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How Many Miles Is Too Many On A Used Car

How Many Miles Is Too Many On A Used Car

Are you considering purchasing a used car? For most consumers, buying a vehicle outright used is the best option considering obtaining an auto loan and investing in a brand new vehicle. However, whenever you are purchasing a used car you’ll have to first consider important factors such as the miles on the odometer, the vehicle’s history, the condition of the interior and exterior as well as if the vehicle is reliable. There’s nothing more frustrating than finding the perfect vehicle only to discover it has a lot of miles on. It might lead you to wonder: just how many miles is too many on a used car?

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


Should you walk from a great vehicle just because it has 100,000 miles? Does the mileage on a vehicle determine how much life it has left?


How Many Miles Is Too Many On A Used Car – Debunking the Myth

For years, we've been conditioned to believe that mileage is the most important factor to consider when purchasing a used vehicle. Yet, what many buyers don’t know is that mileage can be very misleading. To determine how many miles is too many on a used car you should first consider the average amount of miles that most people put on their vehicle in a single year. Most car owners put at least 12,000 miles on their car each year. When you multiply 12,000 by the age of the car you’ll get the average amount of miles that the vehicle in that age category should have. For instance, if a car is seven years it should have approximately 72,000 miles on it. 


In addition, you should consider how people have owned the vehicle. A car that has 72,000 miles and one owner could be a great deal. However, if three people have owned the vehicle there is a strong possibility that at least one of the owners wasn’t as meticulous in maintaining the vehicle. If a vehicle has accumulated 12,000 miles a year and has multiple owners then you should look deeper into the car’s history or reconsider your other options. 


How Many Miles Is Too Many On A Used Car – Is Purchasing A Car With Fewer Miles Better?

Believe it or not, fewer mileage on a vehicle doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the better option when compared to a used car with more miles on the odometer. If you encounter an older vehicle with a usually low mileage you should exercise caution. Odometer fraud is real. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 450,000 cars are sold in the United States each year with inaccurate odometers that have been reset or electronically altered. 


You can verify the odometer reading by performing a CarFax or Autocheck which will give you an inside look into the vehicle’s history. The overall condition of the vehicle can also attest to whether the odometer reading is correct. If the car interior and exterior are in good condition and it has incredibly low odometer chances are it has driven much over the last years. 


How Many Miles Is Too Many On A Used Cars – Highway Vs. City Miles

When it comes to a used car with high mileage and how many miles is too many on a used car it’s important to know that not all miles are the same. City miles and highway miles without a doubt can affect a vehicle in different ways. City driving increases fuel consumption due to the constant stopping and going. Also, vehicles that are used for mostly city driving have been subjected to rough roads and have endured lots of potholes which impacts the vehicle’s suspension system.


On the other hand, highway driving is less strenuous on a vehicle since the roads are often smoother and the speeds are higher so the engine is usually working at a consistent level. When it comes to how many miles is too many on a used car if there are a lot of highway miles on the vehicle this isn’t a bad thing. Highways miles are far less damaging to a car since it hasn’t been subjected to a lot of wear and tear especially on critical components of the vehicle such as the braking system and the engine. 


How can you tell if a used car has spent more time on the highway or on the roads in the city? Believe it or not, it’s relatively easy to spot a car that has spent most of its life on the highways and in the city. Of course, you can always take a look at the odometer. If a fairly new car has a lot of miles on it, it’s most likely been used for a lot of long-distance driving on the highway. For instance, a 2019 vehicle with about 50,000 miles has typically spent most of its life traveling on the highway. Most drivers aren’t capable of running up 50,000 miles on a vehicle within a year or two doing city driving.


For the most part, it’s safe to buy a used car with high highway miles on it. You can always have the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic to make sure you are making a wise purchasing decision. 


How Many Miles Is Too Many On A Used Car – Consider the Condition and Maintenance of the Vehicle

How many miles is too many on a used car is also determined by the condition of the vehicle. Vehicles with a lot of miles that are in good condition and have been properly maintained can actually be the best option for some buyers with smaller budgets. After all, when it comes down to it the condition and the maintenance of the vehicle is what ultimately determines whether it’s a good buy. 


When you are shopping for a used car you should steer clear of vehicles with poorly maintained interiors and exteriors. Check for signs that the car hasn’t been correctly maintained by popping over the hood, checking the engine oil, transmission fluid, and coolant levels. If everything checks out fine this is a good sign that the vehicle has been properly maintained. 


