May 25, 2024

Exploring how many miles on a used car is too much

Buying a car is an exciting and time-consuming process. Nonetheless, of our excitement to drive our new “best buddies” as soon as possible, we have to follow some boring steps. The purchasing process might take a much longer time in case we decide to get a used automobile. On the one hand, it’s riskier as we don’t own any warranty or information about previous owners. Besides, there are some tips that help us to determine how reliable the automobile is. 

On the other hand, by purchasing a used vehicle we avoid price depreciation and save a lot of money. Nonetheless, we might not have a lot of information on how well it was kept, thorough inspection keeps us on the safe side. Below we will discuss how much mileage is good for a used car. You, as other individuals might consider mileage as the main thing for determining vehicle longevity. We’ll also explore whether we should give such a big importance to the mileage or not. The below-mentioned information can help you to find out all the needed details for making a good decision!

How much mileage is good for a used car and why it is so important? 

Answering the question of how many miles should a used car have, is hard. It depends on many different factors. The first thing we check in a vehicle is the odometer during a pre-purchase inspection. Most of the buyers move on to further inspection only after checking the mileage data. I assume you have heard that one of the first things the buyer asks is, the year of a release and covered distance. Those two things have outstanding importance for an automobile.

On average 12,000 miles are covered by a driver per year. Hence, if you plan to buy a 5 years old automobile, it’s preferable to see 60,000 miles on the odometer. Of course, some automobiles might have more or fewer miles. You may ask, how many miles is a lot on a car. Well, it depends on many factors. But if you are looking for a 5 years old automobile, then its mileage shouldn’t be above 70,000. 

In general, indicated numbers on the odometer can tell us a lot about a vehicle. It is considered that the higher number means more wear and tear. Each manufacturer determines how many miles can the automobile cover on average, without any technical issue. But that’s not always true… For instance, let’s compare two same models with almost the same mileage data. Even in that case, it’s irrelevant to say that a model with higher miles has more wear and tear and less longevity. This is because just numbers can’t determine the reliability and longevity of a car. It is important to know for which purpose was the vehicle used. Of course, racing cars have much more wear and tear, than automobiles driven mostly in the city. 

After determining how many miles on a used car is too much, and why it is so important let’s move on to the next topic. 

Misleading of how many miles should a used car have

As I’ve already mentioned saying a concrete number of how many miles on a used car is too much, depends on many things. Otherwise, saying that for instance, 200,000 miles is a lot, can lead us to mislead. Below I’ll share with you different cases that give you a clear picture of why we can’t consider one certain number as too many or few.

As you already know on average a driver covers 12,000 miles in a year and if you are looking at a 10 years old car, it should have 120,000 miles. But drivers’ profession can affect the number a lot. For instance, real estate agents always drive much more than others. They have to visit many locations due to their profession. Hence, if the automobile you are looking for is 10 years old and the odometer shows much more than 120,000 miles, don’t hesitate to examine further details. You may ask the owner for which purpose was the vehicle used. 

To sum up, while reviewing how much mileage is good for a used car, previous owners’ profession, living area, and a hobby should be taken into account before making the final decision. There can be an individual who uses automobiles mostly for going on weekends out of the city and covers 130,000 miles a year. Another individual might love racing and covers 120,000 miles per year. In that case, I would advise you to get an automobile with 130,000 miles, as a fewer mileage doesn’t always mean a longer lifespan for a car. 

And last but not least, mileage data can be adjusted for deceitful purposes. Hence, for checking whether the odometer was rolled back or not, you can ask the owner to show you oil change, or maintenance receipts. There are always indicated odometer data on the receipts. Additionally, you can check inspection stickers located on door frames or windows.

How to determine how many miles is a lot on a car

Let me share with you another argument, why you shouldn’t use only the odometer number for deciding how many miles is good for a used car. Let’s compare two automobiles, with the same brand, model, year of release but with different miles. In the beginning, we might think that an automobile with fewer miles would be more reliable. But, there is another detail that we should take into account – the number of previous owners. Nonetheless, we might get information from the last owner, we don’t know a lot about all previous owners. For which purposes was the vehicle used, how well it was kept by all of them, etc. 

After reading all the above-mentioned information, you might be a bit confused. But don’t be afraid, nonetheless of the complication, there is a way to determine how many miles can you put on a car. In a simple way, you can multiply the number of a car by 12,000 miles (the average number covered per year). But as we’ve reviewed, automobiles with bigger mileage might be in a better condition compared to other models with fewer miles. 

Even though we might have only the odometer data, there is another way to get information about automobiles’ reliability. By using a VIN code, you can get any information related to a vehicles’ history, its warranty, thefts, oil change, inspections, etc. Hence, combining all those details will give a clear vision of the overall condition of a car. 


 All in all, it’s hard to determine how many miles on a car is bad. As we’ve reviewed in different cases, it depends on previous owners, how well they kept, the number of owners, the purpose, and many other details. Hence, nonetheless, it’s considered that on average a driver covers 12,000 miles, don’t rush to make the final decision before combining all the existing information. 

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