What's Good Mileage for Used Cars? A Complete Guide
Buying a used car can be challenging. You must ensure you’re paying the right price for the vehicle while confirming it’s reliable. The purchasing process requires more attention to detail than buying a new car directly from a dealership.
Approximately 43.1 million used light vehicles were sold in 2021. If you plan to be one of the millions buying a pre-loved car this year, you should think about mileage.
But what is considered good mileage for a used car? While there’s no straightforward answer, there are some factors to consider when it comes to good mileage for used cars that can help you on your buying journey.
Why Buy a Used Car?
- Depreciation – Avoid taking the massive depreciation hit associated with buying a new car. New cars lose 40% of their original value within the first five years of ownership.
- Lower Insurance Rates – The more valuable the car, the more you can expect to pay in insurance. Lower your insurance rates by reducing the value of your vehicle.
- Better Finance Rates – For the same reason as lower insurance rates, auto financing also comes at lower rates.
- Quality Cars – Choosing a used car makes you lose nothing in terms of quality. Shop around to find a car that’s in tip-top condition without paying the premium.
- Pay Less – Used cars cost significantly less than new cars. You also may not need as much insurance coverage depending on the vehicle’s age, make, and model.
Used cars are no longer considered second best. According to one survey, 69% of Americans said they would consider a used vehicle for their next purchase. With so many deals to be found, second-hand cars continue to grow in popularity.
What is Good Mileage for a Used Car?
Mileage is one of the aspects you must examine when buying a used car. But what is decent mileage for a used car?
Unfortunately, there are no concrete answers. Mileage alone only tells you a fraction of the story. So, where do you begin?
Start by taking the average that Americans drive per year. Previously, this figure was around 12,000 miles, but according to the latest study, the average mileage per year for gasoline-powered cars has risen to 13,474 miles.
Assuming that you take the standard 13,000 figure, a five-year-old car should have a mileage of roughly 65,000. Significantly more or fewer miles could indicate problems with the vehicle in the future.
Mileage should only be a benchmark for deciding the best miles on a used car. The number of owners is also significant.
For example, if a ten-year-old car has 130,000 miles on it, this is not considered bad mileage on a used car. However, if the car has had five previous owners, there’s a higher probability that at least one failed to maintain the vehicle correctly.
However, if the car has only had one previous owner and 100,000 miles on the counter, it shows a higher chance of being maintained properly. As always, make sure you have documented evidence of how many previous owners a car has had.
Is it a Bad Idea to Purchase a Vehicle with High Mileage?
Many people avoid vehicles with high mileage, especially if a car is nearing the 100,000 mark. These behaviors all come from the perception that these cars are riskier and likely to have recurring problems. In the past, this was true.
Modern vehicles have changed and are equipped to last longer than ever before. High-mileage cars can burn carbon buildup efficiently and are often well-lubricated, enabling the engine to fire for longer.
Many cars on the market today depreciate more slowly than cars built a generation ago. When you add supply-chain shortages and increased consumer demand into the mix, some vehicles are holding onto their value exceptionally well.
The average age of an American car is 12 years old, putting the average mileage at 144,000 to 156,000 miles. With this in mind, don’t just consider the current mileage but how much more mileage you’ll likely get out of the car.
For example, if a car already has 100,000 miles on the odometer, you can reasonably presume you will get an additional four to five years of driving from the car.
To determine if an auto purchase is a good deal, you must consider several other factors, such as brands, maintenance, and the number of previous owners. Everything must be matched against the asking price or the price you think you can reasonably ask for the vehicle. Every auto sale is different.
Factors to Consider When Looking at Mileage
Reasonable mileage on a used car varies based on many factors. There are no hard and fast limits for when you should either ask for a lower price or search for another listing.
Delve into a car’s history to find out the full story of a vehicle, and don’t be afraid to consult a professional mechanic if you’re unsure about something.
Here are some of the factors to consider regarding the mileage issue.
What is decent mileage for a used car by brand? There’s a considerable difference between various brands and makes. Some models are just built to last.
When figuring out how much mileage for a used car is best, you must know which model you’re looking at. Most long-lasting models tend to be SUVs or pickups, but some minivans and sedans are known for holding out for well over 200,000 miles before they become irredeemable.
Honda, Ford, GMC, and Toyota are just some brands known for their good mileage for used cars. Make sure you research because, as previously noted, reliability can vary by model, or brands could lose their edge over time.
2. Maintenance Records
Any responsible auto seller will have a comprehensive set of maintenance records telling you which car parts have been worked on. The service life of nearly all car parts depends not on the vehicle’s age but the mileage.
The engine and suspension are the most susceptible areas for a major revamp. Cars that have received new suspension systems are likely to last longer than a used car that has never received any form of revamp.
When asking, “What is low mileage for a used car?” determine when the last time a car received a significant part. Remember, rubber parts rarely age well and aren’t expensive to replace, so there’s no need to walk away when it comes to the condition of these parts.
If a seller doesn’t have a complete set of maintenance records, this is a big red flag. You might need to consider walking away from the purchase.
3. Previous Owners
As previously mentioned, the number of previous owners significantly impacts a car’s condition. If a single driver has only owned the car, the chances are it was well-maintained. Cars that have passed through multiple hands tend to have less maintenance performed, given each owner has different maintenance and driving habits. While this isn’t always the case, it’s something that you should note.
4. Incredibly Low Mileage
What is good mileage on a used car with some age to it? If you have performed your calculations and a car comes in at a significantly lower number on the odometer, you may think you have found an incredible deal. However, this isn’t always the case.
Cars with excessively low mileage may have sat for years in the garage. All vehicles will wear down at an accelerated rate if they’re not used for an extended period. Cars need to run to keep them in prime condition.
Another factor to consider is whether the seller is completely honest with you. Modern vehicles are largely protected against people manipulating the odometer at home, but that doesn’t mean the owner isn’t hiding any maintenance problems.
Low mileage doesn’t have to mean the vehicle has a problem. You can often tell whether the odometer reading is accurate by inspecting the exterior and interior for signs of wear and tear. A pristine interior probably means the car was only taken on shorter journeys.
If you’re unsure whether a vehicle has low mileage, call in a mechanic or used car technician. These professionals will have a checklist to evaluate a used vehicle for mileage. Some of the aspects they’ll consider are the following:
- Engine condition
- Tire wear
- Brake condition
- Body finish
- Road test performance
Most experienced technicians can inform you if something is not quite right with the vehicle, including the likelihood of imminent problems. Any trustworthy seller should be more than happy for you to call in a professional to examine the vehicle before committing to a purchase.
Find the Best Used Cars for Sale with ListedBuy
Good mileage for used cars is a multifaceted issue. Avoid basing your decision solely on one number. Dig into the car’s history to find out how many owners the car has had and how much maintenance the car has received.
ListedBuy is your number-one platform for auto listings across America. Our platform covers all 50 states, enabling you to browse used cars for sale and connect with reliable sellers in your area.
Check out the latest classified ads on our platform now. For your next auto-buy, try ListedBuy.Used Classic Cars for Sale