So recently I sat down with Bill Diehl, the owner of a 2003 Honda Accord coupe…with just over 600,000 miles. I had heard he was coming in for a celebration after just passing that milestone, so I thought it’d be a good opportunity for a Q and A session.
But before I get to that, I want to talk about the car.
When I first heard a guy was bringing in a car with that many miles on it, I expected it to be an older Accord, from the 90’s, as those usually tend to last a long time. I also expected the car to be in rougher shape, but to my surprise, this one was in good condition. There were a few cracks in the leather and the floorboards of the driver footwell, but everything else was nearly spotless. Now the exterior was a bit of a different story; a few scratches, dents, dings, and paint fade. But with that high mileage, you almost expect it. What’s a car without some stories and character?
Then I moved on to the engine bay. Everything was original, aside from the regular maintenance and the duct tape on the air filter It was the only bit of duct tape on the entire car. Diehl said he taped it up 120,000 miles ago.
Before our guest of honor arrived, we had cleaned it up and moved into our showroom in our certified building. When Diehl walked in, he laughed and said he had never seen it this clean, that it hasn’t been in a showroom since the day he bought it. It was a proud moment for him.
Then we sat down for the Q and A:
Did you buy the car brand new?
Yes sir, bought it in September of 2002!
How often did you have it serviced?
Whatever the recommendation was from Honda, every three or four thousand miles or so.
Were there any major issues with keeping it going for so long?
The alternator went out twice, left me stranded a couple times. The engine started burning oil around four hundred thousand miles or so. I took it in for service and the guy said it wouldn’t last another ten thousand. That was two hundred thousand miles ago. Other than that, it’s been extremely dependable. I’ve driven to over thirty states, and Canada.
Is there a secret to it?
Just the regular maintenance, you know. Taking care of it. Changing the oil and rotating the tires. I’ve had three sets of tires on it, each set lasted me one hundred thousand miles.
Has anyone offered to buy it?
Only once, the guy offered me $2000 for it.
Have you ever considered trading in or selling?
Oh no, it’s not for sale. Maybe when I hit a million I’ll give it to Honda or something.
So is that your goal? A million miles?
Yes sir, that’s the plan. A million miles. I did the math, it’ll take me another eight years to get there. It takes nearly two years or so to hit a hundred thousand, so I usually do fifty thousand miles a year. Maybe then I’ll send it up to Marysville (Honda).
How do you plan on reaching a million?
Same thing I’ve been doing, just the regular maintenance every three or four thousand miles.
What are you going to do with the car once it hits your goal?
Good question. I don’t know, Honda says they’ll give me a new one.
Is this the first Honda that you put high miles on?
Yes, but I’ve always had Hondas. And they’ve always been Accords, and they’ve always been black. This would be my third one. My first one was in 1989, with the flip-up headlights, almost looked like the Prelude.
After chatting with Diehl for a bit, I learned he had bought the car from our very own Lamont Chandler, who is now a New Car Manager. Diehl services it with us here at Honda World now, working with our Service Director Dale Greathouse ever since he bought the car.
Bill Diehl celebrates with us every hundred thousand miles he passes, and we’re honored to have him.
Keep up the good work Bill, see you at the next hundred thousand!
By Christian Olsson, Honda Genius