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How Many Miles is Too Many on a Used Car?

July 22, 2021

Whether you own a car already or are considering buying a used car, you’ve probably thought about the question: how many miles is too many on a used car? Understanding how the mileage on your current or potential car will affect its performance can help you make a wise purchasing decision and plan for the future.

How mileage affects your car

Mileage can affect the performance and value of your car. On average, drivers put about 13,500 miles on their cars every year. If you clock more miles, that can significantly change the value of your car.

In addition, car parts need to be replaced according to the miles on your car. Depending on the brand and quality, tires will need to be replaced about every 30,000-80,000 miles. Oil changes are required on average about 5,000-7,000 miles, and brake pads also have to be replaced at regular mileage intervals.

All this goes to show that miles put wear on your car and, over time, this can cause damage that amounts to costly repairs.

How miles and age impact a used car’s value

Mileage should be considered in combination with age. If you have a three-year-old car with 70,000 miles on it, this will likely be considered high mileage because the car has significantly higher mileage than most cars its age. On the other hand, a 10-year-old car with 70,000 miles on it may be considered low mileage for its age.

In general, though, cars with more than 100,000 miles on them are typically considered high mileage.

How to know if your used car has too many miles

Mileage is just one of many factors that can help you decide if you need to replace your car. Most people replace their cars when they become unreliable or unsafe. However, if your used car is getting up in years and miles, it can be hard to determine if it’s worth it to pay for costly repairs versus putting the money toward a new car.

First and foremost, if your used car is unsafe to drive – if there are fundamental issues that crop up that could threaten your safety or the safety of others on the road — it’s probably a good idea to get a new car.

Aside from safety, though, if you’re facing costly repairs and your car is high in mileage, you will likely continue facing issues in the future. It can be useful to consider the cost of the repairs relative to the value of the used car. You can also weigh how much it would cost to get a new vehicle.

How to know if a used car for sale has too many miles

The way that mileage affects a used car depends on what types of miles were put on the car and how it was maintained throughout its life. In other words, mileage is just one factor that determines whether a car will be reliable and a good purchase.

Below are some additional factors to consider when deciding whether a particular used car is a good financial decision.

The type of miles on a used car

How and where the car is driven throughout its life affects the mileage. In general, racking up long trips on freeways can be better for your car than miles accumulated from many short trips. Around town, more wear and tear is placed on the brakes and transmission when compared to long trips on the highway at the same speed for many miles.

The maintenance history of a used car

You will want to consider the car’s mileage in the context of its history of ownership and maintenance. If a used car was owned by a single owner who kept up with maintenance, mileage is less concerning. However, a car with the same mileage that was owned by several different owners with a spotty maintenance record can post some serious concerns.

Age of a used car

As mentioned, a car’s age should be considered in combination with its mileage. Really, you’ll want to consider miles per year more than total mileage. Aim for a car that’s well in the below-average to average mileage per year – around 10-12,000 miles per year.

How many miles is too many when shopping for a used car

A well-maintained car can last for many years, so be sure to consider all of these things in combination when shopping for a used car.

If you’ve decided that you’re ready to purchase a car, you may be thinking about how to budget for this. Many people wonder how much money they can afford to spend on a used car. This is where Red River Credit Union can assist!

To help you understand your budget and determine how much you can afford, click below.

How Much You Should Spend on a Car

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