Buying a Used Vehicle: Does Car Mileage Actually Matter?

Car mileage. Everyone purchasing a used vehicle should take this into account, undoubtedly. Still, it’s also a bit of a double-edged sword, as there’s no simple way to interpret it. In reality, the number of miles alone may not always be a useful tool to consider. That’s why we’ve looked at whether or not mileage actually matters in today’s guide.

Why Does Mileage Matter When Buying a Used Car?

There are numerous reasons that mileage matters. Indeed, how far your car has travelled plays a direct role in the amount of wear it’s experienced. In turn, this can also influence whether it is likely to be a good purchase.

A car that hasn’t done much mileage is less likely to have experienced significant wear and tear. In contrast, a vehicle that has travelled hundreds of thousands of miles could be much more likely to struggle. As such, many people will look for a vehicle that has a low mileage when buying second-hand.

In some cases, if cars have been written off in their history, it’s likely they have lower mileage. However, always proceed with caution with those cars to ensure there are no major issues.

With that being said, high mileage can offer a significant benefit: price. Certainly, high mileage is often off putting for many buyers. As a result of this, it’s not uncommon for vehicles with lots of miles showing to be less valuable. This can save a significant sum on money on the price tag. Just be careful not to get landed with something that’s going to need thousands in repairs. Not worth it, usually.

Displayed Mileage is Only Part of the Equation

There’s no doubt that mileage is incredibly important, but it’s crucial to keep in mind here that it’s not a simple measure. Indeed, the number of miles that a car has travelled does not always equate directly to its wear and tear. As such, considering how the seller used the car is also crucial.

There are several factors to consider here. For one thing, if the car has been used only for short trips, there’s much more chance the engine will have worked more than its fair share. In contrast, long journeys are generally less taxing on the engine. In addition to this, consider whether the car has been used for towing; if so, there’s a high likelihood it will have worked much harder. And, of course, there’s the question of terrain. A car that frequently goes on off-road tracks and roads likely will have had much more suspension strain.

So, while looking at the mileage is important to begin with, it can’t tell you the full story. Be sure to question the seller on this before going further to ensure you know the car’s condition.

Always Check the Car’s History Before Buying

As we have seen in today’s guide, mileage isn’t necessarily a simple factor to consider. After all, there’s a lot of difference between a car that’s done 100,000 miles of driving vs towing. As such, while mileage definitely matters, we strongly recommend checking your car’s history by running a MOT check before handing over any money. This simple check can help ensure you’re getting the car you expect – not one with extra baggage.