How Many Miles Should A Used Car Have?

When you read an ad for the sale of a low-mileage car, it seems like a good deal. Such a vehicle is relatively inexpensive but looks almost like new. However, the reality is sometimes not so rosy. So how many miles should a used car have? We will talk about this below.

Is Mileage Important When Buying a Used Car?

How much mileage is good for a used car? As practice shows, mileage today is not an absolute criterion for buying a car. In fact, you should be warned about both too large and suspiciously small mileage.

Alternatively, you can face the busting miles. Also, the car could be idle for many months or even years in the garage or on the street. This is not a reason to buy this particular car because, with a long idle time, some parts of it can rot or dry out, and the battery resources can be reduced. Therefore, here you need to be guided by logic. If you buy, for example, a three-year car, pick up the one with a mileage of about 30-40 thousand miles since the average annual mileage is 9-13 thousand miles.

How to Check Car Mileage?

Does the seller convince you of good mileage for a used car? Note that there are a lot of cases when sellers put up a car with a rolled back odometer for sale. Fortunately for the seasoned buyer, this is not difficult to determine. The fact is that some car sensors (on the gearbox shaft or on wheels) can show the real mileage after connecting to diagnostic devices at the service station.

The real car mileage can be determined by the condition of the body, interior, as well as  paintwork of the front part (the more chips and dents there are, the greater the mileage). Also, you should pay attention to:

  • the wear of the brake discs;
  • the worn windshield;
  • the dirty key fob;
  • the backlash in the driver's door.

In the cabin, first of all, you have to inspect the condition of:

  • the steering wheel rim;
  • the notch for the seat belt;
  • the belts themselves;
  • the gear lever knob;
  • the pedal pads. 

Also, new cars are unlikely to have:

  • sagging seats;
  • scratched armrests;
  • worn fabric inserts near door handles;
  • faded inscriptions on control buttons.

What's a Good Mileage on a Used Car?

Now let’s talk about what is good mileage for a used car. 

As usual, problems with engines in low-budget cars usually begin after 100 thousand miles, in vehicles of a more expensive segment - after 150-200 thousand miles. So it is better for you to avoid such cars.

Is It Wise to Buy a Car with High Mileage?

The good mileage for a used car depends on the type of car itself. For example, in the case of the budget class, you should not rely on large potential vehicle resources. Manufacturers of such cars usually use cheap materials and apply methods to reduce the total cost of production. The elite class of vehicles is also not distinguished by large resources since here manufacturers often introduce innovative technologies that have not been tested by time.

What is considered high mileage? For car brands and their classes, there are such unspoken parameters of the permissible mileage:

  • cars of brands BMW, Audi, Porsche, Infiniti, Land Rover, and other companies from the elite class usually drive 150,000 miles without any problems, then investments in their repair will be quite large;
  • the same average mileage is demonstrated by cars of the budget segment - Renault, Hyundai, KIA, Nissan, etc.;
  • the middle class shows the highest mileage - Skoda, Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda, and other brands produce cars with a mileage limit of about 200,000 miles with proper maintenance;
  • low-budget cars and innovative turbocharged cars with a small tank volume are a real problem for the re-owner, as they live no more than 100,000 miles due to the impossibility of repair.

What's More Important: Mileage or Age?

Low or good mileage for a used car is usually associated with long-term vehicle downtime. At the same time, before being placed for long-term storage, the car must be preserved to remove weight from the springs (to avoid the effect of "metal fatigue"), protect metal parts from corrosion, and avoid moisture condensation. To return the car to its normal state, the owner should replace all fluids in it and check the joints. 

Nevertheless, even these procedures cannot protect the car from damage, and in practice, few car owners perform them at all. This means that you will hardly have to rely on the serviceability of an over-aged vehicle with small mileage. Therefore, it is fundamentally wrong to say that a large age of a car is better than a large mileage. So, stop calculating how many miles a used car should have and think about what details you have to examine to make sure that the specific car is worth buying.

In particular, you should remember that there are parts in the car, the shelf life of which is determined by the time of use. These are all rubber seals, hoses, and oil seals. Rubber has its own lifespan and cracks, dries, and hardens in the same way on an idle car, as well as on one that is in regular use. For the same reason, old suspension struts or coolant hoses will leak even if the car has been idle for several years.

