Mileage on Used Cars: What to Look For & What to Avoid

When you are searching for the best used cars in Colorado Springs to buy, you might wonder what is considered to be "good mileage" on a used car. We will walk through the current average mileage on all used cars and what is considered the best mileage to look for. It's our job to help you find the perfect used car at the best price, but not all high mileage cars are worth the investment. Let's take a closer look at the used car mileage and what you can expect.

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What's the Average Mileage of Used Cars on the Road?

There's a general rule you'll want to stick to while looking at the mileage on a potential used car purchase. Lower is better. The average mileage a car accrues per year is 12,000 miles. Given that number, the average 10-year-old car should have roughly 120,000 miles on the odometer. You can use these numbers to determine if the car you're looking to buy is considered to have high mileage or low mileage for the age of the vehicle. Usually, the fewer miles that a car has been driven, the better. If you can find some used cars with fewer than the average miles on most used cars sold today, you will be in better shape. Of course, higher miles aren't always a bad thing. If the car was used to commute on the highway, it doesn't have as much wear as a vehicle with city miles. Depending on the manufacturer and production years, certain used cars take on less wear and operate just fine with higher mileage accumulation. Regular maintenance and upkeep of the car over its lifetime plays a vital role as well.

For Used Cars, What's the Optimal Mileage to Look For?

For the most part, you want to look for low mileage used cars. There's no rule to how many miles on a used car is too much, but by attempting to stick to the 12,000 miles per year rule is a great place to start. Find out how old the car is, multiple the number of years by 12,000, and if the number on the odometer is significantly higher than that, some concern might be warranted. You would then want to do an in-depth check on the car to see how well the car was maintained and if there were any major replacements or repairs. This is a good guideline to use, whether it is a car, truck, SUV, or luxury model you're looking to buy.

How Does Accrued Mileage Affect Used Car Prices?

Dark image of a used car odometer showing high mileage with lots of cash falling

Consider this. You're looking at two cars of the same make, model, year and condition. One car has 30,000 miles and the other car has 90,000 miles. If you manage to find used cars with low mileage, you might find yourself paying a little more to get behind the wheel. Subsequently, the first car will cost more because there has been less operation, meaning less wear and tear, so that car is of a higher value to the consumer. That doesn't necessarily mean that car #2 is a bad choice, or a bad vehicle, as mileage alone is not the sole reason why you should buy car #1 over car #2. Of course, you have the option to save money by choosing something with higher than average mileage, but you might end up with more repairs down the road. If you stick to the average car mileage per year calculation, you get a delicate balance of value and reliability.

For Used Cars, What Mileage Should I Steer Away From?

Most of today's cars are built to last at least 150,000 miles. That doesn't mean that you want something with that many miles on it, but it helps you to determine what mileage will work for you. With that said, diesel engines typically last longer than gasoline engines, so you can feel a little more at ease after buying a higher mileage vehicle if it is equipped with a diesel powertrain. Some brands also tend to last longer than others. For example, Toyota and Honda are known for vehicles exceeding 200,000 miles regularly. 

Should I Consider Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles?

When you buy a certified pre-owned car, you receive more assurances. These vehicles are newly used and feature fewer mileage as part of the deal. Certified pre-owned vehicles undergo strict inspections and have additional used car warranties. To receive these guarantees, you will pay slightly more, but you spend less on repairs, and you receive maximum reliability while getting in a car that still feels brand new.

Phil Long CertiRide

Phil Long CertiRide certified pre-owned program flyer

Every car manufacturer dictates its own rules for their certified used car program. Some of them use a 150-point inspection, while others require a 172-point inspection. There are also various mileage limits between the various programs. Phil Long Dealerships now offers our very own certified pre-owned program outside of what the manufacturer offers called Phil Long CertiRide. With Phil Long CertiRide, we are able to certify more used cars regardless of the manufacturer and give our customers a better product. We only certify used vehicles that are 5 years old or newer and have less than 50,000 used car mileage. Our vehicles undergo a 125-point inspection and come with a 3-year warranty. You also get 7 days to try it out and exchange the model if you don't like it. When you look at our used car inventory, you will browse with an additional peace of mind knowing that these are some of the best used cars in the Colorado Springs area. On top of that, we offer superior discounts and incentives, so you don't need to spend more. Contact us today with any questions about the CertiRide program.

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