When it comes to buying a used car, one of the first things people check for is mileage. The mileage should give you an indication of the condition of the used vehicle. But what is good mileage for a used car?
You can take the mileage at face value. But like many things in life, digging a little deeper will help you to understand what is good mileage on a car.
Not everyone knows what’s good mileage for a used car, but that’s where this guide will help.
What Is Good Mileage For A Used Car?
We tend to think the more miles a car has done, the closer it is to the end of its shelf life.
In simple terms, the more miles an engine has driven, the more wear and tear it has suffered. That means people buying used cars are often wary of buying one with high miles, only to have it break down soon after.
However, more miles on a vehicle’s engine doesn’t always mean the car is in bad shape. In fact, many cars with over 100,000 miles on the clock are still in perfect working order.
Sometimes it’s the type of miles that have been driven that affect a car’s reliability. Rather than simply the number.
For instance, miles driven on motorways are arguably friendlier to a car than those in traffic and on congested roads. Which can add to the confusion of looking for what’s good mileage on a used car.
What Kind Of Mileage Should You Be Looking For?
On average, UK drivers will sit behind the wheel for 7,400 miles per year.
This is the kind of ballpark figure to look for when looking for a used car.
No matter how old the car is. If it’s doing around 7,400 miles per year, it’s not likely to have been run into the ground by its previous owner.
By this rule, a 10-year-old car that has done 74,000 miles would be considered good mileage.
Any used car with this sort of level of mileage on the clock is likely to be a ‘good runner’. With the likelihood of problems in the future being relatively small.
While 7,400 miles per year for a used car is a good guide, there are often exceptions to the rule.
Some cars with fewer miles on the odometer can have a rockier past than those with a higher mile count. By that same logic, those cars that have far out driven the yearly UK average can still be considered a good investment.
What Is Considered High Mileage For A Used Car?
There are many things to consider when buying a pre-owned vehicle. But how many miles on a used car is too much?
Cars that have typically driven over 10,000 miles per year are likely to have been used for business driving.
These can typically be long journeys up and down the country along its main motorways. As such, the likelihood of them being stuck in stop-start traffic is much less. And it can be considered ‘good mileage.’
We compared the values of used Volkswagen Passats from the same year across several different online car dealerships. A consistent pattern emerged of cheaper prices for those vehicles that had done more miles, in the same amount of time on the roads.
If you were to compare a well-driven Passat to something smaller, like a Hyundai I10, the higher miles on the city car can add extra strain to the vehicle.
Many cars with smaller or turbocharged engines often begin to have mechanical issues at higher mileage. Cars that have over 100,000 miles will, of course, have been driven a lot. And while many larger engines are built to last longer, smaller engines are not.
Mileage Vs. Age
Apart from mileage, another huge factor people consider when buying used cars is age. The number of years a vehicle has been on the road can also be a good indicator of a car’s worth.
For instance, an older car with significantly fewer miles on the clock than you would expect has most likely been used for short commutes in busy traffic. Those stop-start journeys can wear down a car’s engine pretty quickly.
Those miles can be considered ‘hard’ and performance-related problems might not be too far away for such a used car.
Additionally, it would also be smart to check the service history of the used car you’re interested in buying. A car that has all of its yearly services and MOTs is more likely to be a safe investment compared to one that hasn’t.
Checking on a potential car’s MOT history can highlight any historical issues. Or patterns of wear and tear to be taken into consideration.
Buying relatively new cars with lots of miles on the clock should also be considered carefully.
Sure, their parts are all new and should be good for many years to come, but many powertrains on new cars are only covered for 60,000.
If a one-year-old car has already done over 35,000 miles, you will be running out of time before that warranty expires.
What’s Right For You?
Determining how many miles on the odometer isn’t an exact science, but you can use yourself as an example.
If you feel as though you drive your car well and don’t put too many miles on it, then you can be the benchmark.
If you have driven your car 40,000 miles in seven years, then look for a used car that has somewhere between five and six thousand miles per year on the clock.
How much mileage is good for a used car isn’t as straightforward as just picking a number and rejecting anything beyond that.
Used car drivers must also assess what type of miles their potential new vehicle has done. And how well it has been looked after off the road too.
Once you determine what is good mileage for a used car, the next step is finding one and buying it!
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