation>daily driver</key term for future loophole exploitation>.

This particular car and I will try to age in a cautious, prudent way. We will continue to dutifully haul children to and from schools and soccer fields. We will drive late at night to pick up chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles on them from all-night grocery stores to bring to school the next day. We will commute daily to and from work. Maybe even hit the gym once in a while.

We will not turn off traction control in deserted, snow-covered parking lots. We will not see when does the stability control takes over on exit ramps. We will not watch Dukes of Hazzards videos where someone yells out, “yee haa!”

Even on those long and lonesome highways, when no one is looking and old people tunes are turned up way too loud on the radio, we will not glorify days gone by with a wide-open throttle salutes and a rush of adrenaline-fueled acceleration, something I could only imagine in my horsepower-less, penniless youth driving a really sad Mercury. Nope, not going to do it.

Because we’re going to totally catch up to this guy who has 3,000,000 miles on his car. Only 2,900,000 miles to go (if Irv Gordon never, ever drives his car again)!

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”
—George Bernard Shaw

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?”
—Satchel Paige

[The 100,000 Mile Club is completely, totally not like the Mile High Club. Please do not confuse the two.]

Blurry Subaru WRX STI picture
2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI

Blurry Subaru Legacy GT Limited picture
2005 Subaru Legacy GT.
I was out of the country, and couldn’t convince my wife not to drive for a week until I could take a picture.

Honda Civic Si picture
2000 Honda Civic Si
Umm… just ignore that light on the dash.

Porsche 944 Turbo
1989 Porsche 944 Turbo
(Meanwhile, somewhere in Germany…)

Blurry 1990 Chevrolet Beretta GTZ picture
1990 Chevrolet Beretta GTZ
The odometer says 100,000. Really. Just ask the NSA. They know.

Blurry 1984 Buick Skyhawk Custom picture
1984 Buick Skyhawk Custom
Yes, I know. Another crappy picture. Sorry.

Crankiness Rating: 3 out 11 (Dance with the one what brung ya.)