Everything You Need to Know About Used Car Mileage

February 21st, 2020 by

The odometer of a used car reads 98095.

Searching for a used car? You’re in the right place. At Arizona Car Sales, we know a thing or two about the process of finding and buying a new pre-owned vehicle (and we should, we’ve been in this business for a while now). We know where you can find the best Mesa, AZ, used cars, and we also know the used car search can be a worrying time for prospective buyers since there are a lot of different factors making up the experience. What if I can’t find what I want? What if I don’t know what I want? Or, the biggest question, what if I make the wrong decision?

Today, we’d love to go over a few facts with you about one important aspect of looking into getting a used car. It doesn’t matter what type of vehicle you’re looking for, be it a truck, SUV, or sedan; there’s always going to be one thing you’ll have to check out: the mileage. When it comes to questions and answers about mileage, there can be a lot of misconceptions but also some straight facts. We’d like to go through some of them to make sure you’re prepared when it comes to looking for your own used vehicle.

What Does It Actually Mean?

A lot of people will get caught up on the mileage of a vehicle without actually knowing what the mileage is implying, or even telling them directly. So let’s go through a few scenarios to explain what each instance can mean.

Low Mileage Vehicles (Under 50,000 Miles)

If you run into a car you’re interested in, but it has extremely low mileage on it, you might begin to form conclusions. You might think, “What’s wrong with this?” It’s right to be somewhat hesitant, especially when you’re looking to spend your hard-earned money on such a big investment (yes, automobiles are definitely big investments). Why would there be a used vehicle with really low mileage up for sale? Honestly, you never know what the situation might have been, as a lot of crazy things can happen to someone, and they have to get rid of a vehicle (even if it’s new) for one reason or another. For example, they could have hit hard times, it could have been a lease, or they fell in love with a newer model.

There could literally be nothing wrong with the vehicle. That doesn’t always mean it will be the best buy of your life, though. Why? The original owner might not have taken the brunt of the depreciation of the vehicle. When a vehicle depreciates, it’s value decreases due to wear and tear. We’ve all probably heard that the second you drive a vehicle off a lot that the value of it drops. Yes, there can definitely be a big depreciation when a new car is taken off the lot in many cases, so you can be assured the vehicle already took that hit. But, there are lots of manufacturers that create vehicles that hold their value.

On the other hand, a vehicle with low mileage, that happens to be in excellent condition, that has passed a thorough inspection, and is only a few years old might qualify as Certified Pre-Owned model. This allows you to avoid a brand new car price, but reap the benefits of low mileage, new features, and even great warranties.

A woman is in a Mesa, AZ, used car while a salesman points to things.

Mid-Range/Average Mileage (50,000 to 100,000 Miles)

The next step up from a low-mileage car is getting one with an average amount of mileage. The average vehicle goes about 15,000 miles a year. This can range quite a bit since every vehicle is different, and one car’s average mileage will not be the same as the next one’s. A lot of people will think this is the “sweet spot” when going used car shopping. They might be right, but it still depends on a couple of things. Most vehicles, if properly cared for, can last a long time. You may not think so, but any good mechanic will know that you can easily hold onto cars for 10 years or more.

So, if you’re looking at, say, a Honda Civic with 50,000 miles on it, you can almost guarantee that it’s going to be just fine at that amount of mileage. Hondas are known for their reliability, like many other brands, and 50K miles isn’t much on a Civic, that’s actually rather low. However, that’s pretty common knowledge, which means that this particular vehicle could still have a fair amount of depreciation left in it (and most likely does). So it might not be quite at that sweet spot yet of mileage, depreciation, and cost.

High Mileage (Over 100,000 Miles)

A real sweet spot for many people is getting cars with a high amount of miles on them. This can be a riskier area for some, but just because a vehicle has over 100,000 miles on the odometer does not mean it’s a bad vehicle. The upside is most cars in this area will have already bid farewell to their days of huge depreciation in value and are now in a more reasonable depreciation arc. Originally pricy high-end trucks and large SUVs have put in their tens of thousands of miles and have gone down so much in price that they may finally be within your range. And that’s perfect. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about looking into vehicles with 100,000 or even more miles on them. Again, though, you just have to make sure they’ve been taken care of. There are plenty of vehicles, that when properly cared for can last over 200,000 miles.

Many vehicles in this range will fall into the under $10K category. It’s pretty common for first-time car buyers, people who don’t need to drive too much, and those who would like to save some money to look at these models mainly because it’s affordable.

Be Smart, But Not Afraid

Used car shopping can be a trying experience, but it doesn’t mean you should stay away from it. Depending on what you’re looking for, a car with just about any mileage could be exactly what you might need. Low mileage so you don’t have to worry too much about any big repairs. Average mileage so you can get a better price, but still not worry too much about the integrity of the vehicle. And high mileage to get the best deal possible on vehicles that are still more than functional.

If you’re looking for Mesa, AZ, used cars, then Arizona Car Sales is the place for you. Our wide selection of pre-owned vehicles will surely have options you’re looking for, plus we also do Certified Pre-Owned cars. Our easy-to-use search and filter software makes it simple for you to pin down the exact features you want, all with just a few short clicks of your mouse. We want this to be the best car-buying experience you’ve ever had, which is why our friendly professionals are available to help you Monday – Saturday. If you have any questions at all, please send us a message online, give us a call, or just come on down and let’s have a chat. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Posted in Mesa AZ Used Cars