How To Pick A Mileage Limit When Shopping For Used Cars

Buying a used car could help you enjoy a reliable and safe driving experience on a tight budget, but it could also leave you paying for a vehicle that is past its prime and in need of expensive repairs. If you're trying to get the best used car for your money, setting a mileage limit can save you a lot of time when trying to determine whether a specific vehicle is worth its price. Instead of just picking a single number, consider what kind of used car you're looking for to make sure your mileage limit is reasonable and doesn't rule out a lot of quality vehicles.

Aiming for Like New

Want the features and reliability of a new car with a much lower price? Look for vehicles with less than 40,000 miles on them. This is the first major maintenance checkpoint, so a car with only 20,000 miles should be in practically the same condition as a freshly manufactured model.

Considering Certification

Used car buyers who are concerned about the lack of warranty can get a little peace of mind by buying a certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealership that backs up their claims with a one or two year warranty. For these programs, each dealership sets specific mileage limits, usually between 50,000 and 100,000 miles.

Setting the 100,000 Hard Limit

Unless you're only looking for a car that you'll drive for a few months or a year, try to stick to cars that are still below the 100,000 mark. This used to be the end of a car's reliable lifespan, but modern cars tend to last at least another 50,000 miles before a major engine or transmission breakdown puts the vehicle in the shop. However, you don't want to pick up a 150,000 sedan if it's going to need a $2000 repair just a week after you buy it. A 100,000 mile limit ensures that your car will keep running enough to be worth the money you spent on it.

Dividing the Total

Of course, mileage isn't always a straightforward measure of a car's quality. Long distance and constant driving puts more wear and tear on an engine than the usual commuting schedule, so try dividing the total miles by the age of the car. Cars are usually only driven about 15,000 miles a year, so a three year old car with 90,000 miles on it is likely more worn and potentially damaged than a vehicle with the same mileage and an age of five or more years.

For more information, contact Jack Burford Chevrolet or a similar location.