How Many Miles Should A Used Car Have?


An odometer reading of in excess of 100,000 miles is common these times and doesn’t have the stigma it did 20 several years ago. Proper maintence data and an inspection carry as much—if not more—weight as the odometer. Getty

Not also very long in the past, a car’s motor could be burning oil and in will need of a rebuild by 60,000 miles or a lot less. Engine longevity in the Ford Model A (1928-1931) was in between 50,000 and 80,000 miles, the latter feasible if you were especially mindful and didn’t drive on also quite a few grime streets (hard back again then). Issues enhanced incrementally in the subsequent a long time, but even by the 1960s, homeowners got fired up when their cars attained 100,000 miles.

How Numerous Miles Are As well Many for a Made use of Car?

Now, simply because of many improvements in design and style, engineering and supplies, a car is normally just getting its 2nd wind at 100,000 miles—even 200,000 or 300,000 miles is achievable with watchful maintenance. The latter stage is critical. It is not essentially about the odometer reading through but rather how the car was driven and taken care of that plays into a vehicle’s longevity, specially if its lifespan is documented with a thick pile of service documents. The creator owns a 1989 Mercedes-Benz station wagon that in no way skipped a assistance appointment, and at 220,000 miles (with a rebuilt head but primary bottom conclude), it nonetheless has fairly a lot of life in it. A well-known and fastidiously taken care of 1966 Volvo 1800S owned by the late Lengthy Island science trainer Irv Gordon covered a lot more than 3.25 million miles on the identical motor (albeit with two rebuilds).

Opposite to well-known belief, cars with incredibly very low mileage that sit idle for lengthy intervals can be more problematic than vehicles with continual use—even with 200,000 or more miles on the clock. As inert garage art, cars are however subject matter to the growing old procedure. A overseas car mechanic explained to me he hates operating on seldom-made use of vehicles, no matter how shiny the paint, because “they will need every thing, and their homeowners never understand why.” Quite a few experts concur, “If scheduled routine maintenance has not been adopted, shock absorbers, brake rotors and pads, tires and other factors very likely will require to be changed. If the tires are outdated, they likely have dry rot, fundamentally cracking thanks to age, generating them perilous. Other age-similar elements consist of the radiator and heater core.”

Presented the present product or service lack and the growing selling price of new and used cars, owners are keeping and driving their vehicles more time than at any time. Getty

So when purchasing for a employed car, never constantly presume that the most affordable-mileage case in point of the car or truck you want is the greatest obtain. Really typically, the highway commuter in everyday use will be significantly less trouble than the static screen. The to start with thing to check with for is the provider information, which wise house owners retain. Chances are, the garage car was out of sight and out of thoughts and will need to have a recommissioning that could be high priced.

Instead, focus on the acquire cost and trustworthiness as very well as the odometer looking at. And choose a car with a solid status for dependability, in particular when searching in the $10,000 and underneath range.

Which Car Models Have the Greatest Dependability

The brand names with the greatest trustworthiness rating for 2012 types, in accordance to Consumer Reports, are Lexus (93 brand dependability score), Toyota (86), Acura (79), Honda (70), Nissan (67), Mazda (66) and Volvo (54), Mercedes-Benz (47) and GM (42).

What you want to see in the company data for these cars is a systematic approach to maintenance at sure milestones for every the manufacturer’s recommendations. A lot of proprietors are zealous when a car is new, finding frequent oil variations, tire rotations and brake inspections, but then slack off as it ages. Some dealerships offer you schedule solutions free of charge, at minimum at first. Among 36,000 and 60,000 miles, CR says, cars are most likely to need to have a new battery, tires and brake pads, with wheel alignment and brake rotors possible.  

In between 60,000 and 100,000, with most cars out of guarantee, suspension parts such as shocks, struts and bushings will turn out to be suspect. A four-wheel alignment need to accompany any sizeable front-conclusion operate. This is the tipping issue exactly where estimates start off to get higher ample for several proprietors to defer maintenance. Facts implies they are going to promote it in any case, with the regular operator retaining a car for just around 11 years.

Investing in a expert inspection when getting any used car is very suggested. A superior mechanic can location possible issues places or worn parts swiftly. Getty

What to Expect When You Strike 100,000 Miles or Much more

The wallet is probable to be open a truthful amount amongst 100,000 and 150,000 miles, with the plugs, starter, alternator and the timing belt all getting suspect. And if the miles continue to pile on, chances are oil seals will be leaking, possibly the engine or transmission (or both equally) could require rebuilding, and you really should price range for a new exhaust system and perhaps a head gasket.

With a superior-mileage car preserved by a diligent owner, prospects are considerably of this operate has previously been finished. If so, the preceding owner’s decline is your obtain. Even with a pretty well-managed vehicle, the rate goes down as the miles go up, translating into a good buy for the savvy buyer.

Devoid of receipts—or maybe even with them—you’re heading to want to have an unbiased garage or inspection assistance to glance any high-mileage car about. The situation of the car will be apparent—the experts can notify. If you have a romantic relationship with a garage, they may possibly do it as a courtesy, but paying a acceptable rate is worth it to steer clear of a problematic automobile.

The moment you individual the car, examine the owner’s handbook for a right routine maintenance routine and adhere to it rigidly. Adjustments are you still won’t access Irv Gordon’s 3.25 million miles, but nearly anything earlier mentioned 200,000 carries bragging rights. How your car treats you is quite dependent on how you treat it.


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