Ten Tips to Help Make Your Car Last Three Million Miles From the Only Guy Who’s Done It

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Gordon, "Volvo’s Three Million Mile Man," swears by the regular oil changes, car washes and Volvo parts that have kept his shiny red Volvo P1800 in working order since 1966

Irv Gordon works on his record-breaking Volvo P1800, 3MillionReasons.com

"Start with a car you like. If you car isn't designed around you, you'll never go the distance," said Gordon. "Also, change your oil and filter regularly and use factory equipment parts."

In September, Long Island-native Irv Gordon will drive his 1966 Volvo P1800 in Alaska to reach a milestone no other individual has accomplished: driving three million miles in the same vehicle.

Reaching this milestone has had less to do with good fortune than it has had to do with Gordon providing meticulous care for his 1966 Volvo P1800 the past 47 years. And, while most people won’t drive their cars one million miles, nor keep them so long, Gordon offers 10 tips to help keep cars running as long as possible:

  •     Start with a car you like. To reach three million miles, you’re going to spend more than 60,000 hours driving if you average 50 mph. This means your car is going to be a home away from home. If your car isn’t designed around you, you’ll never go the distance.
  •     Change your oil and filter regularly. If there is any one maintenance activity that will extend the life of your car’s engine, this is it. Considering the relatively low cost of oil and filters, this is the cheapest insurance policy your car will ever have.
  •     Use factory equipment parts. Avoid using parts by independent companies – go with factory parts. The people who built your car can afford to experiment more than you can in an effort to select the best part. Factory parts may sometimes be more expensive, but they are definitely compatible with your car. Gordon believes in keeping his Volvo a Volvo.
  •     Use one brand of oil. Surprises are nice at birthday parties, but you don’t want them under your car’s hood. Using one brand of oil assures uniform quality and no surprises. Gordon prefers Castrol Lubricants. He has also used the same brand of tires – Bridgestone – for the last 40 years.
  •     Spend a few minutes a week checking under the hood. Even the most mechanically challenged car owners can look for low fluid levels or deterioration of belts and hoses. Also look to see that the battery connections are tight and corrosion free. These are the most common sources of trouble on the road.
  •     Wash your car regularly. Use a mild soap and wash your car by hand. In the winter, hose underneath the vehicle. A clean car gives you an excellent opportunity to look for small nicks and scratches, which may be touched up before rust begins to form.
  •     Wax at least twice a year. The value of waxing goes well beyond making your car look nicer than your neighbors’ cars. It provides protection against oxidation and rust.
  •     Develop a good working relationship with your dealer and certified-mechanic. Both are your partners over the long run. If they know you’re a serious, regular customer, they’ll give you the help and advice you need, as you need it. Gordon has been taking his P1800 to the same Volvo technician for more than 15 years, and to the same dealership – Volvoville in Huntington, N.Y. – since he purchased the car in 1966.
  •     Use gasoline from a high volume station. Those old, country-store gas stations that look like relics are just that – relics. Without heavy traffic, the gasoline remains in their storage units for extended periods of time, which causes water contamination in their fuel supply due to condensation.
  •     When your car makes a funny noise, listen to it. Don’t turn up the radio and hope that knocking noise goes away. If your car develops a condition, take it in and have it fixed quickly. The longer you wait, the greater potential for damage.

Gordon began a movement when he drove off the Volvoville lot in 1966, and that movement continues to grow through the collective experience and passion of current Volvo owners. As Gordon approaches the milestone, Volvo Cars of North America (VCNA) is bringing the nation along for the journey with a special campaign. Consumers can visit 3MillionReasons.com for additional information about Gordon's story and a map and image gallery from his road trips. Volvo lovers can also submit their own tips, favorite destinations, dream drives and memorable moments on the road.
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Kristin Sullivan
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