If your truck hit 500,000 miles, what would you do? Keep it until the wheels fall off. Trade it in for a new bigger one? Or, all of the above.
I know what Dudley Thomas of New Braunfels, Texas, did. He bought his first new truck — a 1995 Chevy Silverado 1500 – which now has more than 500,000+ miles on the odometer. Kept it when he heard what its fate would be. And purchased new 2013 Silverado 2500 last week at the same dealership that sold him its reliable old stable buddy.
When I interviewed him last week, he had a lot to say about his old truck and what is a real love affair with the brand and the dealership. It is a love affair that I don’t think his wife minds a bit.
When Dudley purchased his new truck for $23,000 eighteen years ago, it had lots of fine upgrades, as you can see from both the interior and exterior photos. There was a good reason for buying new: a 100-mile-a-day commute between Austin or San Antonio and his home in New Braunfels.
The dealer, then called New Braunfels Chevrolet, would get to know that truck almost as well as Dudley does. Now called Valmark Chevrolet, that dealership has been the sole servicer of the 1995 Chevy Silverado the entire time.
“When something seemed off,” Thomas says, “I would drop the truck off, tell them what I was experiencing, and have them call me when it was ready to pick up.”
That service included regular maintenance, a new engine and transmission at about 275,000 miles, brakes and tires, but — according to both the owner and dealer — there were no problems that required extra attention.
“I know it’s unusual to have the dealer provide regular service after the warranty is up but if I was going to keep it running well and get it to a half-million miles (which was always my intention) I knew it would need TLC,” Thomas adds. It was his strategy.
The relationship was so unique that, when the odometer showed that there was only 17 miles to the 500,000-mile mark, he had the service manager at Valmark drive it over that very symbolic mileage mark.
The old Silverado had only been used to pull a small trailer, but Thomas wanted a truck that could tow a bigger load and so the process of choosing a new truck began. This time it was to be a 2013 Silverado 2500 which would also be more comfortable for travelling.
The dealer would have taken the old truck in trade, but the owner asked the question, “what will be done with it?” When he was told that it would be jobbed out, he asked the question again. The answer this time was answer was, “you don’t want to know”.
So the decision was made. Rather than the 1995 with 500,000 miles being turned into an ugly little block of steel, Thomas took it home, along with his new truck. He says that he intends, with the dealership’s help, to get that one to a half-million, too.
As an aside, Dudley Thomas told me that he kept the old truck because it would get him into narrower spots, but I think the love affair simply wasn’t over.
And, before you ask for Mr. Thomas’ phone number so you can get a leg up on buying that old Silverado if he changes his mind, don’t bother. I’ve told him that I am first in line for that honor.