Going the Distance: Duane Delegan and His 390k Mile Saturn SC2

Christopher Solomon from MSN: Duane Delegan isn't shy about it, he's frugal. Superfrugal. Growing up, when the family was "really, really poor," the Chicago-area man even recalls lending his parents money from his piggy bank. So when Delegan buys a car, he makes it last. In 1994, Delegan splurged and bought a new four-cylinder Saturn SC2 for $14,000. About 390,000 miles later, the Saturn is still rolling. What's his secret? Delegan says he once read about a short-haul railroad company that saved huge amounts on maintenance by not pushing its trains beyond 80% of their limits because the top 20% of speed was where of the 80% of the wear and tear occurred. He took the lesson to heart. He rarely if ever goes faster than 60 mph, instead settling in behind a slow-moving tractor-trailer on the highway. "If you slow down on the expressways, you get in less accidents, you get less speeding tickets... you get better gas mileage," says Delegan, who now lives in a rural area near Chicago but has put both city and country miles on his car. "I just checked it the other day, and I still get 36 miles to the gallon." The Saturn has required very little: an alternator, some tires. "I think I had to replace the rear wheel bearing once, but other than that it's been OK." Every other time he fuels up, however, Delegan now has to add a quart of oil. The fact that a car like the Saturn has a plastic exterior has saved it from much rust, he adds.

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