Ben Welch blames himself for driving his 1994 Chevy Suburban when he shouldn’t have. He knew his van well except for one momentary lapse when the engine warnings were more serious than he thought.
It was a long time ago and the vehicle has fared well regardless — it surpassed one million miles on the odometer without any engine overhauls.
Welch, a Vietnam veteran who has lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, since 1962, is our guest this week on The Weekly Driver Podcast.
Co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia talk with Welch about his 30-year ownership of his Suburban and his vast experiences driving the vehicle an average of about 33,000 miles per year.
Welch, according to information provided by a public relations representative, had driven the Suburban about 400,000 miles before the serpentine belt broke during a long road trip, causing the engine to overheat.
The vehicle, of course, was damaged but it “survived,” which Welch attributes to only using American-made Conklin lubrication products in his Suburban. He also cites Randy Bloom, his long-time mechanic and friend, for providing great expertise while working on the Suburban. Welch is now an independent distributor for Conklin.
When Welch bought the Suburban he planned to retain ownership for about a year and drive it for 35,000 miles trading it in for the next model year’s offering. But he didn’t like the 1995 Suburban’s appearance and some of its features. He kept his original purchase and just kept driving it.
Please join Bruce and me as we learn more about the million-mile Suburban.
Article Last Updated: December 27, 2023.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.