What is Good Mileage for a Used Car?

What is Good Mileage for a Used Car?

If you’re planning to buy a pre-owned vehicle, you probably have been wondering what is considered good mileage for a used car. But figuring out what constitutes good mileage can be tricky, as various factors come into play.

In this comprehensive guide, we will be examining what can be considered good mileage, how to identify excessive mileage, the impact of low mileage, and the eternal debate of age versus mileage. We'll also explore the pros and cons of purchasing a high mileage used car.

We hope this guide will help you choose your next pre-owned vehicle.

If you don't want to read the full article, here are the key points you may want to know:

  • Good mileage for a used car is around 20,000 km (12,400 mi) per year.
  • Mileage assessment also depends on factors like make, model, maintenance, and driving conditions.
  • Excessive mileage concerns start beyond 185,000 km, but well-maintained cars can last longer.
  • Low mileage isn't always better; it can lead to other issues due to infrequent use.
  • Consider both age and mileage when buying a used car for a more informed decision.

Why You Can Trust Our Opinion

With more than 20 years of experience in the auto industry and a strong track record in used car sales, Kaizen Auto is your reliable source for understanding what constitutes good mileage for a used car. We've worked with thousands of vehicles, and our expert sales advisors and technicians share their unbiased opinions to help others make informed decisions. We're known for delivering trustworthy and straightforward advice to our customers when buying a pre-owned vehicle.

What Can be Considered a Good Mileage for a Used Car?

When estimating the mileage of a used car, the average mileage typically falls within the range of 20,000 km (12,400 mi) per year. By dividing the odometer reading by the car's age in years, one can assess its annual average mileage. However, good mileage isn't solely defined by numbers; the car's make, model, maintenance history, and driving conditions play vital roles. A well-maintained car with 190,000 kilometres might be in better condition than a neglected one with significantly lower mileage.

What is Good Mileage for a Used Car

How to Tell That a Car Has Too Much Mileage?

Excessive mileage, often considered beyond 185,000 km, can raise concerns about a vehicle's longevity and maintenance costs. However, advancements in automotive technology mean cars can endure well beyond this mark if they’re taken care of. You should consider factors like the car's overall condition, maintenance and service history, ownership history, and driving environment to evaluate the vehicle’s true roadworthiness.

Here are some indicators to look into when considering whether the car has too much mileage:

Wear and Tear

  • Exterior Condition: Check for rust, dents, and scratches. Check for uneven gaps between different body parts. Excessive damage or larger gaps might indicate the car has been heavily used, been in accidents or had significant repairs.
  • Interior Wear: Look at the condition of seats, pedals, and steering wheel. Check for water marks on the interior roof. Excessive wear or water stains suggests high usage and leakage.

Maintenance Records

  • Service History: A well-documented service history with routine visits is often a sign of responsible ownership. Even if the vehicle has higher mileage, you know it’s been regularly checked and well maintained.
  • Major Repairs: Check if the car has undergone significant repairs. Frequent repairs might signal high mileage-related issues. Check if the car had any costly repairs as well, which can be an indication that it’s been in a major accident.

Odometer Reading

  • Compare to Age: Calculate the average yearly mileage based on the car's age. As mentioned earlier, on average, a car does about 20,000 km per year. Significantly higher mileage might be a concern.
  • Digital vs. Analog Odometer: When checking the odometer, bear in mind that digital ones are harder to tamper with than analog ones.

Engine Condition

  • Start-up Sounds: Listen for unusual noises during startup. Engine rattles or knocks could indicate wear and can be costly to repair.
  • Exhaust Emissions: Excessive smoke or unusual smells might suggest engine problems as well.

Test Drive

  • Smoothness: Assess how the car handles. Excessive vibrations or difficulty in gear shifting could point to issues in the transmission.
  • Braking: Check the braking system for responsiveness. Worn-out brakes might indicate heavy usage, or not enough maintenance as the breaks should be regularly checked and changed.

By considering these factors, you can make a more informed decision about the mileage. Next, let's explore the topic of whether there can be too little mileage on a used car.

What is Good Mileage for a Used Car

Can There Be Too Little Mileage on a Used Car?

While low mileage might seem like an ideal choice, especially for those seeking a car with less wear and tear, it can also present challenges. Cars with exceptionally low mileage might indicate infrequent use or long periods of inactivity. In such cases, some components may deteriorate due to lack of lubrication and movement.

