What’s more important, age or mileage?

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss: What’s more important, age or mileage? Whenever buying a second-hand vehicle, be it a car or an RV, it is extremely important to pay attention to both the age and the mileage. But what matters most? Let’s find out together. 

What’s more important, age or mileage?

If you are looking for a bargain, I am sure you have asked yourself many times: for the same model and version, is it better an older vehicle but with fewer miles, or a newer vehicle with more mileage? We too have asked ourselves this question many times and the answer is not so obvious. Each of the two options has advantages and disadvantages!

Buying second-hand: More miles, fewer years

Let’s start with the newest vehicle with the most miles. What are the main advantages and disadvantages in this case?

Advantages Disadvantages
The newer vehicle is probably homologated with a newer emission class. This can be an advantage if you live in a large city, as you will tend to be safe from any traffic restrictions based on polluting emissions.More wear on the bodywork and interior.
If the model has been in production for a few years, it is likely that a more recent model is more reliable than an older one: often, in fact, the first models produced of a certain model have small problems in the assemblies or defects, which the manufacturer remedy during production.Washings, stone chips, small parking bumps may have left their mark in the form of scratches or dents on the bodywork.
The newer car or RV could be fitted with a more recent infotainment system, or even improvements in interior equipment, such as an additional USB port or greater availability of storage compartments.In the passenger compartment, the door handles, the gear lever knob, the steering wheel, the driver’s seat and, in general, all the points subject to more frequent use may be more worn.
The availability of spare parts on the market is certainly excellent.Clearly, a lot depends on the level of the vehicle in question: expensive cars or RVs of a certain prestige have better-made interiors, and therefore are more resistant to wear.
Warranty argument: even if the minimum legal warranty is two years, there is no shortage of insurers that offer more, as well as owners who, at the time of purchase, have opted for an extended warranty or purchased maintenance packages, which may still be in existence at the time the vehicle is put up for sale.As for the mechanics, assuming – as we have said – that the owner has taken care of maintenance scrupulously, a vehicle with more miles is certainly closer to checks and extraordinary maintenance work. The timing belt (if the car is not a chain), the brake pads, the spark plugs, the oil of the automatic gearbox are just some examples of mechanical parts, which require replacement, even if not as frequent as that of the engine oil or air filter. 

Buying second-hand: Fewer miles, more years

What if the situation is in reverse? Let’s see the pros and cons of buying an older vehicle, but with fewer miles.

It will look better at first glance: the bodywork and, above all, the interior will have a little lived-in appearance, and therefore closer to new.Belonging to an older emissions class: this could be a problem if, in the area where you use the car or RV, specific restrictions on the use of older vehicles are in force.
The same will also apply to the mechanics, which will be younger and less worn. 
The interior equipment may be outdated (especially as regards the infotainment system and options). 
Consequently, a vehicle that has travelled more miles on state roads, free of traffic, will be cooler than one with fewer miles, but all accumulated in the city, in traffic, between holes and cobblestones.The overall quality of the vehicle could be lower if it is an early model.
Often the manufacturers offer discounts on spare parts for older models. Where the vehicle is very outdated (over 15 years), you may encounter some difficulties in finding spare parts, but in reality, a lot depends on the diffusion of the model: spare parts for the very successful models can be found with ease.
As for the price, the passing of miles and years negatively affects the price of each vehicle. That said, the older the RV, the lower the cost of purchase.On the warranty front, it is more difficult for a vehicle with six years of life to still have a warranty and/or residual maintenance packages, purchased from the first owner, but it is certainly worth checking their existence.

Buying a used RV: how to choose

If you decide to buy a used motorhome, you will certainly have the advantage of saving on the initial expense and having a good vehicle at an affordable price.

Be careful, however, not to fall back on a camper that costs you less at first, but which then requires a series of interventions. In this case, the savings would not be again. How to choose a used camper and avoid rip-offs? Pay attention to these details.

Age of the RV. Check how old the used camper you want to buy is. A second-hand camper that is 10 years old, for example, is relatively new. Its conditions, therefore, could still be excellent, even if it depends on the use made of it.

State of the facilities. Check all the systems in the camper. From those of mechanics to those of gas, water, heating and the refrigerator. If you are inexperienced, bring an experienced mechanic or technician with you to do a complete check-up.

Private seller or dealership. Before buying a motorhome, it is good to evaluate the type of seller. If it is a dealership, the costs may be higher than if you buy from a private individual, but you would enjoy a 12-month warranty. Make sure of the seriousness of the private person, asking him for all the documents. And if you don’t know him well or don’t trust him, go to a dealership.

How the RV was used. The age of a motorhome is useless if you do not pay attention to how it was used by the previous owners. A little-used camper, for example, may have travelled a few miles but have rotten parts, damaged systems, mouldy coatings.

Careful use and good maintenance of the camper are just as important factors as mileage and age. Always check them before completing the purchase.


So, what’s more important: age or mileage?  All other conditions being equal, we would say that a vehicle with more years and less mileage is better. Mileage affects mechanical conditions to a greater extent than the passage of time. And the mechanical conditions are the most important to evaluate in the purchase.

So between two equally well-maintained RVs, for example, a slightly older one is better, but one that has travelled less distance.

But be careful: remember that the points we have listed are not valid in an absolute sense, that is, they can be significantly influenced by the type of road travelled, and by the way in which the vehicle has been used and maintained. The type of road travelled counts. The miles travelled in the city at low speed wear the engine and suspension considerably more than the miles travelled in extra-urban areas!

So try to understand what kind of use the vehicle you are interested in has been subjected to. Where has it travelled? What kind of routes did it take? Was it overloaded or not? Finally, the verification of the maintenance history is an indispensable condition for evaluating the purchase of a used vehicle.

Do you agree with us? Please feel free to get in contact if you have any questions. 

FAQ on What’s more important age or mileage?

What is good mileage for a used RV?

Good mileage for a used RV is between 30,000 and 50,000 miles, but a good score will, of course, depend on several other factors:

  • What model is the RV and how old?
  • How many people have owned this RV and how many times have they driven it?
  • Do they have maintenance records?
  • How many miles are there on the tires and when were they last replaced?

How many miles is too many for a used RV?

Any RV that has close to 200,000 miles is deemed an old RV and has too many miles to be considered a good investment. Besides the number of miles, obviously, you need to ask the dealership all kinds of questions regarding the condition of the recreational vehicle. 

What do you have to take into account when buying a motorhome?

When buying a motorhome, you have to take into account so many things that it is best to involve each member of the family in the process. Give each person precise instructions. Do an eye check of the tires, electrical system, the condition of the furniture, etc. 

Is a 10-year-old car too old?

A 10-year-old car or a vehicle with over 200,000 miles is already considered an old car. The lifespan of a car is usually considered to be nine years.

What is the maximum mileage for a used car?

Beyond 60,000 miles, a gasoline vehicle begins to seriously lose its value. This level is around 90,000 for a diesel, considered more robust. A vehicle with high mileage is rather a gasoline car over 125,000 miles or a diesel over 155,000 miles. 

When is the right time to change the car?

Automotive professionals advise those who drive a lot to resell their car after 3 years. Beyond this threshold, the vehicle wears out faster and requires more frequent repairs. For motorists who drive less than 15,000 km per year, it is rather advisable to wait a maximum of 5 years.