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Car Guy Diary – 8/21/2013 – The 50,000 Mile Mark

It didn't get washed this weekend, but it still looks as good as it did when I first got it 50,000 miles ago.
It didn't get washed this weekend, but it still looks as good as it did when I first got it 50,000 miles ago.
Bart R. Orlans

I’ve mentioned my daily driver in this space many times in the past. I have compared it to old cars and legendary cars. I’ve talked about maintaining it and carped about the service it got at the dealer. But now it’s time to celebrate a milestone with it.

Back on March 8th, 2011 I ignored the motoring press and consumer magazines and bought a new Chevrolet Aveo from my local dealer who has since gone out of business, and deservedly so. I changed servicing dealers to Wind Gap Chevy and my Aveo and I headed on down the road…for 50,000 miles. For 897 days we averaged 55 miles a day and 33 miles per gallon over the course of those 50,000 miles.

Another number that figures into this story is zero. That’s how many dollars I have spent on non-warranty repairs on the car. Here’s another number I am pretty pleased with. Three. That’s the number of times the car has been to the dealer for warranty repairs. Zero of those repairs prevented the car from doing its job of ferrying me to work every day. One of the repairs was a recall for “potentially defective” spark plug wires and included replacing the spark plugs that “may have been damaged” by the potentially defective spark plugs. The other two repairs were to replace defective evaporative system solenoids. These repairs were affected so quickly by my new dealer was that I barely got connected to the dealer’s free Wi-Fi before it was ready to roll.

So besides the “Check Engine” light coming on twice, what’s it been like driving Chevrolets least expensive car for 50,000 miles? The car has been anvil-like in its reliability. It starts the first time, every time. The heater blows wicked hot, the A/C blows brutal cold. All the light bulbs are the original ones and they all work. Nothing has fallen off, come loose, faded, cracked or become unusable except for the cigarette lighter, which is inconvenient but makes me think of the line from the Blues Brothers movie so I laugh it off. Fix the lighter indeed.

Performance-wise, the car is a little quicker than it was when it was new, as it has loosened up some now that it is well broken in. Fuel economy has hovered in the mid- to low-thirties for the entire trip. I have managed to squeeze a few 37-MPG tanks out of it, but most have been in the lower thirties thanks to highway speeds that might, JUST MIGHT, start with a seven. That’s a little disappointing, but it sort of balances itself out thanks to how cheap it has been to keep up.

I replaced the original tires at 25,000 miles, which seemed a little too soon, but I do take highway on and off ramps with some brio so tires are not going to last forever on a car I am driving. I’ve changed the oil using the factory recommended synthetic formulation and the air filter a few times as well. And that’s really it aside from regular washing, waxing and vacuuming.

So as I look out the office window at a car that has taken me the equivalent of around the world two times, I have to say I think you will be reading more about the little black Aveo again…and again.