Low mileage can also be caused by vehicle issues that the previous owner wasn’t able to or didn’t have the time to resolve.

Another situation in which a car has too little mileage is when the odometer has been tampered with to make it seem that the vehicle has less wear.

Although all these scenarios are not that likely, bear them in mind when buying a pre-owned vehicle.

What's More Important: Age or Mileage?

The age-versus-mileage debate is a common topic for used car buyers. While mileage reflects wear, age brings its own set of concerns. Parts like rubber components tend to deteriorate over time, irrespective of mileage. A well-maintained older vehicle might outperform a neglected newer one. When deciding, consider the overall condition, maintenance records, and the components inclined to aging in the chosen vehicle.

Pros and Cons of Buying a High Mileage Used Car

Pros of Buying a High Mileage Used Vehicle

  • Affordability: High mileage cars often come at a lower price, making them accessible for budget-conscious buyers. And if you can find a vehicle that has been properly maintained, then often mileage won’t mean it’s in a bad condition.
  • Maintenance Records: Well-maintained high mileage vehicles might come with comprehensive service records, indicating regular upkeep and potentially fewer surprises in terms of repairs.
  • Proven Reliability: Some models are renowned for their ability to endure high mileage without major issues. Researching the specific make and model and year can help identify reliable options.
  • Avoiding New Car Costs: New cars often come with additional costs like higher insurance premiums, registration fees, home security improvements. Going with a high mileage used car can help save on these expenses.

Cons of Buying a High Mileage Used Vehicle

When considering a high mileage used car, there are several drawbacks to keep in mind:

  • Increased Risk of Repairs: High mileage cars often require more frequent repairs and replacements. Critical components such as the engine, transmission, and suspension might be nearing the end of their lifespan, leading to costly fixes.
  • Reduced Fuel Efficiency: Older vehicles tend to have outdated technology, leading to lower fuel efficiency. High mileage cars might consume more fuel, impacting your overall expenses.
  • Limited Warranty Coverage: Many warranties expire after a certain mileage. Buying a car with high mileage means you might have the protection of a warranty.
  • Higher Depreciation Rate: High mileage vehicles depreciate faster than low mileage ones. If you plan to resell the car in the future, its value might drop quite fast.
  • Potential Safety Concerns: Some older cars might lack modern safety features and technologies found in newer models.
  • Limited Financing Options: Some lenders might offer less favorable financing terms for high mileage vehicles. But don't worry, at Kaizen Auto, we're always ready to help you find the best financing option on both new and used vehicles.

What is Good Mileage for a Used Car

What else to consider when buying a used car with high mileage?

Buying a high mileage used car can be a viable option if you take certain precautions and considerations into account. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  1. Thorough Inspection: Consider a comprehensive inspection by a mechanic. They can identify potential issues and assess the overall condition of the vehicle.
  2. Maintenance Records: Ask for any maintenance records from the previous owner or use third party services that can provide it for you. Regular servicing and timely repairs indicate responsible ownership.
  3. Vehicle History Report: Obtain a vehicle history report to check for any accidents, title issues, or odometer discrepancies. This report offers a detailed account of the car’s past, ensuring you’re aware of its background before deciding. Dealerships provide this service to their customers for free.
  4. Budget for Repairs: Set aside a budget for potential maintenance and repairs. High mileage cars are likely to require some repairs, so having a financial cushion can help you address unexpected issues without straining your wallet.
  5. Consider the Brand Reputation: Some car brands are renowned for their longevity and reliability even at higher mileage. Research the reputation of the specific make and model you're interested in. Certain brands have a track record of enduring performance, making them safer bets for high mileage vehicles.
  6. Negotiate the Price: Use the high mileage as a negotiation point. Since the car has extensive wear, it should be priced accordingly. Don’t hesitate to bargain, ensuring you get a fair deal considering the vehicle’s condition.

Considering these factors when deciding what is good mileage for a used car can help you make a well-informed decision. For even more information, checkout our guide on things to consider when buying a used car. Being thorough in your research and inspections can significantly decrease the risks associated with older, high mileage vehicles.

If in doubt, you can always contact our product advisors at Kaizen Auto, and we’ll help you make the right decision when buying a pre-owned vehicle.

Categories: Used vehicles