What’s the Best Mileage to Get a Used Car At?

January 27th, 2023 by

It’s everyone’s dream to buy a brand-new vehicle. However, not all of us can afford to pay the high price tags. Many people also avoid new vehicles due to their high depreciation cost in the first year. A new car depreciates or loses value almost immediately after leaving the dealer’s lot. If you want to save money and still get a car in good shape with plenty of life, you may want to opt for a 2- or 3-year-old used car.

However, buying a used vehicle requires proper research and planning. One area you should concentrate on is the mileage indicated on the odometer. The number of miles provides a rough insight into how far the previous owner has driven the vehicle and how much life is left in the motor. What is good mileage for a used car? AutoCenters Herculaneum discusses everything you need to know about mileage in a used car to help you choose the right vehicle.

Why Does Used Car Mileage Matter?

Every mile you drive contributes to the wear and tear of your car, so mileage is important because it acts as a rough estimate of a car’s lifespan. Under normal circumstances, a vehicle with 40,000 miles is considered relatively new, even if it’s several years old. Similarly, a younger vehicle with over 140,000 miles is considered older. However, it’s critical to point out that this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in bad condition. When buying a used car, you must consider other factors that affect the vehicle’s overall condition.

How Many Miles Should A Used Car Have?

When shopping for a used car, it’s essential to look for a vehicle with less than 100,000 miles on the odometer. The average driver travels about 10,000 to 12,000 miles per year in their vehicle. To determine if the car you want to buy has reasonable mileage, simply multiply its age by 12,000. That means a 5-year-old vehicle should read anywhere around 60,000 miles. More or fewer miles can indicate trouble in the future.

While mileage is a critical factor for determining whether a car is a good buy, it only acts as a guide to determine whether to proceed with the buying process. You also need to consider other factors, such as age, number of previous owners, repair needs, accidents, and maintenance history.

What Other Factors Should You Consider in a Used Car Apart From Mileage?

Once you’re satisfied with the mileage, you must go through other factors before deciding whether a car is a good buy.


An older vehicle generally indicates more use. However, there’s nothing wrong with driving more if the car is in good condition. It’s better to buy an older vehicle that’s well maintained than a new one that’s poorly maintained. Similarly, a vehicle with higher mileage that’s in good condition is better than a vehicle with low mileage that’s full of mechanical issues.

Owner History

You’ll need to see the vehicle’s history before starting the buying process. A 5-year-old vehicle with 60,000 miles can be a good option. However, it’s not a good buy if it has had five owners, as this makes it harder to predict how it was driven or whether it was well maintained.

Highway Miles vs. City Miles

A vehicle that drives more on the flat highway at stable speeds is a better buy because the driver puts less stress on the vehicle than stop-and-go traffic in the city. Miles on city vehicles involve a lot of stop-and-go, which puts extra wear on the brakes and other components.

Accident History

If a vehicle has had any major accidents, there’s a high probability that it has undergone a significant repair. The owner may have replaced key original components or parts. This could be a major concern if the parts that they installed aren’t genuine manufacturer parts, as this can cause trouble in the future.

Service History

The service history is important as it tells you about the current condition of the vehicle. When buying a used vehicle, ask to see the service and maintenance records. A high-mileage car that’s properly serviced is better than a low-mileage car that’s been driven over 50,000 miles without an oil change.

How Does Depreciation Affect the Cost of a Used Car?

Depreciation is the rate at which your vehicle loses value over time. Most vehicles lose about 20% of their value within the first year. Luckily, the depreciation rate slows down after that. Some cars depreciate much faster than others, which may have nothing to do with their quality. In most cases, a vehicle may lose value faster if it’s not a popular model.

That means that if only a few people are looking to buy this particular vehicle, whether new or used, it’ll be difficult to resell. Owners end up lowering the price to attract buyers, which affects the overall value loss. Buyers looking to buy used vehicles often go for popular cars, as they’re easier to resell, and their spare parts are cheaper and readily available.

With that said, you’re likely to pay more for some used vehicles than others, even if they were made in the same year. For instance, you may pay more when buying a used 2018 Toyota RAV4 than a Hyundai Tucson of the same year.

What’s More Important — Mileage or Age?

If you’ve checked your vehicle’s warranty before, the coverage is usually measured based on the vehicle’s age or number of miles driven, whichever comes first.

However, regarding the vehicle’s value, age is not a strong factor because it’s easy to find a 10-year-old vehicle selling at a higher price than a 7-year-old one, and that’s where other factors come in. Mileage and age have a significant impact when combined as one factor.

Once you’re interested in a car, you must compare its age to its mileage. Drivers have different driving habits, and some drive more often than others. For instance, it’s possible to find a 5-year-old vehicle with 40,000 miles and another with 70,000 miles in the same year. In such a case, you may want to check other factors before making your decision.

Now that you know the best mileage to look for in a car, why not browse our extensive inventory and book a test drive? Contact us today or stop by our dealership in St. Louis, Missouri, and our friendly sales staff will help you find a vehicle that meets your lifestyle needs and budget.


Posted in Used cars