200,000 miles is in fact rare, only 1% of vehicles reach it

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Jan 1, 2014
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Southern California
I have bought 3 cars new:
a Chrysler LeBaron (auto) 350,000 miles+;
a Dodge Neon (stick) 400,000 miles +; and,
I currently have a Ford Focus (stick) 214,000 miles and going strong. Still has original brakes... not sure how much longer, though.
The only real problem I've had was with the LeBaron. It was on the Reliant frame with -what was fairly new at the time - front wheel drive. I replaced the CV joint twice, maybe 3 times, 40,000 or 50,000 miles each, until Chrysler re-designed the part.
 
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Mar 16, 2018
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Green Bay, Wisconsin
I really thought that more than 1% of vehicles reached 200K miles in their lifetime. I guess the good folks here at BITOG really understand how to maintain a vehicle properly. I'd guess we exceed the norm here.
Yep, lots of 1%'ers at BITOG.

In the north, vehicles have the cards stacked against them with winter not only rusting them out but also being an environment for more accidents to total them.

2004 Aztek - same Friend's mother bought new, still owns it, now it's her runabout when she's back here (Lives in AK) her friend she stays with when she's back here, has it the rest of the year, and keeps it "exercised" (old remote start install with no remaining remotes Drains the battery if it sits too long)
A $15 solar powered battery charger might fix that right up.
 
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Jul 14, 2020
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Texas
I really thought that more than 1% of vehicles reached 200K miles in their lifetime. I guess the good folks here at BITOG really understand how to maintain a vehicle properly. I'd guess we exceed the norm here.

From the Autoweek article, the top 16 vehicles that achieve 200K miles:

TI had to LOL just a little at that article... all the pictures of current-generation vehicles when talking about cars likely to reach 200k miles. The fact is its OLDER versions that are reaching 200k, not the current stuff, which is un-proven. A perfect example is the Suburban... GMT800s were well-known to last forever and are almost certainly the ones putting it on the list. GMT900s... anything BUT long-lasting. I don't know about the ones that came after the GMT900, I'd hope they're back to being a little better. Same for some of the Toyotas, I wouldn't trust a current Land Cruiser to match earlier versions or even come close.

Personally, I've only had a couple of vehicles I didn't keep to the 200k range, several much MUCH higher mileage. The record holder was my 73 Plymouth Satellite with a 318/904 that was still running at 430,000+ miles. Last I heard, it was STILL running. I don't know if the current Challenger and Grand Cherokee will go that far or if I'll get bored with them and move on before that... a lot of my keeping the 73 all those years through college, graduate school, and the first half of my career was driven by not wanting to spend money, and as I'm older that's less of an issue (though still important). The JGC is at 97k currently, and the Challenger at 75k. My daughter shows no sign of letting her 99 Cherokee go and its pushing 180k miles. And of course the Polara and R/T will leave my ownership only by the execution of my will... and the Polara is over 300k.
 
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Youngstown, NY
I had a little Toyota Yaris hit 201k, then I sold it to my brother-in-law who absolutely loves little cars for some reason. The guy collects classic mustangs, and little cars.
 
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Seeing this thread a second time got me thinking, I bet the 1% figure is correct. I wouldn’t be shocked if the percentage is even <1%. When you stop and think about how many vehicles are sold new annually it begins to make more sense.
 
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I don't think that data is accurate. I see cars in my shop regularly with over 200k miles. If they were just looking at dealer trade ins, I agree with the other posters that most cars with higher miles will be sold by the owner because dealers will not offer enough for them. Also - if this data was based on trade ins - what about after the trade in and it sells...certainly the cars continue to gain miles. I think the number of vehicles with 200k+ miles is probably closer to 30%.
 
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Of the seven vehicles I currently own, I have 2 Toyotas and a Ford with over 200k miles.

I don't know if 1% is accurate or not, but it sounds low. OTOH, look at how many junkyards are overflowing with cars and even they crush them as fast as they can for scrap after parting them out. Tens of millions don't reach 200k miles due to premature death, accidents, floods, fire, tornadoes, etc. When I shop for used cars, I'm amazed at how poorly people treat their cars. I've seen cars with relatively low miles (50k to 150k) that are absolutely trashed and more money to restore than it's worth. Sometimes I wonder WTF did this prior owner do to this poor car?!
 
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Of the seven vehicles I currently own, I have 2 Toyotas and a Ford with over 200k miles.

I don't know if 1% is accurate or not, but it sounds low. OTOH, look at how many junkyards are overflowing with cars and even they crush them as fast as they can for scrap after parting them out. Tens of millions don't reach 200k miles due to premature death, accidents, floods, fire, tornadoes, etc. When I shop for used cars, I'm amazed at how poorly people treat their cars. I've seen cars with relatively low miles (50k to 150k) that are absolutely trashed and more money to restore than it's worth. Sometimes I wonder WTF did this prior owner do to this poor car?!
You sound familiar, have you been around here before?
 
