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Does Mileage Matter When Buying a Used Car?

It most definitely does but not in the way an average used car buyer thinks about it. The prevalent mindset is that low mileage cars have more life left on it. If you are getting a 3-year-old car with just 9,000 miles on it, you tend to think that most certainly is a bargain. However, in reality, judging a used car based on mileage is never a binary decision. You cannot just overlook a car with high mileage and tag it not worth buying. A 1990 model with well over 300,000 miles on it can run you just fine. When it comes to buying a used car, along with its mileage, the surrounding factors also matter. And all these combined should be driving you to the right decision.

How much mileage is good mileage?

As a rule of thumb, an average US driver puts around 12,000-15,000 miles per year on his/her car. So, if you are looking for used cars in Greer, SC and end up finding a 3-year-old model with an odometer reading of anywhere between 36,000 miles to 45,000 miles, then that car is your bargain. Anything over this range is obviously high mileage and anything lower is low mileage. And too low a mileage is as harmful to used cars as too high a mileage.

When low mileage cars are not good enough?

Consider the example of the 3-year-old car with just 9,000 miles on it. This equates to a mere 3,000 miles per year. It clearly indicates that the vehicle’s previous owner had hardly any use of the car and it certainly spent most of its time standing in the garage. Without use, any machine starts developing issues as time progresses. Oil blocks up its flow paths. Grease clogs up the small moving parts. And rust almost always starts developing in such a car that barely sees the road. If the owner did not take the car out for a ride, the chances are also high that the vehicle was not taken care of properly. And poorly maintained vehicles will never run you long.

When do high mileage cars make sense?

Along the same lines, a properly maintained vehicle is worth your money even if it has seen 60,000 miles to 75,000 miles on the road for 3 years. If the previous owner had stuck to the maintenance routines, took the car out for genuine servicing, and repaired the parts as and when required, those extra miles on this car will never matter. In fact, you can end your search for cheap cars for sale in good dealerships by bagging such high mileage cars as the extra reading on the odometer will pull the car’s price down. Thus, a car with a good history and not with many owners, high mileage here really does not matter.

Then all high mileage cars are worth it?

This decision is not that simple either. Be very specific about the vehicle’s maintenance history while buying high mileage cars. Air filters require a change every 15,000 miles. Timing belts require a replacement at around 75,000 miles. So, if you are buying a car just at 75,000 miles, you may want to change the timing belt during the purchase or expect the dealer to have already done it for you. Similarly, just beyond 100,000 miles, the moving parts like the axle and the car’s tires will also need to be changed. So, expect a few added expenses while buying a used car in Duncan, SC, on top of the price that you are paying.
Mileage is just one parameter Of the many that you should be checking while buying a used car. Avoid placing all your biases on the odometer reading. Run the vehicle’s history, select a genuine dealership and pick the used car with the optimal overall health.


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