Understanding What is Good Mileage for a Used Car - Expert Tips | Rolls Auto Sales

It seems like a good deal when you read an ad for selling a low-mileage car. 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?

What is good mileage for a used car? Experience indicates that current mileage is not the sole factor to consider when purchasing a vehicle. Indeed, both exceptionally high mileage and suspiciously low mileage should be viewed as cautionary indicators.

You can also 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.

What's the Average Mileage of Used Cars on the Road?

The average mileage for a car on American roads is about 12.4 thousand miles. However, this figure can change depending on the region and the economic situation in the country. For example 2008, during the crisis, it was 9 thousand miles. On the contrary, in 2015, when the economy recovered from a recession, it increased to 14.8 thousand miles per year.

Best Mileage to Buy a Used Car

Addressing the question “What mileage is good for a used car”, it should be approximately 30–40 thousand miles per year if the vehicle is regularly used. If it was used from time to time, the mileage would likely be 913 thousand miles at most.

You should understand that 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 questions like: “How many miles on a car is too many?” 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, we are talking about a mechanical device. In that case, 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. You can also check the car history using a Carfax service. Remember that attempting to defraud a customer with false odometer readings can result in a criminal penalty for the car owner.

How to Check Car Mileage?

Does the seller convince you of good mileage to buy 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 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 front part's body, interior, and paintwork (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, and 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 and belts themselves, the gear lever knob, and the pedal pads. Also, new cars are unlikely to have sagging seats, scratched armrests, worn fabric inserts near door handles, or faded inscriptions on control buttons.

Critical Milestones for Evaluating a Pre-Owned Vehicle

Evaluating a pre-owned vehicle involves a thorough inspection to ensure you make a wise investment and avoid potential issues. Here are critical milestones and considerations for evaluating a pre-owned car.

Maintenance Intervals

Review the vehicle's maintenance and ownership records. Regular maintenance indicates that the previous owner cared for the car, and it can give you insights into any recurring issues.

Timing Belt & Chain Replacement

Timing belt or chain replacement is critical to maintaining a pre-owned vehicle. It is essential to consider during the evaluation process, as neglecting or delaying this replacement can lead to severe engine damage and costly repairs.

Brakes Maintenance

Brake maintenance is critical when evaluating a pre-owned vehicle, as it directly influences safety and overall performance. The braking system plays a pivotal role in ensuring the driver's and passengers' safety, making it imperative for potential buyers to scrutinize this component during the pre-purchase inspection.

Transmission Care

Transmission care is also a very important thing to consider. The transmission system plays a pivotal role in the overall performance and longevity of the vehicle. A well-maintained transmission ensures smooth gear transitions optimal fuel efficiency, and prevents costly repairs. If the transmission oil was never changed, try these used cars to avoid because of safety issues.

What's More Important: Mileage or Age?

Low or good mileage for a used car is usually associated with long-term downtime. At the same time, before being placed for long-term storage, the vehicle 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. The owner should replace all fluids and check the joints to return the car to its normal state.

Nevertheless, even these procedures cannot protect the car from damage; in practice, few car owners perform them. This means you will hardly rely on an over-aged vehicle with low mileage serviceability. Therefore, it is fundamentally wrong to say that a large age of a car is better than high mileage. So, stop calculating how many miles used SUVs or other vehicles should have and think about what details you must examine to ensure 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 lifespan and cracks, dries, and hardens in the same way on an idle car and on one in regular use. For the same reason, old suspension struts or coolant hoses will leak even if the vehicle has been idle for several years.

As for the answer to the question “How many miles on used car is good” the other extreme is an almost new high-mileage car. This category includes cars used as taxis and corporate vehicles. Usually, such cars, even despite 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 vehicles are dangerous, and repairs are difficult and expensive unless you are a welder. In addition, metal overheated during welding will become a source of new corrosion damage. By the way, remember 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, “How many miles is bad for a car?” A well-maintained vehicle with lower mileage is often preferable. However, the overall condition, maintenance history, and the type of driving the vehicle has experienced are essential considerations as well. It's advisable to assess both mileage and age in conjunction with the vehicle's maintenance records and overall condition when making a purchase decision.

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