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There are 276 million vehicles (depending on the source) registered in the USA. One percent is still 2.7 million vehicles. How would a person ever get a feel about how many they have seen in person? Also, odometers have been digital for at least the last 15 years so you cannot see what the odometers are in wrecking yards since the batteries are always removed and usually the keys are gone.
The average age of a vehicle in the USA is 12 years ( from registration data). Obviously most of these cars have second owners. In short, it’s possible a lot are over 200,000 based on the 12 year average age but using trade-ins for data is futile IMHO. ;)
 
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USA
There are 276 million vehicles (depending on the source) registered in the USA. One percent is still 2.7 million vehicles. How would a person ever get a feel about how many they have seen in person? Also, odometers have been digital for at least the last 15 years so you cannot see what the odometers are in wrecking yards since the batteries are always removed and usually the keys are gone.
The average age of a vehicle in the USA is 12 years ( from registration data). Obviously most of these cars have second owners. In short, it’s possible a lot are over 200,000 based on the 12 year average age but using trade-ins for data is futile IMHO. ;)
It's an interesting discussion... I suppose we'll never know.

Growing up when I did, 70s and 80s, typical cars were just really not built very well and would die for one reason or another around 100k... They'd have fatal mechanical problems or just rust out, or die in car accidents due to poor brakes, poor handling, etc. And all vehicles in the "rust belt" midwest and north east tend to rot out in a decade, probably never reaching 200k before being scrapped.

Given the abysmal build quality of most cars up until probably the 1990s, and the dino oils used, and the 'cash for clunkers' scam...er... program, I'd feel highly confident in saying probably most common older cars just never reached 200k. And you just don't see too many pre-1990s cars on the road any more. So that narrows it to mostly post 1990s cars.

My 3 vehicles with over 200k are at 2002 Tundra with 240k (bought used last year), a 1998 Ford Explorer with 203k (bought used last year), and a 2004 4Runner with 202k miles (I bought new in 2003 and put all those miles on it). So, 2 of mine are barely over 200k. So my personal average is right at 12k since 2003 primarily in my 4Runner.

To hit 200k in a reasonable amount of time, that's 10k per year for 20 years. The "average" driver used to drive 12k per year, but that's probably a lot lower since covid and "work at home" or unemployed. My average went from about 16k annually when I was on active duty, moving and traveling constantly, and going to a distant job (even factoring deployments), to less than 5k annually working at home. IOW, it would take me 40 years to put 200k on a new vehicle if I started today. I probably won't live long enough... So take a 25 year old who buys a used car with 100k and drives 5k annually "working from home." If that person kept the car s/he would be 45 to reach 200k... Figure, also, many people have multiple vehicles each or for the family so their family "carpooling" to events/meals, etc. or a person might take a truck today or a car tomorrow, so miles are being divided among several vehicle making one vehicle very hard to put high miles on.

Taking a 10k-12k average, most vehicles would have to have been built at or before ~2001-2005 to reach 200k. So figuring there's probably only a narrow range of cars that are of sufficient build quality in the window that realistically "could" be at >200k, in a approx 2 decade window from probably around 1990ish to about 2005ish. Anything older is either a collector (low miles) or in a scrap yard or been recycled (or rarely driven b/c it's not fuel efficient or it's unreliable, or not as safe, etc.). Anything newer than 2005, is probably just not driven enough to hit 200k. Now, what percent of vehicles, unknown.
 
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eastern WA
It's an interesting discussion... I suppose we'll never know.

Growing up when I did, 70s and 80s, typical cars were just really not built very well and would die for one reason or another around 100k... They'd have fatal mechanical problems or just rust out, or die in car accidents due to poor brakes, poor handling, etc. And all vehicles in the "rust belt" midwest and north east tend to rot out in a decade, probably never reaching 200k before being scrapped.

Given the abysmal build quality of most cars up until probably the 1990s, and the dino oils used, and the 'cash for clunkers' scam...er... program, I'd feel highly confident in saying probably most common older cars just never reached 200k. And you just don't see too many pre-1990s cars on the road any more. So that narrows it to mostly post 1990s cars.

My 3 vehicles with over 200k are at 2002 Tundra with 240k (bought used last year), a 1998 Ford Explorer with 203k (bought used last year), and a 2004 4Runner with 202k miles (I bought new in 2003 and put all those miles on it). So, 2 of mine are barely over 200k. So my personal average is right at 12k since 2003 primarily in my 4Runner.

To hit 200k in a reasonable amount of time, that's 10k per year for 20 years. The "average" driver used to drive 12k per year, but that's probably a lot lower since covid and "work at home" or unemployed. My average went from about 16k annually when I was on active duty, moving and traveling constantly, and going to a distant job (even factoring deployments), to less than 5k annually working at home. IOW, it would take me 40 years to put 200k on a new vehicle if I started today. I probably won't live long enough... So take a 25 year old who buys a used car with 100k and drives 5k annually "working from home." If that person kept the car s/he would be 45 to reach 200k... Figure, also, many people have multiple vehicles each or for the family so their family "carpooling" to events/meals, etc. or a person might take a truck today or a car tomorrow, so miles are being divided among several vehicle making one vehicle very hard to put high miles on.

Taking a 10k-12k average, most vehicles would have to have been built at or before ~2001-2005 to reach 200k. So figuring there's probably only a narrow range of cars that are of sufficient build quality in the window that realistically "could" be at >200k, in a approx 2 decade window from probably around 1990ish to about 2005ish. Anything older is either a collector (low miles) or in a scrap yard or been recycled (or rarely driven b/c it's not fuel efficient or it's unreliable, or not as safe, etc.). Anything newer than 2005, is probably just not driven enough to hit 200k. Now, what percent of vehicles, unknown.
fuel injection is a big contributor to engine longevity. probably something fo do with carburetors squirting raw fuel down the cylinder walls every time you accelerate ...
 
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