How Many Miles on a Used Car is Too Much?
Wondering how many miles on a used car is too much? You might have heard people quote 100,000 miles as a smart cut-off point, but that’s not really the right metric. Instead, you should consider the vehicle’s service records, its vehicle history report, and the reliability of the model in question.
Where Did the 100,000-Mile Rule Come From?
The idea that your car won’t last 100,000 miles comes from a different era. Way back when, maintaining your car well enough to reach into the six figures was a point of pride, but most used cars with more than 100,000 miles on the clock would be considered far too unreliable.
That’s because older cars were usually unreliable at triple-figure mileage — but a lot has changed since your parents started looking for their first car. Manufacturers are using more sophisticated components and fluids that ensure a car lasts longer, and drivers are less eager to trade up.
Why Are High-Mileage Cars Worth Buying?
100,000 miles really isn’t high these days. Let’s do the math:
- The average car still on the road is 11 years old.
- The average car is driven around 15,000 miles per year.
That shows that your fairly average car will have something like 165,000 miles, and it’s not like the average driver is desperately worried about the car blowing up every time they turn the ignition. In fact, drivers are upgrading to new cars at the slowest rate in years.
How to Shop for a High-Mileage Car
Mileage is still a factor, but it isn’t the only factor. Firstly, don’t ignore every other concern just because a vehicle has fewer miles on the odometer than its contemporaries.
When shopping for a high-mileage car, you should:
- Look for the most reliable models.
- Go through a dealership instead of a private seller.
- Check the vehicle history report for previous collisions or other damage.
- Check the service history to see how well the vehicle has been maintained. Even missed oil changes could have taken their toll.