High Mileage Stories

Odometer:  511,358

One of my favorite things about Drive to Five is that it has brought so many other Honda and Acura fans out of the woodwork to share their similar mileage successes with me.  I have a new friend named Tim from New Jersey who drives this beautiful 2003 Honda Accord coupe that recently crossed a milestone.  I welcome Tim to the 150,000 mile club!  His car still looks fantastic and from the sounds of things, he’s maintaining it carefully so that it will no doubt cross the 200,000 mile mark and beyond.

Some of my readers will also remember when in a prior post I mentioned Matt Marion, editor at Mens Health, who took his green 2001 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T to 500,000 miles on its original drivetrain.  The car was donated to science, so to speak, and engineers at VW headquarters disassembled the motor to assess its condition after all those miles.  The results were pretty remarkable.  Matt shared his story on the Mens Health blog here, complete with a video.

Congratulations, Matt!  (And Matt’s Jetta, which will now live on in other Jettas since its parts have been donated).

I also love to check in periodically at HondaBeat.com.   There’s a special section of that page dedicated to people like me who have had such great ownership experiences with Honda products.  I first submitted my Legend to the page in October, 2005 when it had 194,000 miles.  Following was that initial entry.  I was rolling around on 17″ RSX Type S wheels at the time:

I’ve since followed up with the website administrator, Ellen, multiple times and she’s posted my latest mileage status each time:

  • November, 2007 (300,000 miles)
  • January, 2010 (400,000 miles)
  • November, 2011 (500,000 miles)

The page is searchable which is handy if you’re wondering about high mileage stories of any Honda or Acura model in particular.

Lastly, a special feature for today’s post:   A “Guest Editorial” of sorts.  We all know that well-maintained Hondas seem to last forever.  I’ve known that since long before I started obsessing over getting my own Acura to the 500,000 mile mark.  And I recently shared with my readers that one of my Honda loves has always been the 1988-1991 Honda Prelude, which I shared in a previous post.

One of the key sources of inspiration early on in my Honda-owning history was my friend Chris who lives in Maryland.  Chris and I were both members of the now-obsolete http://www.hondaprelude.com website & forum back in the late 1990’s.  Chris’ car, at around 250,000 miles, was one of the highest mileage vehicles I knew of at the time.  I looked up to his example and set a personal goal of reaching that milestone with my own car at the time, a 1989 Prelude Si that looked just like Chris’ ride.

My Prelude is the red one pictured here.  It had a mere 155,000 miles on the odometer.  These are pictures from the first “meet” I ever attended with any vehicle – held in May 2000 at the Excalibur Casino parking structure in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It wasn’t until November 2008, when I was on a cross-country road trip from AZ to PA and back that I had a chance to actually shake Chris’ hand and sit behind the wheel in his famous Prelude in Maryland, which had 393,565 miles on it at the time.  My Legend had just over 352,000 on it then.

Following is Chris’ story (in his own words) about this Prelude, followed by a photo journal of some of his car’s history.

The abridged 2-owner history of “Highmileage:”

I purchased a bright red 1988 Prelude 2.0 Si from the original owner in February of 1999 for $4800.  The title and odometer read nearly 227,000 miles.  The main reasons why I bought this car were (1) its service history was fully documented from its late 1987 purchase thru present and (2) I was curious how long it would last before it blew up.  I wanted to know how many ORIGINAL miles a Honda would go.

The $4800 I paid for it was a little much but some one repair on the suspension had just been completed and a total repaint and clear coat was done within the last year.  Though the car was 11 years old with well over 200,000 miles; it LOOKED like it was just off the showroom floor and I had to have it.  A quick trip to the credit union and a signature later I bought my first car.

I had Highmileage for 10 years and drove it through MD, DE, PA, NJ, VA, NC, TN, OH, MI and WV.  I drove it, I babied it, I thrashed it with 100-120 mph highway runs in it, I raced it at Summit Point Raceway in WV,  and I took it to numerous car shows before it started rusting.  I took it to the beach dozens of times and it was my prized ride back in 2003 as I left the church with my new bride.  The car was adorned with very large underwear, silly string, soda cans, you name it in tow towards our hotel the night we got married.

Her last car show was the 2004 National Prelude Meet in Pittsburgh PAwhere she won 3rd place with nearly 350,000 miles.  Not long after that 2004 show the numerous Maryland winters with salt started to take their toll on the car and her outward appearance started to go down hill.

April 23, 2009 was her last day on the road.  That week my mother-in-law borrowed it while her car was in the shop having some body work done.  Due to lack of driving at this stage it was stuck around 398,000 miles and I knew with her 100+ mile commute she could easily get me closer to 400,000 miles.  After stalling 2-3 times the car wouldn’t restart.  The front camshaft was seizing up and the timing belt sheared the pulley off the shaft in my hands during troubleshooting.  The odometer showed 399,525 miles.  Due to a broken speedometer cable in 2000 this car easily had over 400,000 miles as I was returning from Detroit to Maryland when it snapped.  The outward condition of the car at this point was poor and at this point it was time to let it go.