As for the answer to the question “How much mileage is good for a used car?”, the other extreme is an almost new high-mileage car. This category includes cars used as taxis and corporate vehicles. Usually, such cars, even in spite of the visual novelty, hide mechanisms damaged by wear.

Therefore, only cars that do not have cracks in the structural elements of the body frame should be considered for purchase. Cracked cars are dangerous, and repairs, unless you are a welder, are difficult and expensive. In addition, metal overheated during welding will become a source of new corrosion damage. By the way, keep in mind that the body corrodes when the car is stationary, and cracks on it appear only from the run.

In general, you should understand that there is no exact answer to the question “What is good mileage for a used car?” and almost any car parts can be replaced, including the engine. The only real limitation to the life of a car is the condition of the body. The body suffers from both the age of the car and the mileage.

So, much more important is to correctly assess the cost efficiency of purchasing a car with all these defects. Perhaps the price of the offered car will be much lower, and you will cope with its repair easily and quickly. But more often there are situations when a cunning seller shows the buyer only a small visible defect. And then, after the purchase, the new owner discovers a much more complex and "expensive" breakdown.

Best Mileage to Buy a Used Car

The good mileage for a used car should be approximately 30-40 thousand miles per year if the car is regularly used. If it was used from time to time, the mileage is unlikely to exceed 9-13 thousand miles.

You should understand that in order to increase the value of their car on the market, some car owners change the odometer readings because they don’t want to answer the buyer’s question like: “How many miles is too many for a used car?” to their detriment. So if you have any doubts about the reliability of the mileage claimed by the seller, you will need to check it personally.

For example, if we are talking about a mechanical device, you can see the interference in its integrity by relying on the condition of the speedometer drive cable, which is attached to the gearbox. Digital odometers are checked at the service station using special devices.

Remember that attempting to defraud a customer with false odometer readings can result in a criminal penalty for the car owner.

Used Car Mileage Shopping Tips

Many sources leave many recommendations for estimating how many miles a used car should have, but we will not be so verbose. Just remember the main thing: the optimal mileage for a used car is about 11 thousand miles per year. Large deviations from this parameter should provoke additional questions to the owner and make you examine the vehicle more thoroughly for wear.

If you do not want to bother with all these problems (for example, do not think about what is good mileage for a used car) and find a service with already proven cars, contact us at Rolls Auto Sales. Here's what you need to do in order to buy a good used car:

  • leave a request. The first thing you need to do is leave a request on our website, regardless of the type of service required - be it a test drive, lending, or an examination of the car itself. You can also call us to chat with our representatives live;
  • select the desired car model. If you do not have a clear idea of ​​what kind of car you want, be sure to decide on a list of the most desirable models. This way we can understand in which direction to move so that you remain as satisfied as possible;
  • decide on the type of payment for the car. You can apply for a loan or pay the entire purchase amount in cash;
  • complete the deal by concluding a contract with us. Once all the previous steps are completed, you will need to sign several documents in order to pick up your car from the parking lot.

Frequently Asked Questions

And now it's time to answer the most frequent questions related to the good mileage for a used car.

How many miles on a used car is too much?

For cars with innovative engines as well as low-cost cars, the mileage limit can be considered 100 thousand miles. Similar parameters for elite class cars are equal to 150 thousand miles. The highest mileage value - 200 thousand miles - is typical for middle-class cars.

What is considered low mileage?

Low mileage for a car is an odometer reading of up to 13 thousand miles per year. In this case, you need to check the car for corrosion, the effects of condensed liquid, as well as parts that have expired.

Is 150,000 miles bad for a used car?

How many miles is too many for a used car? Most cars with a mileage of about 150 thousand miles, with proper care of the first owners, are able to provide their new owners with the same mileage without the need for repair and maintenance. However, if the first owner neglected maintenance or got into accidents, the automobile may be unusable even in case of minimal mileage.

Should I buy a car with 150K miles?

Even though many auto sellers claim that 75,000 miles are considered optimal mileage, you should carefully examine the car's condition. Therefore, a car with a mileage of 150 thousand miles can serve its owner as much without the need for maintenance.

Is 40,000 miles a lot for a used car?

40 thousand miles is a good mileage for a used car. However, it can also alert you if the car for sale is of venerable age. Therefore, carefully examine the car interior and its parts, which fail not because of constant use, but because of the expiration date.

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