If you’re looking to buy or sell a used vehicle, it’s important to know what high mileage means and how having many miles on a vehicle can affect its functioning and value. Use this guide to help you learn about what a high-mileage vehicle is, what its advantages are, what problems these vehicles commonly face, how you can make a high-mileage vehicle last, and whether owning a high-mileage vehicle is right for you.
What Is Considered High Mileage?
Whether a vehicle is considered high mileage depends on how many miles it has relative to its age. For example, a 3-year-old vehicle with 75,000 miles on it may be considered high mileage, while a ten-year-old vehicle with the same number of miles wouldn’t be. On average, drivers put between 10,000 and 15,000 miles on their vehicles each year. Drivers who regularly exceed this average over many years may have a high-mileage vehicle.
In general, buyers and sellers of used cars consider any vehicle with 100,000 or more miles on it to be high mileage. The 100,000-mile standard is common when it comes to dealing with used cars, although this number can be misleading based on the age of the vehicle. When dealing with used cars, it’s important to know that vehicles with more than 100,000 miles typically carry more risks. Accounting for these risks can help you understand the value of the vehicle and prepare to invest in its maintenance needs.
What Are the Advantages of Buying a High-Mileage Vehicle?
High-mileage vehicles can come with several advantages. Often, high-mileage vehicles are less expensive than vehicles with fewer miles on them. This can make them attractive to buyers who need an inexpensive vehicle. Additionally, vehicles with high mileage often have more extensive vehicle history reports. This means buyers may learn more about the car’s history, including its maintenance and accident history. A used vehicle with many miles and a generally positive reported history may be more reliable than a newer car with a limited or negative history report. However, it’s always recommended to research any vehicle thoroughly before purchasing.
What Are Some Common Problems of High-Mileage Vehicles?
High-mileage vehicles are more likely to experience certain problems than vehicles with lower mileage. Vehicles sustain wear and tear over time, which means a vehicle with more mileage is likely to have greater maintenance requirements than one with fewer miles. Here are some common problems that high mileage vehicles face:
- Automatic transmission issues: It’s common for vehicles with more than 100,000 miles on them to experience transmission problems. Although regular maintenance can improve the longevity of a vehicle’s transmission, it’s important to be aware of transmission problems because these parts can be expensive to replace.
- Battery: Regardless of mileage, the lifespan of the average car battery is about three to five years. However, since vehicles with high mileage are typically older, they may be more likely to need a battery replacement.
- Brake pads: Your brake pads can wear out over time, and the way you drive can factor into how long they last. In addition to general wear and tear from use, brake pads may degrade faster if you brake hard often, or spend a lot of time in stop-and-go traffic, so consider your own driving habits when thinking about brake pad maintenance on your vehicle.
- Tires: It’s no secret that the more you drive your car, the faster your tires are likely to wear down. High-mileage vehicles have probably had their tires replaced many times.
- Fuel pump: Car manufacturers typically design fuel pumps to last for a vehicle’s entire lifespan, but you can incur damage to your fuel pump over time through accidents, misuse, and general wear. Replacing the fuel filter every 50,000 miles can improve its longevity, so consider researching when a vehicle last had its fuel filter replaced before buying a high-mileage vehicle.
- Water pump: A typical water pump lasts for 60,000 to 90,000 miles on average, so you may need to replace this on a high-mileage vehicle if it hasn’t been replaced recently. It’s important to replace the water pump because a damaged pump can leak coolant or not pump it properly, which can cause your engine to overheat.
- Timing belts: Broken timing belts can cause significant damage to your engine. A good rule of thumb is to have them replaced when your vehicle is between 60,000 and 100,000 miles.
- Oil: It’s best practice to change your oil every 3,000 miles or three months, but you may need to check your oil more frequently after your vehicle hits 75,000 miles. This is because high mileage and use can cause the engine to loosen and oil to leak.
How Can I Make a High-Mileage Vehicle Last?
If you drive a high-mileage vehicle or are thinking about purchasing one, there are some strategies you can use to make your vehicle last. Use these tips to improve the lifespan of your vehicle:
- Be responsive when problems occur. If you notice a problem with your vehicle, don’t wait to get it checked out.
- Take routine maintenance seriously. It can save you time and money to bring your car in for routine maintenance.
- Keep your car clean. Taking care of your vehicle can improve its longevity, such as preventing rust and buildup from causing damage.
- Drive with care. Be gentle with how you drive your car to minimize wear and tear on it.
- Use your owner’s manual. Review the owner’s manual to learn about best practices for maintaining your vehicle’s specific make and model.
Are High-Mileage Vehicles Worth It?
Owning a high-mileage vehicle can be worth it if you’re prepared to invest in its maintenance and upkeep. If you’re thinking about buying a used vehicle with high mileage, it’s best to look at the car’s history report to learn more about it. The history report can help you make an informed decision about the vehicle’s reliability and maintenance needs.
Thanks to modern technology, the lifespan of the average vehicle is increasing. With good care and maintenance, modern vehicles can last 200,000 miles or more. Do your research and consider a variety of factors when deciding whether a high-mileage vehicle is a good investment for you.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.