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Miles come easy for car nearing 25 years old

Staff writer

Warren Smith of Florence remembered the first time laying eyes on his 1991 white Toyota Corolla wagon at Eddie’s Toyota in Wichita.

“Something about it beckoned to me and said, ‘You need this car,’” Smith said. “And so I bought it.”

That was 23 years ago. It was a good beckoning. The car, 459,096 miles later, still runs like a deer.

“I’m pretty proud of it,” Smith said. “I bought it when people didn’t want to buy wagons. I liked it, the extra space in the back.”

Smith has used the Corolla as his everyday car since buying it. He drove it from Florence to his job at Hesston Corp.

“I treated this car like it was my little sister,” he said. “I considered it a female. You’ve got to be very tolerant of it, but I’ve almost had no problems with it.”

He said he’s never had to replace a major part, just tires, batteries, and things that aren’t meant to last a long time.

“I love the fact that I haven’t put any money in it to speak of,” he said. “I told somebody I could put a bushel of money in the back seat there for all the money I’ve saved with this car.”

Smith said the car gets 41 miles per gallon on the highway. He’s taken it around the region and the country, to California, Washington, Idaho, and Nebraska, among other states.

At 66 years old, he’s looking to travel more.

“I’m gonna go all over the United States and Canada,” Smith said. “I’m thinking about driving this car. I’m gonna travel, you know what I mean? I’ve got a chance to travel, and I want to do it.”

Smith uses synthetic oil in the five-speed car and changes the fluid regularly to keep it in tiptop shape. He also has a 1964 Chevrolet pickup truck with around 200,000 miles on it. He says it also still runs well.

“That’s what happens when you take care of things,” he said. “They last a long time, and you get your money’s worth out of ’em.”

He said he’s considered buying a new Toyota, not that he would give away his old one.

“I’ll drive both of them,” he said. “I’ve been good to this car, and it’s been good to me. It’s got a lot of miles, but they’ve been easy miles.”

Last modified May 27, 2015

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