Buying a Car with High Mileage

There are many positives to buying a car with high mileage, so don't be put off looking at them when buying your next car.

It's tough buying a car because there are just so many different options out there available. From brand new to used, it can be difficult to know exactly what you want.

There are pros and cons to buying new and used cars and ultimately it comes down to what works best for you and how much you are willing to spend.

You can buy a used car on finance, very much like when you buy a brand new one, so they have become much more affordable and accessible to a greater number of people.

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Buying second-hand can be a bit more of a risk as you just don't know who owned it previously, and it will have racked up some mileage along the way.

However, buying a used car with high mileage is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly if you can get it at a good price. We take a look at buying a high-mileage car and what to look out for when doing so.

High mileage

The average British motorist will drive around 7,000 miles per year, so it's quite easy for you to work out just how many miles per year a car has done based on its age.

If a car is five years old, for example, and has done 75,000 miles, you could consider that as high mileage as it works out at an average of 15,000 miles per year. 

If however, you find a 10-year-old car that has done 40,000 miles, then that would work out at an average of 4,000 miles per year and therefore below the average threshold of an average driver in the UK.

Ultimately, you want to make your decision based on the price and its general condition. Modern cars are designed to do 100,000 plus miles so you shouldn't be put off by a high-mileage car if the price and condition fit your requirements.


It's important that you undertake your own checks and due diligence when buying any used car, let alone one with high mileage as the more miles it's done, the more it's endured over the years.

Be sure to check both the interior and exterior for scratches, paint damage, general marks, etc. The more of these you find, the more likely it is that this car has been through a lot.

You should ask the dealer what is new and what checks have been undertaken before the sale. It's important to know what you may need to replace yourself or what to expect when you next go for a service or MOT.

You should also get a clear understanding of how many previous owners the car has had and the history of the vehicle including accidents or faults it has had.

Pros of high mileage

The main benefit is that the cost is going to be heavily reduced compared to a used car that hasn't used that much of its mileage. You will likely be able to buy a model that you have always liked for much lower than when it's brand new or just a few years old.

Obviously, the risk factor is higher, but that's why you undertake your due diligence. Used car dealers are no different to brand-new car dealers and will want to make sure your satisfaction is at their forefront.

You can carry out checks yourself online as well, due to the increase in digital car websites that value cars and display their full history, just by using their number plate.

Cars are designed to be driven so a high mileage isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if there have been few to no faults or accidents over the years.

If a car has high mileage, it should generally be seen as being reliable and able to stretch its engine on long drives as well as carry you around the town you live in.


Cons of high mileage

The main issue is that a high-mileage car is going to be more prone to faults or serious problems, just because of how often it's been out on the road.

But, you can take your time on making that decision for yourself and should never feel pressured into buying something if you aren't 100% sure. Check reviews and ask lots of questions. You don't even have to make your decision there and then, you can go away and think about it and come back when your mind is set.

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Mileage or age

The two really don't go hand-in-hand so shouldn't affect your decision when buying a used car.

It's entirely plausible that a three-year-old car has done over 100,000 miles because the previous owner used to travel around the country for work, while a 10-year-old car has only done 50,000 miles because it was just used as a runaround.

As long as you check the history and the general condition and state of its important parts are in decent shape, then it shouldn't put you off.

Models to consider

Brands like Toyota and Hyundai are renowned for their reliability and resilience while everyone has heard about the efficiency that comes with anything German; BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen are some of the most popular cars in the world.

Unfortunately, you can't guarantee that a used car with high mileage won't have issues, but definitely don't be put off, they can still do a good job for you, especially if you plan on changing it again in a few years.


Is it worth buying a car with over 100,000 miles?

It's dependent on what you are after but a car that has done over 100,000 miles and still looks in good condition suggests that it is a strong and efficient car to have. If you're able to buy it for a good price too then why would you not want to go for it?

How many miles is too much when buying a used car?

On average, a car does between 7,000 and 10,000 miles per year, so you should be able to work out how many miles the car you're looking to buy has done based on its age and mileage. If the average is higher, for example, a five year old car has done 150,000 miles, then it's possible that it's been used beyond its capabilities to last much longer.