what is a good mileage for a used car
Car Buying

What Is a Good Mileage for a Used Car? Here’s Everything You Should Know

When purchasing a used car, there are several factors to consider – a car’s mileage is one of the most critical. Drivers often ask what is a good mileage for a used car because it’s often directly linked to the vehicle’s health. Knowing the mileage for a used car before making a purchase helps determine how much you may have to spend on the repair and maintenance of the car after purchase. 

So What is a Good Mileage For a Used Car?

Generally, the average acceptable mileage for a used car is 100,000 -144,000 miles. This is calculated over ten years. An average car owner drives about 10,000 to 12,000 miles a year. So to figure out a good mileage for a used car, you divide mileage by how old it is. However, this is not set in stone. Other things can determine how a high or low car mileage affect the value. 

Why is Mileage Important? 

To fully understand mileage, you need to grasp what mileage is. Mileage is the total number of miles a car has traveled in its lifetime. The car’s odometer keeps a record of this. 

A car can typically drive about 150,000 miles before it needs major repairs. However, this can be increased to about 300,000 mileage with expensive and extensive maintenance. In addition, mileage often affects the wear and tear of the car. 

For example, certain parts of a car usually need replacement after traveling long distances, such as the brake pad, disc brakes, brake pedals, water pump, and clutch. However, this can vary based on the vehicle.  

Mileage can also indirectly impact the condition of the engine and suspension. Whether you are planning to sell or want to purchase a used car, mileage is necessary for valuation. 

what is a good mileage for a used car

How to Determine a Good Mileage for a Used Car

There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to mileage. Besides, most automobile companies now build their models to endure higher mileage. So if you are buying a 2000s model, it generally shouldn’t be a problem to buy a car with an above-average mileage. However, understanding mileage and how it affects your purchase is still important. Here are a few things to note:

High Mileage Means Low Resale Value

High mileage cars tend to have lower resale value. Typically, cars depreciate the highest within the first six months of their purchase, and then they continue to depreciate at about 10% every year. Since the average mileage per year is 10,000, a car with 70,000 mileage may depreciate by up to 70% as it would be classified under a similar category as a 7-year-old car. 

This means that dealerships will value a high mileage car for less upon every resale.

Vehicle Type Can Affect Mileage 

The effect of vehicle type on mileage is not direct. In some countries, people who use diesel vehicles can access fuel easily and at a lower price, leading to them recording higher mileage. Electric cars can have their mileage affected by the lifespan of the EV batteries. However, this shouldn’t be a problem as buyers can easily replace the EV batteries.

High Mileage on a New Car is a Bad Sign 

Usually, high mileage can be overlooked when it is reasonable to the number of years the car’s been driven around. However, it is a red flag if a car purchased last year has a 40,000 miles already stacked up. This means you are only left with about 60,000 miles before reaching the average. While this may not be a bad thing, you may be getting the shorter end of the stick, especially if you are buying the car for long-term and frequent use. In general, a good mileage for a used car can change based on the buyer’s needs and how old the car is.

Low Mileage Is Not Always a Good Thing 

The common rule is that low mileage is a good sign. However, there are situations where an unusually low mileage should make you cautious. For example, if a three-year-old car only has 10,000 miles, it may indicate that the odometer is faulty – or worse, something is wrong with the car. In addition, it can indicate that you need to check the parts of the car to see if there’s something preventing the owner from driving the car.

Besides, some dealers or car owners intentionally clock their vehicles. A good way to know if you are about to be defrauded is to thoroughly check the car’s condition. A car displaying low mileage but has excessive wear is a good sign that something is wrong. 

High Mileage Is Not an Automatic Deal Breaker

While high mileage might help you beat down the price of a car, it often has people rethinking their purchase entirely. But high mileage shouldn’t always stop you from making a purchase. In most countries, the average mileage on a car is between 100,000-120,000 miles. So, if you get a used car with about 60,000 miles, it can still run well for about five years before it reaches the average. This is a fair mileage range for a used car, especially if you are only buying one to get by a short amount of time. 

Age or Mileage – Which Is More Important?

These two are equally important. You can’t separate the age of a car and mileage from each other. However, it is necessary to understand how they can affect a car’s value individually. 

The age of a car can affect its mileage, as a five-year-old car is likely to have accumulated more mileage than a two-year-old car. However, this isn’t always the case. Some car owners drive only once in a while, while others use their vehicles more frequently. 

Besides, mileage affects key components of a car like its engine and suspension, while an old car may have rusty parts. Since cars are built for motion, leaving an old car sitting in a garage without any movement can lead to rusty and faulty parts that the warranty may not cover.  

Is Mileage the Only Important Factor When Getting a Used Car? 

While knowing the right mileage for a used car is important, it is not the only important consideration when shopping around. Several other factors can affect whether you will enjoy your new purchase. Here are a few other things you should look into:

Vehicle History

It’s always good to request a detailed vehicle history report from the previous owner. Car history lets you know the number of car owners, which can be a good way to see if the mileage corresponds with the number of users. Car history typically details the number of repairs the car has undergone and its maintenance record. It also includes the car’s accident history, recalls, and title history. 

If your seller doesn’t provide a car history report, you may be able to get one from Autocheck.  Unfortunately, this often comes at an extra cost. 

Highway vs. City Driving

The area where a car is driven is usually very important in determining how much work or repair the car will need after purchase. For example, a car with 20,000 mileage driven in an urban area may be worse than one with 40,000 mileage driven on a highway. This is because the regular stops and pauses of urban living can affect a car’s engine life and suspension. 

Highway miles are often smooth, and they keep the vehicle lubricated. At the same time, a car used in an urban area will be in better condition than one driven in a rural area where the vehicle would have to endure harsh weather conditions and potholes. 

Model Year

In the past decade, there’s been more effort by manufacturers to increase the resilience of their products. This means that modern vehicles with higher mileage and adequate maintenance will still be able to outlast a 2000 model with lower mileage. In this case, there’s no need to worry so much about car mileage. However, one will have to consider the mileage hand in hand with the vehicle type and the model year. You can use popular used cars websites such as CarGurus, Cars.com, and AutoTempest to find everything you need to know before making your purchase. 

Regardless of the mileage of a used car you are thinking of purchasing, it’s still a good idea to have your mechanic or a hired expert do an independent inspection of the used car to check its overall condition. This will ensure you are satisfied with your purchase. 

Final Thoughts

Knowing what is a good mileage for a used car is critical to making a vehicle purchase. A high or low mileage can help you determine how much repair you will need after purchase and whether or not you are getting a good deal. 

The average is 10,000 to 12,000 miles in a year. However, getting lower or higher than this is not the ultimate go-ahead to purchase a car at the given price. Make sure you look into other variables and consult an expert before making a purchase. This will help you avoid unexpected repairs on your new (to you) car.

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