Editorial

3 Things You Realize After Your Car Hits 175,000 Miles

You're basically married to it by this point, so good luck.

The other day I watched as the odometer in my 1990 E30—also known as the BMW 3 Series—hit 175,000 miles. To some people this sort of thing isn’t a big deal and may even be bad. But to the guy in this video mileage milestones are a big deal, and this moment certainly was to me. After watching my car clock 175,000 miles I realized a few things. Some of them made me feel damn good while others scared the crap out of me. If you ever hit a mileage milestone in a car you care for these feelings will be familiar.

First we’ll start with the most obvious emotion. Feeling Number 1: An intrinsic sense of pride and accomplishment. Part of the appeal of a new car is extrinsic. People congratulate you on the purchase, and if your car is especially awesome you’ll snap some necks as you drive down the street. Having other people confirm your car’s greatness naturally makes you feel good. But when you hit a mileage milestone, chances are that others in the car won’t understand why you’re so giddy. If you’re in the car alone you may need to pull over as there’s a good chance you’ll be celebrating like a madman, clapping until your hands bleed and yelling until you lose your voice. Of course all of this is just a temporary high. Pretty soon the fear creeps in.

Feeling Number 2: A fear of the future. An old car with a bunch of miles on it is bound to have some problems. Nothing lasts forever, least of all car parts. Your trips to the mechanic may become more expensive and you will likely start wondering if it’s worth the money to keep your ride on the road. Hitting 175,000 miles made you feel awesome, but there’s a ton of stuff that can go wrong on an older car with almost 200,000 miles on it. When was the last time the clutch went out? How long ago was the timing belt replaced? Do you really want to spend the time and effort on those jobs when the car itself isn’t getting any younger? Of course it’s always darkest before dawn, and this intense feeling of fear leads to a strengthened commitment to your car.

Feeling Number 3: Till death do us part. Every mileage milestone you hit further cements the unbreakable bond you have with your car. Again, if you’re driving a beater you loathe then this feeling might be alien to you. However, if you love your car and truly enjoy your time behind the wheel then chances are you’re in it to win it. For me that means driving my E30 to 200,000 miles and beyond (basically to death). Once you hit 175,000 miles you owe it to the car and yourself to hit 200k. What you do after that is your business, but chances are you’ll be like me and drive your car right into the grave. And for the record, yes, this is my E30.

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