Does Mileage Really Matter When Buying a Car?
Written by DriveAxis.ca January 11, 2023
Mileage is one of the most oft-misunderstood criteria when deciding whether or not to buy a car, and is typically associated with greater wear and tear. While there is some truth to this, it’s not always quite so simple. In fact, depending on the vehicle in question, high mileage may matter a great deal, or very little at all.
There are a lot of myths about mileage when it comes to cars, which means it’s good to understand the concept in its entirety before setting out to buy your next one. Otherwise, you may overlook a great car for the wrong reasons, and end up spending more money on an alternative car that isn’t actually worth the investment.
STANDARDIZING “GOOD” MILEAGE
A lot of the confusion surrounding acceptable car mileage is due to conflicting opinions and actual hard-driven customer data. For instance, a mechanic may tell you that “good” mileage is around 15,000 to 20,000 kilometers per year, and no higher. At the end of ten years, that would account for anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000 kilometers. However, many people drive well in excess of that number, especially if they use a vehicle to get to and from work, take vacations, cruise around on weekends, and drive the kids to soccer practice.
In fact, many car companies have raised the level of acceptable number of annual kilometers for leased vehicles, specifically because of this fact. The stigma-driven consensus regarding mileage is that any car in excess of 150,000 to 160,000 kilometers is immediately suspect. However, that only takes into account a part of the overall story.
TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF MILEAGE
Car buyers tend to look at the total mileage of a pre-owned vehicle and assume the worst. The question is, what kind of mileage was actually accrued? For instance, if a car is 2 years old and has 80,000 kilometers on it, it’s rather safe to assume that it was driven predominantly on the highway. When driving at a faster rate of speed that covers ground more quickly, plus the absence of hard stops and traffic lights, less overall wear and tear is accrued.
By contrast, city mileage is an entirely different thing altogether. Stop lights, red lights, pot-holes, speed bumps, and traffic congestion mean more braking, more revving and slowing down, and harsher impacts, all of which take their toll. Therefore, if you spot a relatively new vehicle with very high mileage, it’s not always a sign of alarming wear and tear. The vehicle in question may, in fact, be more reliable due to highway driving.
MAKE AND MODEL
Not all cars are built alike, and some brands simply last longer, and sport more reliable engines than others. For instance, Infiniti vehicles are renowned for racking up in excess of 300,000 kilometers without requiring any significant maintenance or issues. Other brands like Lexus, Porsche and Cadillac have similar reputations for going the distance.
However, the simple truth is that all modern cars last much, much longer than they ever have. Technological advancements, better materials and finer construction quality mean that today’s vehicles can be driven for an extremely long time, while requiring very little maintenance. In the event that an expensive part does break and needs replacing, the cost of said part is still far cheaper than buying an entirely new vehicle every few years. For this reason, mileage may still be a factor, but it won’t necessarily dictate the fate of the car as a whole.
THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT MILEAGE
While wear, tear and reliability are genuine concerns that all car buyers must face when buying a pre-owned vehicle, the real truth is that mileage tends to affect the actual sale of the vehicle more than anything else. Vehicles with a higher recorded mileage are regarded as being more well-used, which in turn leads to a lower sticker price. You can still buy the car, and it may run fine with little-to-no issues for years to come, in which case you’ll have paid far less for a great car.
However, the same principle holds true should you decide to sell that same car to someone else. You’ll have to take into account the mileage already on the odometer, as well as any kilometers you end up adding to it over the years. Once you’re ready to sell, you may not get much for the car, which is something to keep in mind.
When buying a high-mileage car, ask for a maintenance report so you can see exactly how much care was put into the vehicle over the years. If the car in question has a scant or non-existent maintenance history, you may wish to steer clear of it, just to be safe. It’s also good practice to buy from a reputable dealer willing to provide a thorough inspection. Here at Drive Axis, we certify all of our pre-owned vehicles with a rigorous 300-point inspection process that goes far, far beyond what many other dealerships would even think of doing. That way, we can help customers buy their desired vehicles with full confidence, right off the lot.
It’s also a good idea to buy a high-mileage car for the right reasons. If all you’re looking for is a commuter vehicle to get you from point A to B, it’s a great investment. If something does go wrong, you can take the money saved when you bought the vehicle for a lower price, and apply it to the repair. Otherwise, if the car needs to be scrapped, you will not have lost that much money.
The same goes for insurance. High-mileage cars tend to be longer in the tooth, which isn’t necessarily an issue, but index value can affect your insurance costs in a positive way. If your pre-owned high-mileage car goes the distance without any troubles, you’ll end up saving thousands of dollars in insurance costs over the next few years, which is an added bonus.
High-mileage cars shouldn’t be feared - they should instead be given due diligence to make sure everything is in working order. Buying a car from Drive Axis comes with a set of established guarantees, not the least of which is excellent warranty coverage, and the aforementioned 300 point inspection process. In doing so, we take a lot of the stigma away from high-mileage cars, while delivering vehicles that are reliable, roadworthy, and safe.
Interested in buying a car with a few extra kilometers on the readout? We’ll help make the process as simple as possible. We also handle all financing in-house, which means we approve anyone, regardless of their credit history or financial situation. Contact us today, and we’ll help you save thousands of dollars via buying a car that has seen its fair share of the road, yet keeps on chugging right along!