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Automotive Recyclers Association

By Jake Nawrocki, Rocki Top Auto

The other day I missed out on something I had been looking forward to. The odometer in my truck was getting close to reading 123,456 miles. I wanted to catch it and take a picture because I’m weird like that. I had loaned the truck to a friend and unfortunately it happened while I wasn’t along.

Have you ever stopped to consider just how many miles we drive? We take little trips to the store for a loaf of bread and some milk. We run to the hardware store for a doodad to fix the closet latch. We drive to the parts store for an oil filter or some other things, to the post office, bank, car wash or…. The list really doesn’t have an end in sight. On top of all of that “convenience” running, we commute, run sales routes, take road trips, and what have you. These excursions pile the miles on even more.

For some perspective, in 2016 one study showed Americans drive an average of around 13,700 miles per year. For reasons not explained in the study, men drive approximately 16,000 miles while women are closer to 10,000 annually. I have been unable to find a statistic that seems accurate but I would guess that the average lifespan of the model T was probably in the 30-40,000-mile range, meaning we now drive in 2-3 years more than that first massed produced car ever went. I’m certain that many T’s went many more miles than that but in the real world I expect most of them were used up and discarded.

Advances in technology have taken us to a place where cars and trucks routinely get into six digits on the odometer without ever having a major mechanical problem. I remember as a kid talking with customers on the phone, perhaps helping them find a replacement engine for their farm truck, and having to explain that 147,000 miles on the engine was no longer that high of miles. In some peoples mind it must still be. The other day I spoke with a gentleman who stated it was time for a new truck. His was “getting worn out” he said, “it has almost 90,000 on it and its just getting to be in really bad shape. I need to get a new one before this one leaves me walking”. To me that is just getting broken in! To each their own, but had I been in the same state as this guy I would have been asking how much he wanted to sell his “broken down old truck” for. Odds are that with the proper maintenance, and quality previously used parts from your local professional suppliers of quality used OEM parts, your car or truck can easily run into the 2-300,000 -mile range. Talk about getting your money’s worth!

With these miles being racked up on the roads it’s no wonder we have so many accidents. With all these cars and trucks motoring to all these destinations just by sheer numbers alone there are bound to be mishaps. If that weren’t bad enough, we have added distractions and impaired driving into the mix. Sadly, it’s not a matter of if, but when you will be in a close call or worse. Please, please keep your eyes on the road as you travel this summer. The phone can wait, the social media, game or whatever can wait, and for heaven’s sake driving chemically impaired is one of the most self-centered stupid things you could possibly do in a car.DON’T DO IT!

Sorry didn’t mean to rant. Anyway, getting back to my truck. I may have missed out on seeing a small milestone on the odometer. In this day and age, I can’t do a Ferris Bueller and run the truck in reverse, this digital stuff doesn’t work that way. I guess I’ll have to drive it a lot and catch it at 1,234,567, I think we will make it, if the Wisconsin rust doesn’t get it first.

Jake Nawrocki Rocki Top Auto 715-322-5774 •


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