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So your car has Fourty Thousand Miles on it?

* Sorry.  That Doesn't Count.  Anymore. *

I hear this       All.    The.    Time.

"My car has 46,000 miles on it."

Sometimes this matter, but...

Let's say a client calls with a 1981 Triumph TR8, and it has forty thousand miles on it, or why not say a 1934 MG, also with 40,000 miles on it. 

If the car was simply five years, we would use these miles as the single item to Determine Wear, and say that the car has about 10,000 miles of Wear per year. Chances are this very new vehicle has fresh fuel, little to no issues with hydraulics, and the car is tickety-boo in just about everything.

When a car such as the example 1981 TR8 has 40,000 miles on it, this now means very little, as we don't know WHEN the miles were put on. Miles are irrelevant on older vehicles as there are now two considerations to any older vehicle Machine: USE and TIME. Industrial vehicles such as tractors and forklifts measure USE (or Wear) by the amount of Hours they have been run. Road-going vehicles are measured in Miles. All vehicles are additionally measured in TIME by the YEAR produced.

If any car had 40,000 miles place on it the first two years, and it sat for many decades since, this will not be so good to jump in and drive it Safely and Reliably away. However, if the same vehicle sat for decades, then was brought back to a decent working standard, and had 40,000 miles placed on it in the last two years, chances are that is has nearly every last bug worked out of it, and it is likely a More Reliable vehicle now.

What is BMC looking for, and what do we suggest other shops inquire about your Collector car before starting repairs on a car that is more than 30 years old?

Current Use. 

Our Definition of Current Use is simply How many miles has the vehicle been used in the last Five (or Ten) Years. (We also ask if there was a reason the car was removed from service recently, or in the past.) It Matters Not- the year produced, nor the total miles on older equipment. When our check-in (Queue) form is filled in, one question noted is about current miles Driven: How many miles has the vehicle been driven in the last Five Years. As we start with this, we have a better idea of what we need to look for in a car. Rubber hardens & Rots. Liquid chemicals change properties and collect Varnish, sludge and water. Machined surfaces Deteriorate. Gaskets get soft, eaten, and fail. Certain items found around an automobile, just like a loaf of Bread, have an Expiry date, or shelf life- Batteries, Petrol, and Tyres.

Current use is just one of our Questions used before we begin. It answers a lot of questions to help us determine a proper path to get you back on the road. 


What do your thoughts drift towards when someone says they have a low mileage, 50 year old vehicle?

BMC British Automobile, brian June 9, 2024
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