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The Million-Mile Saab: One man’s quest to keep drivingNotes From The Road

The Million-Mile Saab: One man’s quest to keep driving

Peter Gilbert of Glendale, Wisconsin, spends more time on the road each week than most people would care to drive in a month. As an insurance salesman, Gilbert drives approximately five hours, which translates to about 300 miles, every day. With all of that driving, many people would get tired of being on the road and grow weary of the toll that it takes on their vehicles, but not Gilbert. Instead, with the help of Mobil 1 motor oil, Gilbert put his driving habits to work for him and set a goal to drive one million miles in his 1989 Saab SPG.

In August 2006, the odometer of Gilbert’s 1989 Saab SPG did something that is nearly unheard of; it rolled over to “000000,” signifying that it had been driven for a full one million miles. According to Gilbert, the secret to the Saab’s longevity is the level of care and maintenance that it received throughout its 17 years on the road.

We sat down with Gilbert to ask a few questions about how he managed to reach this amazing milestone:

Q. Describe your maintenance routine.

Gilbert: I change my oil every 7,500 miles using Mobil 1 0W40. I’ve found that Mobil 1 0W40 is an ideal motor oil for my needs, as it helps reduce sludge. Because today's engines run much hotter in harsher driving conditions, threats of failures due to sludge have become greater. The 0W40 viscosity is, in my opinion, especially beneficial for European Cars.

Q. Why do you use Mobil 1?

Gilbert: I use Mobil 1 because of the excessive number of miles that I drive. I don’t want to be under the car every other week doing oil changes, and I know that with Mobil 1 and regular oil changes, I’ll be well protected while driving all those miles.

Q. When did you begin using Mobil 1?

Gilbert: When I immigrated to the United States from Britain in 1976, I purchased a 1974 Saab 99 with 25,000 miles. Around that time, I saw a magazine ad for Mobil 1. I have a strong appreciation of science, and I was convinced that synthetic oil had to be a better solution to lubrication. Since then, I have driven approximately 2.5 million miles with synthetic oil.

Q. Do you have any advice for drivers who aspire to reach the million-mile mark on their vehicles?

Gilbert: To reach a million miles, one has to change the fluids at least as frequently as recommended by the manufacturer, if not more often than that. I’d recommend changing the power-steering fluid every 30,000 miles, changing the brake fluid every two years, changing air and fuel filters regularly, and also changing the coolant every year or every 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. Also, be sure to rotate the vehicles tires no later than every 7,500 miles. Above all, use Mobil 1 products in every part of the car, even the synthetic grease for CV joints.

On October 28, 2006, Gilbert’s prized 1989 Saab SPG arrived at the Wisconsin Auto Museum in Hartford, Wisconsin, where it was put into retirement and will remain for years to come. The odometer reads 4,777 miles.
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