How Many Miles Are Too Many when Shopping for Used Cars?

Cars are machines with a limited lifespan and are subject to wear and tear over the years. While you go used cars shopping, how many miles it had already run is a major factor in determining the car’s longevity.

Many prefer to buy second-hand cars for obvious reasons. One of them is, old cars can be driven almost indefinitely, provided they are well-maintained. But unfortunately, that may not be completely true.

So, next time when you head for used cars shopping, you need to pause and understand one basic thing about cars first. How many miles has it run?

Why is Mileage Important?

While you go used-car shopping, you could be duped. The simple reason is, it is often not possible to judge used vehicles’ real value without adequate knowledge of what to watch out for. One of the most important is mileage:

Mileage stands for an aggregate number of miles travelled by car over a given time, length, distance, or extent, measured in miles. It directly impacts the lifespan of moving parts. However, this constant factor varies from vehicle to vehicle.

At any given point, the average mileage for a used car running for over ten years stands at 120,000 miles. With proper care and maintenance, the same value might exceed 200,000 miles, as stated earlier.

How Many Miles are Too Many for Used Cars Shopping?

The number of miles run by the car, as reflected on the odometer, determines a used vehicle’s overall value and desirability. Logic says the higher the number, the lower the value. Therefore, the exact miles ideally would be 120,000-200,000.

What are the Other Factors You Should Watch Out For?

Is the odometer tampered? CARS24’s experienced technicians check more than 140 aspects in the car and can easily identify if the odometer is tampered with.   

Besides checking the odometer, there are factors to consider, such as:

How Many Miles Are Too Many when Shopping for Used Cars?
  • Maintenance Cycles:  Cars are constantly subject to wear and tear, be it engine components, rubber and plastic parts, or tires once they hit the road. While they are built to last for hundreds of thousands of miles, they have to be regularly maintained and taken care of.  Check the service history of the car, look out for major repairs, accident history, etc.  When you buy from CARS24, this is taken care of.
  • Brakes:   Uneven braking and scraping sound while applying the brake pedal are sure-fire indicators of worn brakes. Brake pads have a life span of 30,000 to 70,000 miles, while the discs last for nearly 120,000 miles. Therefore, one should assess their conditions during used cars shopping.
  • Transmission: This term ‘transmission’ encapsulates clutch, gearbox, prop shaft (for rear-wheel drive vehicles), differential, and final drive shafts transmitting internal combustion engine output to the drive wheels. They come with an average lifespan of 150,000-200,000 miles and prove quite expensive on your pockets during used cars shopping, both for repairing or replacing. Tag along a trustworthy mechanic to thoroughly check this.
  • Timing Belt & Chain:  Both timing belt and chain are the most crucial parts of every moving vehicle. The former survives wear and tear of 60,000-100,000 miles. Ignoring their condition for long can total the entire engine. The latter lasts a little longer than the timing belt. However, replacement costs of TC supersede the selling or trading price of the used vehicle. Have this checked too.


Cars that have clocked less than 100,000 miles on an untampered odometer are definitely a good choice but factors like good service history, accident-free vehicle, ownership history, wear and tear of crucial parts all determine if the car is worth purchasing. CARS24 takes care of all these so that you have a great post-purchase experience.  Visit CARS24 for a wide range of certified cars and more. 

Manavi Kapur

Manavi is a fun-loving, tech-savvy, lady of the media and you better believe us when we tell you that she can sing! Needless to say, she has done all that with aplomb because some of her articles are highly cited in this niche.

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