How long do you keep your car and drive it? Well, lease holders would usually say three years and anything between 15,000 and 25,000 miles. For others, however, the vehicle has to last ten years or longer for cost reasons alone. And then there are the real mileage guzzlers that have a million or more miles on the clock.

These are usually taxis, mostly from Mercedes. This is also the case in a report from Gran Canaria. According to "Tenerife News", it is a Mercedes 240 D from the W 123 series in the rather rare long version. The 5.35 metre long saloon has been operating as a taxi on the island since 1988. Up to seven people fit inside, plus the driver. The only extra of the 72 PS diesel engine: a five-speed manual gearbox. 

Mercedes W 123 long-wheelbase version as a German taxi

Mercedes W 123 long-wheelbase version as a German taxi

Behind the record-breaking Benz is a certain Domingo, who became known on the Canary Island as "Dominguito". According to "Tenerife News", the long 240 D is used in three shifts of eight hours each. That adds up to around 700 kilometres (435 miles) per day. The car has now clocked up seven million kilometres (4.35 million miles).

However, some parts are no longer original. According to "Tenerife News", with a mileage of 5,000 kilometres (3,000 miles) per week, the 240 D requires up to 52 oil changes every year. In addition, there are fixed maintenance intervals. For example, the OM 616 engine is thoroughly checked every million kilometres. The current engine is only the second unit under the bonnet. A replacement is already available if required.

Dominguito passed the taxi and the company on to his son. In 2008, one of the drivers came up with the idea of extensively restoring the 240 D and making it the company's flagship. The new boss relied on his experience as a mechanic and let him do it.

Gallery: Mercedes W 123 long version (1977-1985)

At the time, the car had 3.8 million kilometres (3.1 million miles) on the clock. Since then, the mileage has almost doubled. While the company made every effort to retain as many original parts as possible, the driver's seat and steering wheel were modernised. The passenger seats were also reupholstered and covered.

The body was also given some reinforcements to prevent fatigue fractures despite the constant stress. The brakes currently installed were also taken from a more modern Mercedes.

The extra-long Mercedes W 123 is set to break even more kilometre records with a few spare parts from its successor, the W 124. By the tenth million kilometres (6.2 million miles) at the latest, there will be another big celebration in Maspalomas on Gran Canaria.

There is another kilometre millionaire in the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart. It's also a 240 D, but a Stroke Eight in a standard version. It once belonged to Greek taxi driver Gregorios Sachinidis and has a mileage of 4.6 million kilometres (2.85 million miles). Over the years, the 200 D (55 PS) became a 240 D (65 PS, chassis and body were identical). Sachinides installed two replacement engines and the unit was overhauled eleven times. As a farewell gift, Mercedes presented the Greek with a brand new C 200 CDI in 2004.

Gallery: Volvo P1800 with three million miles

Irv Gordon and his Volvo P1800, who died in 2018, are still in the Guinness Book of Records. At the time of his death, he had 3,260,257 miles (approx. 5.2 million kilometres) on the clock. In his own words, Irv Gordon never set out to break any records with his car. On a Friday in 1966, the now 74-year-old American collected the Volvo from the dealer - and simply couldn't stop driving. Irv brought the car back the very next Monday - the 1,500-mile inspection was due.

In the time that followed, the then teacher commuted daily to his workplace in the P1800, a distance of 125 miles, or just over 200 kilometres. The car was also used for holiday trips. After ten years, in 1976, 500,000 miles had been travelled, and in 1987 the million mark was broken.

He entered his name in the Guinness Book of Records in 1998 when, at 1.69 million miles, he travelled the longest distance ever driven by a single car owner in a private car. In 2002, two million miles were on the clock; this record journey took place in Times Square in New York City.

In Germany, a mileage of 1.1 million kilometres (684,000 miles) has been recorded for an Audi 80 TDI, while the Toyota Collection in Cologne owns a Lexus LS 400 with one million kilometres (621,000 miles). Generally speaking, the investment exceeds the actual current value of such mileages. Hobby or a personal connection win out over common sense here.

Will such achievements still be possible in the future? Modern cars have a huge amount of electronics and chips on board. Some people wonder whether these vehicles have been designed for a really long service life.