Used Car Mileage Vs Age – Which Matters More?

Mileage matters when buying a used car, both mileage and age to be fair, as both of these factors can affect the value and condition of a vehicle. A car’s mileage is one of the indicators of a car’s condition and some miles are harder on a car than others, such as city driving versus highway driving.

what is a good mileage for a used car uk

Why does mileage matter?

Car mileage matters for several reasons. First, it affects the value of the car at purchase and sale. Generally, the lower the mileage, the higher the price, and vice versa. This is because mileage is an indication of how much the car has been used and how much wear and tear it has endured.

Secondly, it affects the cost of maintenance and servicing. The more miles a car has driven, the more likely it is that it will need some repairs or parts replacing. According to News Motors, tyres often need replacing every 20,000 miles, and the clutch might need replacing after 100,000 miles.

Thirdly, it affects the fuel economy of the car. The more miles a car can drive using one gallon of fuel, the more efficient it is. This is measured in miles per gallon (mpg). An efficient car will do more than 60mpg, while a less efficient car will do less than 25mpg, according to Cinch. Fuel economy also depends on the type of roads the car drives on, the driving style of the driver, and the condition of the car.

Therefore, car mileage matters for both the performance and the cost of the car. It is important to consider both the age and the mileage of a car when buying a used car, as they are closely related. A newer car with higher mileage might be better than an older car with lower mileage, or vice versa, depending on the model, the condition, and the maintenance history of the car.

What is the average mileage of a used car?

The average mileage of a used car in the UK depends on several factors, such as the age, fuel type, and usage of the car. According to Car Buyer, the average mileage for a car in the UK is between 5,000-7,000 miles per year. However, this number can vary depending on the type of car and how it is driven. For example, newer cars tend to cover higher mileages than older cars, and diesel cars tend to cover more miles than petrol or electric cars, says Car Plus. The average mpg for a car in the UK is 38.8, with petrol cars getting 36 mpg and diesel cars getting 43 mpg and electric cars getting an mpg equivalent of 132 MPGe, says Nimblefins.

When buying a used car, it is important to consider not only the mileage, but also the condition, service history, and maintenance of the car. A low-mileage car may not necessarily be better than a high-mileage car, if the lower-mileage car has been poorly maintained or driven harshly, and the high mileage has been well looked after and serviced regularly. A good mileage for a used car is one that is reasonable for its age and type, and that reflects the care and attention of the previous owner. A general rule of thumb is to look for cars that have done less than 15,000 miles per year, and that have no major faults or defects, says Buyacar.

car's mileage

Should you be wary of a higher-mileage vehicle?

A higher-mileage vehicle can be a good or a bad choice depending on several factors. Some of the pros and cons of buying a high mileage cars are: Pros:

  • It can be more cost-effective, as the initial price, insurance, and depreciation are lower than a low-mileage car, says My Car Credit.

  • According to Auto Express, it can be more reliable, as the engine and gearbox have been well lubricated and the carbon build-up has been reduced by regular use.

  • It can be more desirable, if it is a rare or classic car that has been well maintained and has a character of its own, says Motor and Wheels.


  • It can be harder to secure car finance, as lenders may be reluctant to fund a car with over 100,000 miles.

  • It can require more maintenance, as the brakes, suspension, clutch, tyres, and other parts may need replacing more frequently or have faults, says Auto Express.

  • According to Motor and wheels, it can lack modern features, such as safety, comfort, and entertainment systems, that newer cars have.

Therefore, you should be wary of a higher-mileage vehicle, but not necessarily avoid it. You should do some research on the model, condition, service history, and MOT history of the car before buying it, and check it thoroughly for any signs of damage or wear. You could also compare the price and value of the car with similar models with lower mileage, and negotiate a fair deal. A high-mileage car can be a smart, bargain buy, if it has been well looked after and has no major issues, says Honest John.

What is considered high and low mileage for a used car?

There is no definitive answer to what is considered high and low mileage for a used car, as it depends on several factors, such as the age, condition, service history, and model of the car. However, a general rule of thumb is to divide the quoted mileage by the number of years on the road, and compare the result with the average annual mileage in the UK, which is about 7,500 miles. If the result is higher than 7,500, this could be considered a high mileage car, and if the result is lower, this could be considered a low mileage car. For example, a three-year-old car with 30,000 miles on the clock has averaged 10,000 miles per year, meaning it has covered more than a typical car its age.

Another way to estimate what is a good or bad mileage for a used car, according to Car Plus is to look at the expected lifespan of the car, which is usually around 200,000 miles. A car that has done more than 150,000 or 170,000 miles could be approaching the end of its life, and may require more frequent and costly repairs. A car that has done less than 15,000 miles per year could be a good buy, as long as it has been well maintained and has no major faults or defects. It’s tricky to tell if a lower mileage car will be good to you just because it has fewer miles on it, or if it’s just a second hand car that will see you through from A to B for the moment.

higher mileage cars

Should I buy a car with high mileage?

Lower mileage cars do seem more attractive, as it hasn’t been around the bloc as much as a higher mileage cars. With that being said, a high-mileage car may have a nicely lubricated engine, as it has been running for a long time and the oil has circulated well and it may have minimized depreciation, as most of the value loss has already occurred, according to Motor and Wheels.

If you decide to buy a high-mileage car, here are some tips, according to Auto Express to help you find a good deal and avoid potential problems:

  • Check the car’s service history and MOT records to see if it has been well maintained and repaired regularly.

  • Ask a mechanic to inspect the car thoroughly and identify any faults or signs of damage.

  • Test drive the car and pay attention to how it sounds, feels, and performs.

How many miles can a car do before it dies?

There is no definitive answer to how many miles a car can do before it dies, as it depends on many factors, such as the age, make, model, condition, service history, and price of the car. However, let’s take a look at some general estimates of the average lifespan of a car in miles:

  • According to Car and Driver, standard cars in this day and age are expected to keep running up to 200,000 miles, while cars with electric engines are expected to last for up to 300,000 miles.

  • According to Our Car

  • According to Cascade Collision, the common lifespan of a car is still estimated to be about 150,000 miles, petrol cars have an average lifespan of around 200,000 miles, while diesel cars can last even longer, with an average lifespan of approximately 1,000,000 miles.

As you can see, there is some variation in the estimates, but most sources agree that a car can last for at least 200,000 miles if it is well maintained and driven carefully. Of course, there are also exceptions, such as cars that have been involved in accidents, neglected, or abused, which may die much sooner, but used cars can have lower than average mileage and be a great choice of car.

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