Ask Walter Keller for a photo of his kids, and he’ll pull out a picture of a 1992 Honda station wagon with nearly a million miles on its odometer.
“I consider that one of my kids,” he says.
The 70-year-old Keller racked up more than 850,000 miles over 17 years on the Accord EX wagon. The car had about 100,000 miles when he bought it at a used car dealership in Harrisburg in 2000, he said.
“That thing took me all over,” Keller said. “Good car!”
In September 2017, he went to a Gastonia Honda dealership and traded in his old Accord for a 2014 CR-V. Now the “dependable” car he drove during his career as a courier is displayed in the McKenney-Salinas Honda’s lobby.
“I remember sitting in my office and they’re like, ‘There’s a guy here that has an Accord with 900-something thousand miles,’” Lauren Salinas Layne, the dealership’s operations director, said. “I was like, ‘No way!’”
According to Kelley Blue Book, the car has a trade-in value between $417 and $980. Asked how much he got for his Accord, “not enough ashamed to say,” Keller said.
But he’s glad the Accord is somewhere, but if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn’t have sold it.
“I don’t know what compelled me that day,” he said. “I love that old car.”
The Honda’s upkeep
When people come into McKenney-Salinas Honda to sell or trade-in, the cars normally have fewer than 100,000 miles, Layne said.
Keller’s Accord still drove and had its original engine intact, according to Layne.
Keller credited Compact Car Services for helping him keep the Accord running for so many years. Mechanics at the shop even rebuilt the transmission when the car reached 750,000 miles, he said.
“She’s a beaut,” Layne said. “Everybody loves Hondas and talks about Hondas, but it just goes to show you that if you keep them regularly maintained and serviced, the sky is almost the limit.”
The Accord only broke down on Keller once, when he was driving back from Florence, S.C., after a delivery. Its alternator went out one block away from an alternator shop, he said.
Keller said Carolina Courier Express would call him frequently because the company knew he kept his car “immaculate.”
“They always called me first because they knew my car was going to get the job done,” according to Keller.
‘Our little museum’
The dealership had a 1997 Honda Odyssey minivan with over 400,000 miles, but the Accord has become its new prized possession, Layne said.
“This is extremely rare for us to get in,” she said. “Everything is original.”
The Accord has sat for so long that it now needs a distributor and new battery to run, which could cost less than $500, sales manager David Salinas, said.
The odometer now reads 965,270.
If the car does reach a million miles, the odometer would simply reset to zero, he said.
But the Accord’s not likely to reach 1,000,000 miles. And it’s not for sale, Layne said.
Even if the Honda Heritage Center in Marysville, Ohio, called, the dealership wouldn’t sell the wagon, she said.
“This is like our little museum right here,” Layne said. “It’s a cool car!”
This story was originally published March 26, 2022 6:40 AM.