ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — If you’re in the market for a used car but have a tight budget, you may be wondering: how many miles are too many miles on a car?
According to Progressive, the average car is driven 10,000 to 12,000 miles per year. With the average age of a vehicle on the road being 12 years, that puts an average car on the road at 144,000 miles.
Every mile driven contributes to the wear and tear on a car, so ultimately how reliable a high mileage car will be is dependent on the vehicle’s condition, history (did the previous owners keep the car well maintained?), and the car make, model and year of production.
In the old days, a car with over 100,000 miles would be considered at the end of its life.
According to TrueCar, engines have come a long way since they were developed in the 1860s. Thanks to advancements in engineering, modern car engines produced within the last decade or so last much longer than they used to.
If a high mileage car has little by way of major issues in its vehicle history (which can be looked up either usually through the manufacturer’s website or through reporting services like Carfax) it’s a pretty good indication that the vehicle is reliable.
However, experts recommend that potential buyers have a car inspected by a qualified mechanic, specifically to check the chassis for rust.
According to Forbes, once you see rust, a vehicle is not worth repairing. Rust is especially problematic in states with winter climates, where road salt and water can eventually eat the vehicle’s undercarriage.
Also recommended: replace all the fluids (oil, transmission, coolant, etc) on a newly purchased used vehicle, and consider replacing the timing belt or chain, and filters, and possibly the fuel pump.
A mechanic should also check the condition of the oil, the tire condition, the engine belts, brake wear, and for any signs of leaks.
Keeping up good maintenance on a high-mileage used car could keep the engine going well past 200,000 miles. According to CNN Business, most cars and SUVs now go at least 200,00 miles.
The benefit of buying a high-mileage car generally means cheaper insurance rates, slower depreciation, and a lower sale price.
Because the previous owners took the big hit in deprecation, a well-maintained car with over 100,000 miles could sell for close to the price paid for it, down the line.