used car mileage

What is good mileage for a used car?

On the Road 3 min read

There are many reasons why buying a used car rather than a new model is a wise choice. But there are also a lot of factors that should be taken into account before purchasing a used car.

Like checking the mileage. But what exactly is good mileage for a used car? Is there a specific number that no one should go above?

There are certain factors that need to be taken into consideration when buying a used car. Good mileage is just one of them.

Here’s what to know before purchasing a used car.

 good mileage for a used car

What is considered good mileage for a used car?

Typically, the older a car, the lower the price will be. But that’s not always the case.

A two-year-old car with 100,000 miles on it will be worth far less than a 10-year-old car with 50,000 miles on it. Especially if that 10-year-old car has been maintained properly.

Fortunately, within the last 10 years, many car models have been manufactured to last well over 100,000 miles. In fact, according to Consumer Reports there are at least 10 models that can happily last past 200,000 miles when properly cared for.

Service milestones

Most used car buyers are looking to buy a car well under 100,000 miles. But in every case, knowing how well the previous owner(s) took care of the car in question will provide far more data than just the mileage can.

Like people, cars need tuneups and checkups to stay healthy. A smart choice is to buy a pre-owned car that has been serviced at each of these milestones:

  • At 3,000 miles
  • At 6,000 miles
  • At 12,000 miles
  • At 15,000 miles
  • At 30,000 miles
  • At 45,000 miles
  • At 60,000 miles
  • At 100,000 miles

Be cautious if a used car is nearing a service milestone but hasn’t been taken in by its previous owner. It could mean extra and unexpected costs.

What factors other than gas mileage matter when buying a used car?

While good mileage for a used car is a key factor in making a good purchase, it’s not the only factor.

Here’s what else matters when buying a used car:


Always take a used car to a trusted mechanic before buying a used car.

Here’s what both a potential used car buyer and a professional mechanic should look for:

  • Brakes and steering
  • Transmission and engine
  • Signs of rust
  • Oil and other leaks
  • Power and pick up during acceleration
  • Emissions
  • Suspension
  • Air filters, valves, etc.

Geographic location of car

A used car with 10,000 miles that spent its life in Arizona will be quite different from a used car with 10,000 miles that came from Boston.

Cold and wet weather can affect the health of a car adversely. A used car that was left out in the elements will also be different than a car that was kept in a garage.

Where the car was used will also differ between a city driver and a country driver.

Previous usage

While lower miles might look great, if the car sat unused for most of its life, it could also need some serious maintenance.

If the car was used in a city for quick errands, the wear on the brakes and tires will differ greatly from a car that was used to drive long distances.


Always ask for previous maintenance records. Be wary if the previous owner can’t or won’t produce them and definitely take the car to a trusted mechanic before buying.

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