Should I buy a car over 100K miles?

In this short guide, we will answer the following question: Should I buy a car over 100K miles? We will discuss the pros and cons of buying a car over 100K miles. We will also consider whether buying a second-hand car is a bad idea. 

Should I buy a car over 100K miles?

Buying a car over 100K miles is not a bad idea. In fact, Buying a car with 100,000 miles or more is a good idea if the price is reasonable and the car looks in good condition. 

Here are a few aspects to consider:

  1. The tires: More than a million vehicles (around 5%) circulate with tire defects, a fundamental element because it is the only point of contact between the car and the road. Almost all of them have a tread depth less than the legal minimum of 1.6 millimetres, in addition to showing uneven wear, misalignment, or a cracked or cracked surface. The inflation pressure is also often higher or lower than recommended.
  1. Lights and signals: The correct maintenance of the headlights and pilots are essential to see and be seen. Apart from the fact that drivers have to use the lighting between sunset and sunrise, they must keep in mind that all lights have to function properly. It is appropriate to change the lamps every 25,000  miles or two years, and always two at a time.
  1. Reliability of your vehicle: If finding a trustworthy, well-maintained car is your priority, reliability can largely depend on the number of miles the car covers, just as much as it does on the make or model. 
  1. Technology and equipment: Just because you want to buy a used vehicle at a good price, doesn’t mean you aren’t looking for luxurious amenities or recent cutting-edge technology. For obvious reasons, a newer used car is generally a better choice for certain luxury technologies and equipment than older models. 

If your circumstances call for an economy car for the sole purpose of driving, a car in good condition and just over 100,000 miles is not a bad idea. With a lot of constant care and servicing, a car with six digits could even double that number: 200,000 miles.

On the other hand, if what you want is a new car, with very little care (every vehicle requires mechanical service every other month) and you have a sufficient budget ($ 20,000 is enough to buy the cheapest sedan of 2019), a car with more than 100,000 miles it is not a good option to buy.

Before, it was so common to switch cars that manufacturers didn’t even put enough space for six digits on the odometer. However, today there has been a growing number of car owners with vehicles that are more than 15 years old.

According to IHS Markit, a data analysis firm, the number of vintage cars in the United States has broken records, and now more than 278 million classics are driven daily across the country.

Is it a good idea to buy a used car with more than 100,000 miles?

A car with just over 100,000 miles may and may not suit you, it all depends on what you are looking for:

  • Mileage: Very low mileage on a used vehicle can be a warning that the odometer has been tampered with. Small signs such as excessive body wear or regularly used devices such as the lever or buttons are one more indicator to turn to see other options.

In the same way, low mileage can be due to very long periods of inactivity, which is not good either since the electrical system and even the ignition system can be affected.

One of the elements that suffer the most with long periods of inactivity is the battery, as corrosion is created, in addition to losing its charge. The suspension system will also be affected as the springs can stick.

  • Vehicle use: One answer to the mismatch between vehicle age and mileage may be how the vehicle was used. For example, if the car was used for Uber services or similar, it indicates a high rate of miles travelled. Although the excess of travel will come with its respective wear, therefore we must take the following point into consideration; maintenance.
  • Maintenance: Knowing the maintenance that the previous owner gave to the vehicle, can give you more confidence that it will not suffer serious breakdowns soon. If automotive services are performed, it will avoid excessive wear of the engine, the cooling system and the combustion.
  • Spare parts: In addition to all the above, we cannot forget the cost of the spare parts, because, with a pre-owned one, we will surely have to make repairs in a couple of years. There are cheaper cars to repair than others with cheaper parts and more accessible maintenance services.

Finally, it is worth saying that a car over 250 miles is considered a vehicle already in disuse. The risk of serious failures is very high, regardless of the maintenance that has been given.

Buying a car over 100K miles: Requirements that the vehicle must meet

Although vehicle requirements vary among subprime lenders, there are certain commonalities they rely on to grant or deny financing. As is known, consumers with bad credit can hardly finance a new car, so it is advisable to look for a used car that is still in good condition. 

Let’s see below the age and mileage aspects that the vehicle must-have.

Lenders put limitations on the year of the car. Most subprime lenders finance used vehicles that are no more than 7-10 years old. Being 7 years old is the most common. The reason for these limitations is that the older the car, the greater the risk of damage. On the other hand, lenders know that the chances of recovering a vehicle are increased when the vehicle being financed is damaged.

The older the vehicle is, the shorter the financing term. This requirement imposed by high-risk financiers is due to the fact that the cost of maintaining a vehicle increases with the number of years, and such repairs are likely to be expensive. This aspect does not suit the borrower either, who in most cases will not want a short financing term.

Funders also have a mileage maximum. Typically high-risk financiers make loans for vehicles with less than 100,000 miles on the odometer regardless of the vehicle’s model year.

Minimum amount to finance. Subprime lenders also have a minimum when it comes to the money to finance. Although it varies between lenders, it is generally around $ 5,000.

If you are a consumer with less than perfect credit and your plans are to finance a vehicle with many years or more than 100,000 miles travelled, think again and abide by the rules of the financiers. High-risk lenders have their reasons for the requirements that must be met not only by the car but also by the borrower.

Buying a car over 100K miles: Requirements to be met by the driver

While for consumers with good credit the process of buying a new car is straightforward and even simple, we cannot say the same for those who do not have the credit or have problems with their credit. 

Although before going to the car dealership it is recommended that you have an idea of ​​the car you need, your process does not begin with the selection of the car but with the finance manager who will analyze your conditions to determine if you are eligible to obtain financing through the high-risk lender. 

Thus, the financing process for those who do not have good credit is a little more cumbersome due to the steps that must be followed and the requirements that must be met:

  • Proof of income
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of having a landline or cell phone number. Prepaid numbers do not qualify
  • A list of personal references
  • Down payment of 10 per cent or $ 1,000, whichever is less
  • A guarantor/co-signer in case you do not qualify with the requirements presented.

With these requirements, the dealer has a clearer idea about your profile as a potential customer that goes beyond your current credit situation.

The bottom line

When considering used car mileage, don’t take it at face value. Review the history of the vehicle, whose it is, where it has been driven, how it has been driven and how well it has been maintained over the years. We’ve seen more than 500,000 miles on cars since the 1970s. If you’re ready to start with a good used car, even with a lot of miles, a good maintenance plan and quick repairs will see you for a long time to come.

Do you have any questions or comments on the content? Feel free to share them!

FAQ on Should I buy a car over 100K miles?

Should I buy a car with 150K miles?

You should buy a car with 150K if it is in good condition and you can prove it was well maintained. 

When a car is old?

A car is old as long as it has more than 200,000 miles. 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.

When to stop repairing the car?

After 10 years, you can stop repairing a car. Hopefully, your old repaired vehicle will be as reliable and safe as a new one. But since a car is only guaranteed for about 10 years nowadays, proper care and maintenance is the key to a lasting relationship with your vehicle!


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!