August 1st 2009 I rented a trailer and towed it to the junkyard with my Toyota Sequoia

where it was put in the lot for pickers to grab parts off of.  I visited it every week or two and a few parts were taken off the car but nothing major.  After about 2 months; she was gone.

I’m now 35 years old and my twins are 6.  I’m still a car guy per say but haven’t found the next toy to run up and down the highways.  I’ve tried to find the elusive rust-free Prelude, Acura Legend or another rare car that isn’t seen very often but until then I will always remember the good times had with Highmileage!

-Christopher Miller

Havre de Grace MD

Email millafied@comcast.net for the full story.

The car in its prime early days.

Outstanding Award that Chris received at the Churchville Car & Truck Show on Memorial Day weekend, 2000.

October 1, 2001 – at 300,000 miles.  Photo that Chris sent to his friend at Apple Honda of York, PA who helped with the Prelude’s maintenance.

Happy day at 300k!

Chris received as an honorable mention at the Ocean City car show in June 2002.

This car was the getaway car after Chris’ wedding to his wife Kera.

And finally, in later years.

The car’s last day – odometer at 399,525 miles.

August 1, 2009 – final walkaround video here:

The story, though, has a happy ending.  Several weeks ago, Chris picked up a gorgeous 1991 Prelude Si 4WS with only 207,000 on the odometer.

Thanks, Chris, for sharing your story and for your enthusiasm for Honda!

14 Responses to “High Mileage Stories”

  1. Tyler S. Says:

    Excellent stories all around and inspiration to keep these cars on the road. Chris, if you see this, congratulations! The new ’91 is a beauty.

  2. I will never hear or read the word “disassemble” without thinking of a certain movie featuring a robot. :). It is always a pleasure to read another entry in your Drive to Five blog. Yoir resources are innumerable. I would like to see your organization system for a dozen plus years” worth of photos, my son, Tyson. Ride on!

  3. Tyson.. imagine if I drove as much as I do in a single vehicle. I was doing some calculations and in one month I can drive around 7,400 miles. That would equate to roughly 89,000 miles a year. Good thing that each of my vehicles gets put to sufficient use! Two Honda products and one Lexus in my stable right now… Looking forward to more info on the ILX, which is actually growing a bit on me. If I only had $26,000 to spend on a new car (I bet the ILX will have very attractive lease options) my options would be numerous. Wouldn’t you rather have an ILX instead of an Accord EX?

    • That’s a good comparison Mr. Stoker and thanks for the insight. Indeed I think the ILX is a great value for the money! I think the IS350 is one of the finest cars you’ve owned to date. You simply cannot go wrong with Acura OR Lexus. Great engineered vehicles. Just don’t tell Matt I didn’t include Infiniti in that statement 😉

  4. Love your article. I currently have a 1989 Acura Legend coupe with 335,000 miles. Not my daily driver, but just did a 1600 rt to Seattle and back, a couple runs to Boise (1200 each), and at least 300 miles per month in central cali road trips. Yes, happy with Honda products.

    • Hey Jay, thanks for the note! I would love to see some pictures and hear more about your 1989 coupe. They are great cars. A few months ago I restored a 1988 L coupe automatic (Persian Red Metallic) and sold it to a collector. How long have you had your 1989?

  5. Tim Thuston Says:

    2001 Toyota Sequoia just rolled over 370,000 with original engine and transmission…..And running strong

  6. […] on what I have seen from Drivetofive’s blog, Honda cars have the potential to go to 500,000 miles and beyond. Apparently, our car is […]

  7. Tony Merritt Says:

    I was a member of hp.com under the screen name Tszyu1. That was the first forum I ever joined and to this day I still miss it. Chris put a lot of work (and money) into that endeavor and I would like him to know that it was all greatly appreciated. I was one of the 51 Preludes at the 2001 NOPI Nationals in Atlanta where Chris and hp.com won “Best Attendance” by a car club. Although I am 100% certain he doesn’t remember it, Chris gave me an extra hp.com sticker when I screwed up one of the ones I had just purchased from him while applying it at the show. Those stickers remained on my side glass until about two years ago when they finally faded to invisibility.
    Although I am currently a member of several Prelude-centric forums (and of course Honda-tech.com), I will always be grateful to Chris for creating hondaprelude.com in those early years for enthusiasts of the model.
    As a current (and very active) member of Cesar Puente Amog’s Facebook community BBAllianceTB, I want Chris to know that the Prelude community is still alive and enthusiastic as ever!
    I am going on 16 years of driving my current Prelude (1997 Type SH) daily. My wife sometimes jokes that she would be afraid to ask me to choose between the Lude and her, lol!
    In closing, I would once again like to thank Chris for the best Prelude forum ever to grace the internet.

    • Hey Tony, it’s great to hear from you and thanks for commenting. I’ve been out of the Prelude scene for some time now, but I do very well recall the great sense of camaraderie among the owners and enthusiasts. Someday I will get back into a 3rd gen again. Do you happen to have any of Chris’ contact info? I’d love to check in with him and see what he’s up to, 15+ years later.

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