How Much Mileage Should a Car Have? A Used Car Buying Guide

Juliet D'cruz

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In 2017, there were over 225 million licensed drivers in the US. And every year, that number increases by 3.6%!

Based on these statistics, we’d wager a guess that you’re a licensed driver too. And you might be in the market for a vehicle, but you can’t afford a completely new one. Because of that, you’ve got a million thoughts in your head about buying used.

For example, how much mileage should a car have? An what else should you look for when buying a used car?

Read on to find out what to look for in a used car so you get the best deal possible.

How Much Mileage Should a Car Have?

Obviously, the lower the number, the better. But it’s not exactly as simple as that.

A general formula to use is to multiply the age of the car (in years) by around 10,000 to 12,000 miles. For example, a car that’s 5 years old should have around 50,000 to 60,000 miles on it.

If you see any number that’s significantly higher, it’s probably not worth your cash. You should also avoid suspiciously low odometer numbers. While the vehicles might look amazing, there might be tons of problems under the hood because of lack of use.

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Other Things to Consider

As we’ve just pointed out, just because a car looks like it’s in good shape doesn’t necessarily mean it is. So how can you get a better idea of what a vehicle is really like?

For one, you should always ask questions. Whether you’re buying from a used car dealer or independent seller, treat it as if you’re at an interview and you’re the employer. The seller should always feel confident and open in providing you with answers.

Next, you need to request a full history report. This will tell you how many owners the vehicle’s had, as well as when it was maintained and/or repaired.

In addition, you should schedule an independent inspection. This can be anyone from your car-savvy friend to the auto shop mechanic you’ve relied on your years.

Basically, you want someone you trust to examine the vehicle and confirm that it’s in the condition the report says it’s in. They can also spot any additional damage or potential issues that you might not have noticed.

Use This Car Shopping Guide to Get the Best Deal

So how much mileage should a car have? In general, it should be around 10,000 to 12,000 times the age of the vehicle (in years).

When you’re looking to buy a used car, that’s a good place to start. But you should also ask questions, get a full history, and schedule an independent inspection for any vehicle you’re interested in. By getting the full picture and not rushing the process, you’ll be better able to judge whether a purchase is wise or not.

Did you enjoy learning about how to choose a used car? Then find more automotive articles on our blog page now! 

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