Buying a used car can be confusing at times. There’s so much research to be done, and so many factors to bear in mind. Mileage is, of course, one of them.
If you’re looking for a used car at the moment, you may have seen many advertisers touting low mileage as a car’s main selling point. But what exactly is the reason for this, and what is a good mileage for a used car?
Mileage refers to the number of miles a car has driven in its lifetime. Because, in theory, the more miles a car has driven, the more opportunity there has been for damage or minor wear and tear, it’s an indicator of the state of the vehicle. This is why it’s such an important thing to check before you buy a used car.
On average in the UK, cars drive around 7,400 miles per year. So a two-year-old car which has done about 15,000 miles should be less likely to have issues than a car the same age with higher mileage. Use this average figure to work out the number of miles that would be reasonable for the car you want to buy’s age.
A two-year-old car that has done a lot more than the average mileage may have been used for travelling long distances, which could also mean there have been more opportunities for wear and tear.
However, there’s a chance that if the car has been well maintained by the owner, the higher mileage doesn’t mean that it’s in a worse condition than another of a similar age and lower mileage.
Another reason why mileage could be high in comparison to a vehicle’s age is it may have been used as a commercial vehicle. These are often less likely to be well looked after by drivers, so it’s good to ask whoever is selling you the car if it has been used as a commercial vehicle in the past.
While it may look like a great deal, an older car with particularly low mileage could potentially be more expensive in the long run. This is because a car that hasn’t been driven much throughout its life may have parts that have become brittle over time which can break and require repairs.
Unfortunately, some used car buyers fall victim to an illegal practice called clocking. This refers to the winding back of the odometer to decrease the number of miles reflected on it, increasing the vehicle’s apparent value.
To avoid being caught out by clocking, check the vehicle documents, which should help confirm the mileage.
You can also find the mileage on the service records and MOT history.
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