The number 300 seems to carry a certain mystique. A .300 batting average in baseball makes you a slugger to be feared at the plate, a $300k salary puts you in wealthy territory, and who can forget the legendary story of the 300 Spartans?
In the automotive realm, cars with 300 horsepower were once considered the performance leaders, and when drag racers broke the 300mph mark in the quarter mile, it was a big deal event. Nowadays, 300hp vehicles are commonplace, and in some cases, the entry level model of a series. But one area remains where 300 is a truly lofty goal, and that is thousands of miles logged on the odometer.
Fifty years ago, when a vehicle rolled over 100k miles it was considered done. Major repairs were expected above 70k miles, and 100k was often called “around the horn.” Today, most vehicles don’t even recommend service items until 100k miles, and people tend to trade cars around that figure simply for the convenience of not risking a maintenance failure. Even those who keep a car 10 years might break the 200k mark, but it isn’t the norm.
Some of us may have run across a Volvo or Mercedes with badges proudly attached to the grille, boasting 300k or even 500k milestones, but I think they are testimonials to loyal preventative maintenance as much as superior engineering. Those examples aside, the 300k mile mark is a gold medal achievement for any motor vehicle.
I have devoted many words in this blog to my trusty 1995 Dodge Intrepid that clocked 275k miles before the transmission gave up the ghost. More recently, a friend of mine from the Grand Prix message board days turned over the magic 300k number on his Infiniti G35 coupe. In a way, I’m not surprised because John is literally a rocket scientist as well as a pure gearhead. Preventative maintenance goes without saying to someone who works on space programs. I also admire how fearless he is about tearing into any project or repair and reminds of the crew of engineers depicted in Apollo 13 that said, “We need to make this filter fit into this hole, using nothing but that..” You have to admire that kind of undaunted spirit. When I owned my Grand Prix, I often referred to him as “tech support.”
My 2013 Ford, “Sir Taurus The Knight Owl,” is about to crest over the 100k milestone and John has inspired me to reach for a never-before-attained personal goal. Sir Taurus has been a reliable machine since his entrance into Timmy’s Garage, and 40k miles later, he is still performing admirably. The car recently surpassed the mileage at which I originally purchased the Intrepid, so shooting to best the performance of the most reliable car I’ve ever owned is no small feat, but a sneaking notion tells me Sir Taurus is game for the challenge.
I’ve been boning up on my maintenance knowledge and gathering a bevy of products to dig in for the 100k mile service. If we are to make the magic 300k number, good wrenching must begin now. I’ve been advised to follow the heavy use maintenance schedule in the owners manual.
I know when my wife reads this she will probably have an ecstatic moment since keeping a car long-term has never been my strong suit. I have a feeling she will support this particular challenge whole-heartedly.
Sir Taurus has proven himself to be one of those rare cars that does many things well, and with 300 ponies singing under the hood, he’s off to an impressive start.
T. August Green