If you can see through the wheels you should make sure you check the brakes and rotors for cracking, discoloration, or any grooving. Feel along the undersides of the vehicle until you are touching the rubberized magnet. If this magnet won’t stick, chances are there are body fillers in place which indicates that the vehicle was involved in some type of accident previously.


Don’t skip out on the test drive. Test driving a used vehicle is a must if you truly want to gauge how well it performs on the road. During your test drive, you should listen out for any noise, take notes on how the steering feels, your comfort driving the vehicle, and how well the braking system works. 


Reliability is essential. So even if the used car comes with a low price tag, if it has high mileage and you don’t think it’s in the best condition you should leave it where you found it. As previously discussed, securing the history through a third-party provider is a great way to see what type of repairs have been made on the car in the past and you’ll get to take a look at maintenance records. 


How Many Miles Is Too Many Miles On A Used Car – Is 100,000 Miles to High?

If you’re wondering how many miles is too many miles on a used car you might be hesitant to purchase the used car you like because it has 100.000 miles on it. Just think. A vehicle that’s in great condition and is maintained with a 100,000 can often last another 100,000 miles. Since we put an average of 12,000 to 15,000 miles on a vehicle you should expect the vehicle to last for another seven to eight years if you take care of it. Some cars can last beyond 200,000 miles.


However, in some cases, it can be risky to purchase a used vehicle that has 100,000 miles on it. If a three-year-old car has 100,000 miles on the odometer chances are the owner has been putting more than 30,000 miles on it annually which means it has sustained lots of wear and tear rather quickly. Also, if you plan on purchasing an older vehicle that has 100,000 miles it may be well past its prime. Oftentimes, vehicles start experiencing more mechanical problems after it reaches the 100,000 marks. 


According to some automotive experts, 100,000 miles isn’t really that high when it comes to more modern and newer cars. These days manufacturers are using components and fluids that are more sophisticated that allows a vehicle to last a lot longer. In fact, the average car on the road is at least eleven years old which means that they tend to have approximately 120,000 to 165,000 miles on them. 


You should also consider your budget and needs when you are determining whether to invest in a used car with 100,000 miles. If you’re working with just a few thousand dollars and you’re looking for a decent car that will last for about four to five years while you save up for your dream car it may be worth your while to invest in a car with mileage that’s in this ballpark. 


How Many Miles Is Too Many On A Used Car – Brand Matters

There are a few automotive brands that offer consistent reliability. Therefore, depending on the brands some cars with higher mileage are worth the investment. Honda, Toyota, and Lexus are brands that are known for manufacturing car engines with a long-lasting life. Purchasing a Honda or Toyota that has 100,000 miles is a great investment because there is still much life left in these vehicles. 


Some of the most popular vehicles that are equipped with powerful engines that can last for 200,000 miles and beyond include:

  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Toyota Sequoia
  • Honda CRV 
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Lincoln Navigator
  • GMC Yukon
  • Toyota Camry


Vehicles manufactured by these brands are designed with high-quality components that can withstand years of wear and last much longer than any other brand. When these vehicles have been thoroughly maintained they can be a great buy.


Several auto manufacturers use a 30-60-90,000 mile maintenance schedule for their vehicles so if you’re considering buying a vehicle from a reputable brand that’s known for producing highly reliable vehicles then you’ll want to make sure the maintenance schedule has been upheld. If it’s about time to have the vehicle serviced for routine maintenance procedures you should factor this into your final offer. 


How Many Miles Is Too Many On A Used Car – What To Consider When Buying A Car With High Mileage


While mileage is a factor it isn’t the only criteria you should consider. When it comes to high mileage vehicles you should try:


  • Opt for the most reliable brands. Vehicles from manufacturers that are known for producing highly reliable vehicles are still valuable even when they have a lot of miles on them. 
  • It’s best to purchase from a dealership rather than a private seller. When you purchase a used vehicle with high mileage from a dealership, you are typically offered a warranty which will cover the expenses if in the worst case scenario the car breaks down in the next thirty to ninety days.
  • Of course, you’ll want to check the vehicle’s service history because even a couple of missed oil changes can take a toll on a vehicle. 


How many miles is too many on a used car? When you are shopping for a used car and you come across one with high mileage don’t let the odometer scare you. If you can secure a warranty. Also, if the CarFax history checks out just fine then you can be confident that you are making a wise purchasing decision.