What’s a Good Mileage For a Used Car?

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There are many reasons why buying used cars is a wise choice rather than a new model. However, there is a wide range of factors that you need to take into account before purchasing a used car—for instance, checking the mileage. So, what exactly is the best mileage to buy a used car? If that is the question you have in mind, then you are in the right place. This article will discuss what is considered a good mileage for used cars, other factors to consider, and the Risks of buying an old car with low mileage.

Good Mileage For A Used Car

Generally, this is how many people tend to determine a good mileage on a used car – on average, a person drives approximately 12,000 miles in a year. Therefore, for a used car around ten years old, good mileage will be 120,000 miles. Mileage varies between vehicles, but that is the general rule of thumb. Other cars will have more or less when you read car mileage on their odometer.

When choosing a used vehicle, good mileage often translates to more reliable performance. The set number of miles does not necessarily determine how long a car will last. Quite the contrary, some cars with a higher mileage have been recorded to last longer than those with lower mileage. That is basing the measurement on their maintenance and how they were driven.

Why is it Important to Check the Used Car Mileage Chart before Buying one?

Many people opt for used cars for sale rather than new models for good reason. If you are looking for a second-hand car, it is clear that you understand the merits of buying one. They are less expensive, have low depreciation, and are even cheaper to repair and maintain. Many a time, however, it is hard to judge what the car has been through. The few methods we can use to get some clues regarding the condition are the odometer reading, drivability, and appearance.

Mileage may be an essential factor, but it should not remotely be the deciding factor. The best and advisable way to determine how long a car is supposed to last is whether it was well taken care of by the previous owners. You may want to check the vehicle history report to ensure the car received the professional care it needed. The report indicates all the accident information, maintenance, and reporting services of the car. Regardless of the mileage, if the car received the proper attention, it is likely to last longer.

Good mileage can tell a lot about the vehicle. Low mileage on a ‘newer’ second-hand vehicle can provide years of reliable performance. However, this will be affected by how the previous owners operated the car. For example, a car with more miles may have been used for highway driving. The vehicle tends to exhibit less damage on the performance cars. Such cars will last longer. Therefore, finding a reliable car with long-lasting performance, the mileage on the odometer, and understanding how the car was used before purchase will help a great deal.

General Mileage Guidelines

Generally, when given two cars with mileages 50,000 miles and 200,000 miles, the one with 50,000 miles is valued higher than the latter. Unfortunately, that should not entirely affect your decision on which car to buy. High-mileage and low-mileage cars may not mean what you think. The assumption of the 12,000 miles a year is a good guideline, as many can attest. For an average 10-year-old car, 120,000 miles on the odometer should be the standard. Anything less or more may not be a good sign.

The condition, for instance, is vital. Ensure that you take the car to a trusted mechanic. The mechanic checks the steering and brakes, signs of rust, emissions, oil leaks, transmission and engine, air filters, etc.

The car’s geographic location is another factor, as the weather can affect the car’s performance. Cold and wet weather has adverse effects on cars. Other factors include previous usage and maintenance.

How many miles on a Used Car is too much?

There is no specific number as to how many miles are too many for used cars. That depends on a range of factors, so it is hard to determine the ideal number of miles. In this case, the rule of thumb can apply, whereby you follow the 12,000 miles/year on average. As earlier discussed, there are a lot of factors that determine the performance of a vehicle.

Best Mileage to Buy Used Car

What mileage should you buy a used car at? The excellent mileage for a used car should follow the 12,000 miles/year average. Remember that the average car in the U.S. is 12 years, and so the mileage should be about 144,000 miles. It would be best to consider how much mileage you will get from it, rather than how much it has. Some people are okay with buying a car with 50,000 miles because they will have 90,000 miles before getting to the average.

A car with 100,000 miles will mean you have around four years of driving before you get to the average. Other people may go for cars with over 150,000 miles, which may last longer than expected with proper maintenance. Therefore, do not take the mileage at face value. Consider the vehicle’s history, how the previous user operated it, and how it was maintained, and taken care of over the years.

