Used Cars

How Many Miles Should a Used Car Have?

By TheCarzingTeam May 27, 2022 | Used Cars

Used Cars

How many miles should a used car have? The answer really depends on each individual buyer, but the odometer reading can give insight about the life of a vehicle and could signal the need for future repairs, too.

In general, higher mileage could affect a vehicle’s:

  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Life expectancy
  • Mechanics and performance

How Many Miles Should a Used Car Have

The Odometer Reading and the Vehicle’s Reliability

A car with high mileage on the odometer could deter some buyers, especially those who want to use the car for a long daily commute. Other buyers, though, might not be too focused on an odometer reading, as the vehicle might not be a secondary vehicle or might only be driven around town.

Buyers who notice high mileage on the odometer might be concerned about the vehicle’s reliability. The more mileage on a vehicle, the more it has been driven and more miles could lead to more wear and tear.

Not all cars handle high mileage the same, though. Some vehicles can drive up to 200,000 miles and still have no issues mechanically—beyond the standard tune-ups. Other vehicles could start having issues once the vehicle hits 100,000 miles.

Some cars are more reliable than others. A list compiled by Car and Driver of the most reliable cars was composed primarily of Japanese-based brands. In fact, only one U.S.-based model made the list: the Buick Encore. 

In addition, two models by Audi also were featured. Every other vehicle, though, was manufactured by Toyota, Lexus (Toyota’s luxury arm), Mazda, Honda and Hyundai.

MotorBiscuit took reliability hundreds of thousands of miles further and summed up a list of all the cars that could hit 300,000 miles. Interestingly, while three out of the top five were manufactured by Japan-based brands, Ford and Chevrolet models also came in fourth and fifth place respectively.

The Honda Civic came in at the top of the list, followed by Subaru Legacy/Outback, Toyota Tacoma, Ford Escape Hybrid and the Chevrolet Silverado. The rest of the top 10, though, was dominated by Japanese brands, although the Ford F-150 was listed as number eight.

Some cars can push the odometer to 300,000 miles; these models might be worth considering for buyers who want a vehicle that can survive high odometer readings.

Mileage and Price

Many factors affect the price of an automobile. The make/model of a vehicle is a strong determinant of the price of a vehicle, but age, condition and mileage affect the value of a car, too.

High mileage can decrease the value of a vehicle because it is often indicative of more wear and tear. Higher mileage could mean that the vehicle might face future mechanical issues or it could lead to a shorter life for the car.

For buyers who are looking for a specific model but have a lower budget, high mileage could mean a more reasonable price point. However, buyers should research the model to better understand the reliability of the vehicle and if it is known to withstand high mileage.

How Many Miles Should a Used Car Have

High Mileage and the Mechanics of the Vehicle

As vehicles accrue more miles on the odometer, car owners might have to deal with some routine maintenance that correlates to mileage milestones. For example, at 100,000 miles, cars might need the following replacements:

  • Belts (perhaps the serpentine belt)
  • Tires
  • Brakes
  • Water pump

Every model is built a bit differently, though. Not all vehicles will require a new serpentine belt at 100,000 miles, and others might still have a perfect water pump. However, as the car is driven more, mechanics start to have issues.

To better understand when parts might need to be replaced or serviced, car owners can consult their owner’s manual.

All vehicles will need new tires and brakes eventually. Tires naturally wear down and lose tread the more they are in motion. Brakes and brake pads wear down as they are used.

How Many Miles Should a Used Car Have

Mileage and the Vehicle’s Life Expectancy

Cars can last a long time if they are properly maintained. However, cars that are driven often and accrue high mileage could see a shorter lifespan.

The age of the car doesn’t necessarily lead to a car’s demise. Many classic cars can still be driven and are in great shape. Collectors could have cars that are more than 70 years old in their garage.

Driving a car often and accruing high mileage will cause issues with vehicles—some face more issues than others. A car might see the end of its life at 200,000 miles, or it could be one of the vehicles on the list that can drive beyond 300,000 miles.

Eventually, the car may be more expensive to repair than it is worth. At this point, most owners realize that it makes more sense to move on to a newer model.

What is the Best Mileage for a Used Vehicle?

Buyers who are searching for the best used car might wonder how many miles are ideal for the odometer. What is the best mileage for a used vehicle? The answer is different for every make/model and for the individual driver, too.

A buyer who drives often and has a long commute every day might need a vehicle with lower mileage. While some models can rack up hundreds of thousands of miles on their odometer, every mile contributes to wear and tear. Eventually, the car will cost more to repair than what it is worth.

Buyers who need a vehicle that can endure high mileage can focus on the vehicles on MotorBiscuit’s list. If they are looking at a model from the list that has more than 100,000 miles, knowing that the car could push to 300,000 miles could mean that the higher mileage at purchase might not be such a deal breaker.

Other buyers, though, might still feel that a high mileage vehicle is not worth considering. While some models can drive up to 300,000 miles, some buyers aren’t comfortable taking the gamble.

Mileage could be the difference, though, between a car that is affordable and a car that is out of the budget. Some buyers could have no choice but to purchase a vehicle with higher mileage; these cars might be the only options in their budget.

Use Carzing to Find Cars with the Best Mileage

Car buyers who are looking for the best used vehicle can use Carzing to find their options. Carzing lets users find cars based on make/model, price and body type.

Car buyers also can sort their options using mileage parameters, too.  Carzing lets buyers set limitations on mileage to find the vehicles that fit their needs.  Buyers also can sort their results by mileage, too. Choose to view the vehicles with the lowest mileage at the top of the page or view the cars with the highest mileage first.

Carzing also lets buyers get pre-qualified for financing once they find their favorite car. Buyers can find the loan option that best fits into their monthly budget. Print out the voucher with the loan details and take it to the dealership. At the dealership, buyers can complete the credit application and, hopefully, finalize the transaction.

Carzing serves as a one-stop shop for car buyers to find their best new or used car and review their financing options, too.

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