Run, baby, run

Photo of Karen Mansfield
by Karen Mansfield
Staff Writer
Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Above, Cassie Allen said her Subaru runs fine, and with regular maintance she hopes to keep driving it for several more years. Order a Print

PJ Guyton’s baby has some miles on her.

About 343,000 miles, to be exact.

Guyton’s Audi A4 – which he purchased brand new in 1999 when he traded in his Toyota Corolla with 303,000 miles on it – has survived more than twice as long as the average car, which lasts about 150,000 miles.

“It’s not that he was trying to get that many miles out of the car. He’s attached to the car, it drives nice and it gets him to where he want to go, so why get rid of it?” said Guyton’s wife, Valerie.

According to Tom McRory, service director at John Sisson Motors in Washington, the average life expectancy of a vehicle today is about 12 years.

“It’s a feat for a car to reach that many miles. It’s an accomplishment just to trust the car. After 150,000 miles, people get scared and start thinking something’s going to go wrong, or waiting for something bad to happen,” said McRory.

Guyton racked up most of the miles when he commuted daily to Morgantown, W.Va., for work from his North Strabane Township home.

Other than worn leather, the maroon-colored car looks almost brand new.

The best part of owning a car for 14 years just might be not having a car payment for the past 10 years.

“He’s more than gotten his money out of it,” said McRory.

Guyton said he changes the oil religiously, washes the body regularly with Turtle Wax car wash and waxes it twice a year.

He’s also had to replace a few parts because of wear and tear over the past 14 years, but the car still has its original engine.

“It’s been a great car,” Guyton said.

Cassie Allen’s 2000 Subaru Impreza is approaching 300,000 miles, and the North Strabane Township resident is doing her best to help it reach that milestone – with a little help from her fiance, Chris Augenstein, who three years ago rescued the car from the scrap heap and turned it into a dependable little ride.

Allen purchased the car for $300 after Augenstein, an electrician, saw it sitting in a yard with four flat tires, a dead battery, a cracked windshield, duct tape on a rusted-out moon roof – and 270,995 miles on the odometer.

But Augenstein liked the all-wheel-drive vehicle and knew he could get it running and repair the body.

He put in about $1,500 worth of repairs, and the car has run well ever since.

“It’s served me well,” said Allen, who named the car Subie Sue.

“This is my first car of my own, and I love it. The day I will have to get rid of it will be the day I will shed a tear.”

Amy Faccenda, service adviser at Budd Baer Inc. in Washington, said the secret to making a car last a long time is preventive maintenance.

“The key is to give them love with preventive maintenance and taking care of repairs before they get bad,” said Faccenda. “Change your oil regularly, replace you fluids and bring it to the same dealership so the same team is taking care of it. We do live in an area where a lot of salt ends up on cars during the winter, so wash it off and keep your coat looking as new as possible. Your car can last for a long time. If you give them love, they’ll love you back for a long time.”

Guyton has no plans to trade in his car anytime soon.

Allen is looking for another Subaru, but isn’t in a hurry to get rid of her Impreza.

“I love my car,” said Allen. “I’m wondering why it couldn’t have been in my life sooner.”