Risks of Buying Old Car with Low Mileage

It is almost a norm to see people going for used cars with low mileage. These cars are the choice for many considering they have seen less wear and tear over their years of use. This may be true for many buyers. However, going for a used car with low mileage may not be the best decision, as we are yet to find out.

The car parts still degrade. Most old cars which appear to be in good condition may not have been used as often by their previous owners. But what most people don’t know is that vehicles do not do well when they sit for a long time. This particularly applies to the seals and rubber gaskets, which dry out and therefore need replacement. These old cars with old mileage can also develop tire dry rot, and the radiator and heater components may fail. When they sit for a long time, the tires are likely to develop flat tire spots.

The fluids also pose significant risks. The oil and gasoline may attract moisture and cause internal corrosion, severely damaging the engine, oil, and fuel lines. The other fluids, like transmission fluid and antifreeze, can corrode and leak over time and damage other components. In a nutshell, low-mileage cars may have a great appearance but could be a maintenance nightmare.


Most used car buyers aim to purchase a vehicle with well under 100,000 miles. However, the mileage on the odometer is just one piece of the puzzle. The car’s history, how it was maintained, and how it was used by the previous owner can provide far more valuable insights than the mileage alone.

Like people, cars need regular check-ups and tune-ups to stay healthy. A well-maintained car with high mileage can outlast a neglected car with low mileage. Therefore, it’s crucial to check the vehicle history report and maintenance records before making a decision.

Remember, a car that has been well taken care of will likely last longer, regardless of its mileage. So, don’t let the numbers on the odometer deter you. Instead, focus on the overall condition of the car and how well it has been maintained.

In the end, the “good” mileage for a used car depends on many factors, including the car’s make and model, its maintenance history, and your personal driving habits. So, take your time, do your research, and make an informed decision.

Happy car hunting!


How to determine whether a car has reasonable mileage?

Check the car’s mileage reading on the odometer. Reasonable mileage varies depending on the car’s age, make, and model. Generally, lower mileage is better, but an acceptable range for a used car is typically around 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year.

What’s the average mileage a car accrues per year?

The average mileage a car accrues per year is approximately 12,000 to 15,000 miles. This figure can vary depending on the owner’s driving habits and the vehicle’s purpose.

Can a car with more than average mileage be an excellent value?

Yes, a car with more than average mileage can still be an excellent value if it has been well-maintained and its price reflects the higher mileage. Additionally, if the car’s history shows regular servicing and no major issues, it can still be a reliable choice.

Is a well-maintained car with 50,000 miles a good buy?

Yes, a well-maintained car with 50,000 miles can be a good buy. This mileage is relatively low, assuming the car is not too old. However, the overall condition of the vehicle, maintenance history, and other factors should also be considered.

What’s the preferred mileage on the odometer when shopping for a used car?

The preferred mileage on the odometer when shopping for a used car depends on personal preferences and the car’s age. Generally, lower mileage is preferred, but for a used car, anything below 12,000 miles per year is considered acceptable.

How long can a conventional, but well-maintained car last?

A well-maintained conventional car can last anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 miles or more. Some cars may even exceed this range with proper care and regular maintenance.

Does mileage matter when buying a used car?

Yes, mileage does matter when buying a used car. Lower mileage generally indicates less wear and tear on the vehicle, but other factors like maintenance, accident history, and overall condition are equally important to consider.

What is considered high mileage for a used car?

High mileage for a used car is typically above 100,000 miles. However, this can vary depending on the car’s age and make. Some modern vehicles with proper maintenance can still perform well with higher mileage.

What is good mileage for a used car according to Progressive?

As of my last update in September 2021, Progressive, an insurance company, considers a used car to have good mileage if it falls within the range of 10,000 to 12,000 miles per year. Again, this may vary depending on the specific car and other factors.