Surpassing 250,000 miles on a single car during its lifetime is a remarkable feat. Paul Habib, Jr. did that on his 2006 Honda Civic in just the first two years he owned it. This month, five years after buying it, he'll cross 750,000 miles. His goal? To hit over 1,000,000 miles.
This is the story of man, machine, and their ceaseless quest for long mileage glory.
The first thing to know about Habib, Jr. is his job. He delivers medical supplies and other items for a pharmacy in Kentucky. He lives near Evansville, Indiana and routinely drives to Murray, Kentucky on the southwest corner of Kentucky and then to Campbellsville in the central part of the state before returning home.
In an average week he used to hit around 3,600 miles, which means he drove the average amount an American motorist drives in a year in just three weeks. He's since chopped that down to around 2,700 miles a week. Habib, Jr. dismisses this gargantuan driving load as "Just cruise'n in Kentucky."
At the rate he's going what took "Million Mile Joe" LicCicero 22 years to do in his Honda Accord, Habib, Jr. could complete in just seven years.
He starts at around 1:30 pm five days a week and doesn't get home until near 4:00 am. He also drives a shorter shift on Saturday. On Sundays he works on his Civic and rests.
The second thing to know about Habib, Jr. is his car. It's a 2006 Honda Civic LX four-door with a manual transmission he bought used from a dealer in May 2007 with approximately 22,000 miles on the odometer. It was a replacement for his Ford Probe, which had 300,000 miles when it went out on him, and a Honda Odyssey minivan that he loved but didn't quite get the mileage he'd hoped for.
"I fell in love with the 8th gen Civic the first time I saw it on the Interstate, Habib, Jr. tells Jalopnik. "It's beautiful."
Through the first 227,000 miles the engine was all original with only plugs, filters, and a PCV valve changed. Habib, Jr. is methodical about some of his maintenance and blasé about other bits of upkeep we take for granted.
For instance, he started out changing the oil himself every 1,000 miles after the vehicle notification (if he changed it every 3K he'd have to do it more than once a week) and then traded up to a super endurance synthetic — he keeps in touch with the oil manufacturers about his progress as he's a rolling test bed for them. His spark plugs? NGK Laser Iridium plugs that are still the original after more than 600,000 miles.
Habib. Jr. keeps all of his major updates noted on this epic thread at 8thCivic.com if you're curious the kind of commitment it takes to achieve such insane distance.
Amazingly, the car almost didn't make it through the beyond the first 230k miles. In mid-2008 Habib, Jr. thought the engine died.
Post From 2008
And yes, the engine is DEAD!! it didn't free up after cooling down. After I get my new engine in (in about 2 weeks) I'm going to strip the old one down and see what the hell happened. The car was running perfectly, it was about 92 degrees out and I did some "spirited" driving around a slow f*ck (I'm blaming this indecent on him) and then pulled into the parking lot.
It turns out the starter was just jammed, so the original engine went back in after some fluids were replaced and the starter was repaired. It should also be noted he did the entire engine pull and reassembly completely DIY and impromptu because he "didn't have a shop manual to go by."
One of the best moments came at 274,000 miles when the local Honda dealer sent a note to Habib, Jr. offering to buy his current car back and sell him a new Civic for the same payment or less.
"When I got there I talked to the guy that sent the letter and told him that me may not want to do a trade-in since my car had 274,000 miles on it; you should have seen the look on his face," says Habib, Jr.
At around 342,000 miles Habib, Jr. thought it would be a good idea to finally use that backup used engine and installed it along with a used transmission. The original engine was "still running strong" but why take anything for granted?
Because of his job it ends up experiencing its fair share of abuse on the road, including numerous strikes from what he calls "kamikaze" deer darting out in front of him. With about 385,000 miles on the clock he hit one and thought the car was totaled, but after looking at the amount the insurance company was willing to pay he just decided to write it off and fix it himself, which he did for less than $2,000.
Remarkably, Habib, Jr. did most of this work in the parking lot of the apartment complex he used to live in. This is a wake up call for those of us who complain about not being able to work on our cars because we don't have garages.
By April 2011, the Civic was getting close to 1,000,000 kilometers (~621,000 miles) so he switched over to metric on the odometer with the hope of getting it to rollover but, as he learned, it just stops at 999,999 KM!
The car just surpassed 745,300 miles and is well on its way to Habib, Jr.'s goal of maxing out the odometer in miles.
"We love our loyal Honda customers," says Alicia Jones, Honda's Public Relations Manager. "Stories like these are a testament to how people have come to count on their Hondas for more than 50 years to get them to where they need to go."
So what's next for the Civic?
"I'll keep driving this car 'till I hit another deer. After that it's getting put up in the garage where I'll start rebuilding it from the ground up as my daily driver," Habib, Jr. says. "I'm hoping to find another 1st gen Ford Probe to continue my deliveries in."
If you see a well-worn galaxy grey 2006 Civic criss-crossing Kentucky some afternoon make sure to let it pass, it might be carrying a legend.