Buying Used Cars: How Many Miles on a Used Car Is Too Much?

Car Dashboard Showing Mileage

Are you in the market for a used car?

Who isn’t? In 2018 alone, over 40 million used cars were sold in the United States, compared to just 17 million for new cars.

While we’d all love to splurge on a brand-new car, finances don’t usually allow. A used car is cheaper and, as long as you make a good buy, offers better value for money.

However, buying used has its challenges. It’s easy to buy a car that’s on its last legs.

This brings us to the question: how many miles on a used car is too much?

Keep reading for more insight.

Why the Focus on Car Mileage?

You’re probably wondering why most used car buyers give particular attention to car mileage.

After all, a car with a lower mileage doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best buy. If the said car was involved in a major collision but was beat back to life by mechanics, anyone will advise you to stay away from it.

On the other hand, it’s possible to find an accident-free car that has seen plenty of tarmac but still got thousands of miles to go.

Well, car mileage is the go-to way to determine how used a car is. Considering that a regular car engine is expected to last about 200,000 miles with proper maintenance, it’s easy to see why you wouldn’t want to buy a used car that’s closer to this mark.

What’s an Acceptable Mileage on a Used Car?

So, then, what’s the magic mileage number when you’re out to buy used cars?

If you do a simple online search, you’ll find that auto experts recommend a well-used car shouldn’t register more than 12,000 miles a year. So, if the car you’re looking to buy is 5 years old, it should have no more than 70,000 miles on it.

To be practical, a car with 70K miles can be a good buy, considering that all other factors hold up.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic number. There’s no guarantee that a car with lower mileage will end up being your best buy.

How the Car Accrued the Mileage Matters Big Time

In addition to considering the mileage on a used car, it’s super important to evaluate how it accrued those miles.

For instance, a car with 70K miles but mostly used in rough terrain won’t be the same as a car with similar millage (same make) but used in city driving.

Rough terrain can be harsh on a car, hastening its wear and tear. On the other hand, city driving on smooth roads will do little to no damage to a car.

Which is the better buy? Your pick is as good as ours.

It’s also essential to consider the car manufacturer. Some manufacturers have a solid reputation for producing automobiles that hold together pretty well. Others are known to make cars that come apart with the slightest provocation.

Hand’s up if you would you buy a Toyota Camry with 70K miles on it or a BMW 3 series with 70K miles. As you can see, everyone’s hand is up. 

How Many Miles on a Used Car Is Too Much?

So, how many miles on a used car is too much?

It’s clear that anything close to 200K miles is a no, regardless of the make of the car. But beyond that, there’s no magic number. You shouldn’t look at just the number of miles a car has accumulated. You must also consider how those miles were accumulated.

All the best and keep reading our blog for motoring tips.