300,000-Mile Peugeot 205: Why Maintenance Is A Virtue

At what mileage would the average car be considered over the hill?

Most might get a bit wary when a car passes 100,000 miles. By then, items that need replacing might start getting larger and more expensive. Some might even be put off by a car with no more than 50,000 miles on the clock.

How about 338,000 miles?

If you saw such a car in the classified ads you might be tempted to run a mile, but one owner clocked up that tally in a humble 1990 Peugeot 205. And, while owner John Clive is now sadly deceased, his 205 would no doubt go on for many more miles if given the right treatment.

To us, it's a remarkable story. Not because it was a Peugeot 205 in particular, but because so few other vehicles reach such a milestone.

There's no real reason that many vehicles shouldn't tick over 300,000 miles with few issues, particularly as cars get newer. The computer design and incredible tolerances of modern production means the mechanical aspects of cars are increasingly reliable, and rustproofing is improving all the time too, rendering more vehicles usable for longer.

Trim materials are more hardy, cars are less susceptible to leaks, they're safer, easier to drive... yet few cars break 200,000 miles, let alone 300,000.

Peugeot 205 300k odo

That's because there's one weak link left in the chain: You.

Well, maybe not you specifically, but the owner in general. Like mobile phones, televisions, laptops, clothing and many other products these days, cars are increasingly treated as disposable goods. People skimp on maintenance, kerb alloy wheels, scrape bumpers and don't clean their cars regularly. And over tens of thousands of miles, it all takes its toll.

Even if you always want the latest product and the flashiest car, there are still benefits to looking after the one you have.

For a start, it'll be more reliable. Okay, electrical gremlins are largely out of your hands, but servicing and cleaning isn't. Servicing keeps everything running as it should be and ensures components remain lubricated and within their safe tolerances - that includes your tyres and brakes.

And the effects of a clean car are twofold - not only will it keep the paintwork in good condition and minimise the risk of trapping dirt which can lead to rust, but there's a psychological effect too. Put simply, you're more likely to take care of a clean car.

Finally, when you're bored of the car you have and want a new one, which do you reckon will get you more money at trade-in - the car you've kerbed, scraped and filled with rubbish, or the car you've looked after, kept up its service history and cleaned each weekend?

Peugeot 208

As for John Clive's 205, it's getting a second lease of life.

His wife Penny has handed it to a local college to train the next generation of mechanics.

You might even say it's a virtuous circle. Maybe one day, with good driving and the right maintenance, one of those mechanics will be working on your own 300,000-mile car, amazed at its longevity...

For more information check out our full summary of the Peugeot 208 alongside reviews, stats, photos and videos!

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