Most people know that mileage matters when buying a used vehicle. Also, the vast majority are convinced that lower mileage absolutely means that the car is in good condition. But, is it really so, or is it a common misconception?

When it comes to determining what is a good mileage for a used car, things are rarely one-sided. Numerous factors play a role in this calculation and focusing only on one is not enough to ascertain the overall condition of the vehicle.

That being said, mileage is a critical point of consideration when buying a car, and understanding how it impacts its overall condition will help you buy the best vehicle for your specific needs. So, let’s dive in and see what can be considered good mileage, as well as how much mileage is too much for a used car.

Why does used car mileage matter?

Mileage provides valuable information about the car’s current overall condition and potential future performance and reliability. This makes it one of the key statistics of a vehicle but, also, a powerful decision-making tool when it comes to buying a used car from a dealership, as it can help you determine:

  • The extent of engine wear: The engine’s performance and longevity are directly proportionate to the car’s mileage. The higher the number on the odometer, the more wear and tear the engine incurred.
  • The state of key components: Other critical parts of the vehicle, such as transmission, suspension, and brakes, also experience wear the more they’re used. Here, mileage can be a good indicator of potential high maintenance or replacement requirements.
  • Maintenance intervals & regularity: Many crucial servicing tasks, including oil changes and belt replacements, are typically scheduled based on the mileage. As such, the mileage-to-maintenance-frequency ratio can be an excellent predictor of the car’s future reliability.
  • Fuel efficiency: In general, vehicles with lower mileage tend to have better fuel economy. However, do note that this is based on the premise that engine performance falls off with increased wear, which can be mitigated with quality maintenance, albeit to an extent.
  • Potential repair costs: Again, as a general rule, higher-mileage cars tend to be more prone to breakdowns and frequent repairs.
  • Resale value: For the reasons mentioned above, vehicles sporting lower mileage tend to have higher resale value and vice versa.

However, it must be noted that, while mileage is a key factor, it still doesn’t paint a complete picture of the overall state of the car. To generate a comprehensive overview, it is best to use it in conjunction with other elements, such as maintenance records and a thorough inspection (preferably by a qualified mechanic).

good mileage for a used car

How many miles is too many for a used car?

As a general guideline, many automotive experts consider a car with over 150,000 miles to be in a high mileage category. Even so, there is no definitive number that can say how much mileage is too much for a used car, at least not with decisive reliability. Same as the car is more than the sum of its parts, its overall state is the amalgamation of various factors, the most prominent ones being:

  • The make & model: Some vehicles are built to withstand more “punishment”, which (slightly) diminishes the significance of the mileage as a priority consideration.
  • Usage patterns: The type and frequency of driving can help determine what is the good mileage for a used car. For example, regular stop-and-go city driving causes much more stress on a vehicle than frequent highway cruises.
  • Maintenance quality: A well-cared-for vehicle with higher mileage can be more reliable than a neglected one with low mileage.

Is a car bad after 200,000 miles?

Just because a vehicle has 200,000 miles doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “bad”. If we take the previously mentioned factors into account, we can see that even this can be a good mileage for a used car. In addition, modern automobiles (i.e. those made in the late 90’s early 00’s) are generally designed to be more durable than their predecessors.

With proper maintenance and conventional usage, these rides can often exceed the “used car mileage sweet spot” of 100,000 miles by a significant margin (i.e. several times), and continue to run well. However, even though a car with 200,000 miles under the hood can still be reliable, you should never forgo a thorough inspection before buying.

When buying a used car what mileage is best?

Previously, we mentioned a “used car mileage sweet spot” as one of the determining factors of a vehicle’s reliability. While this is not an official or clearly defined metric, primarily because it varies from one car to the next, we can use it to establish some general guidelines that can aid you in finding the best mileage car for you:

  • Under 50,000 miles = low mileage;
  • 50,000 – 150,000 miles = moderate mileage;
  • Above 150,000 miles = high mileage.

Ultimately, the “best” mileage for your next car will depend on your budget, intended use, and comfort levels regarding potential maintenance needs.

What matters more mileage or age?

Why does used car mileage matter

Both factors are equally important when evaluating a used car. However, their relative significance can vary depending on the specific circumstances. So, let’s break them down and see how each influences the state of the vehicle:

Mileage:

  • Lower mileage typically means less wear and tear on the engine and other components. In general, from these cars, you can expect fewer mechanical issues, better performance, and increased fuel economy, albeit at a higher initial cost.
  • Exceedingly low mileage can indicate that the vehicle spent a lot of time inactive, which comes with its own set of issues. Alternatively, it can indicate that the odometer has been tampered with, so be sure to thoroughly research the vehicle’s history before committing.

Age:

  • Newer vehicles typically have less accumulated mileage, which translates into less wear and tear on the components. This also means that they can cost significantly more than their mileage-heavy counterparts, especially with all the modern features.
  • Even if a car is relatively new, it may have been subjected to harsh driving conditions, insufficient maintenance, or neglect, all of which could’ve made a significant impact on its reliability, performance, and overall condition over time.

Where can I buy a reliable used car with good mileage near me?

Looking for a car that hits that sweet spot between mileage, age, and price? Look no further than BYOT – the leading used car dealership anywhere from Easterwood Airport to Northwood to Pebble Creek.

We offer an unparalleled selection of used cars of all models and makes at prices hardly any dealership in the region can meet. With every vehicle being rigorously inspected for performance and reliability, we’re certain to tick all the boxes on your car buying checklist.

Get in touch with us today and rest assured that you’ll leave with a faithful companion that will serve you well for years to come!