How Many Miles On A Used Car Is Too Much?

There are affiliate links on this article. If you make a purchase through any of the links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

How many miles on a used car is too much? Generally, a used car with anywhere from 300,000 miles is too much and not a good buy. However, there are other things to look at, which we’ll discuss later in this article.

Firstly, you should know that we’re talking about used cars – some used cars have up to 500K mileage reading on their odometer. But then, the mileage might be high, yet the car is in good shape and worthy of being rebought.

It’s always a dilemma situation for car buyers while trying to decide between high mileage and low mileage used cars.

Well, we will explain the several aspects you should pay close attention to when buying a used car. While the mileage reading is inarguably a key factor, there are other things to check.

How Many Miles On A Used Car Is Too Much?

Mileage is a very important factor when buying used cars. A used car with over 300,000 miles is generally not a good buy. However, there are major factors to consider when buying used cars. High mileage vehicles may even perform better and last longer than some low mileage vehicles.

The general rule states that a car is expected to run 10,000 – 12,000 miles in a year; thus, a five-year-old car is expected to read at most 75,000 based on this rule. But you’ll surely find a 2-year-old car reading 100,000 miles; this could be due to the purpose the car is serving the owner.

Read Also: Is a Newer Car With High Mileage Worth Buying?

High Mileage vs Low Mileage Vehicles

How Many Miles On A Used Car Is Too Much

We’ll be using examples to explain the mystery between high mileage and low mileage. You can only refer to a car as a high mileage vehicle after you have considered the number of years it has been pre-owned.

Ex 1: Given three cars of the same model and year (2012); the first one reads 100,000 miles, the second one reads 250,000 miles, and the third one reads 180,000 miles. Apparently, the second car would be the least expensive, while the first one would be the most expensive. Why?

In buying used cars, the higher the mileage, the lower the price, and the lower the mileage, the higher the price. It is generally believed by most people that low mileage vehicles are a better deal than high mileage options.

This is because, a high mileage vehicle may have been roughly driven by the previous owner(s), and there are higher chances that its core components may be severely affected due to the high mileage.

On the other hand, it is generally believed that low mileage vehicles are still in good shape and the components are also in good condition. But, these beliefs are not FACTs. A high mileage vehicle can be a better option than a low mileage vehicle. How?

Ex 2: presented with two used cars of the same model and year. Both cars have been owned for ten(10) years each. However, one of the cars has a 250,000 mileage reading while the other is somewhere below 100,000 miles. Which should you choose?

In this scenario, the first question to ask the dealer is, “why does this car read below 100,000 in 10 years?” This question is very important because it could be that the low mileage car frequents mechanic workshops than it is been driven, and if this is the case, you surely don’t want to end up with such a ride.

In contrast, if the 250,000 miles car has a good maintenance record, it is apparently a better option than the low mileage option.

With these two examples, it is safe to say that mileage is not enough to decide if you should buy a particular used car or not. However, the higher the miles, the lower the price of the car, and the more need to carry out a thorough inspection, plus longer test drive.

Read Also: Can I Use Synthetic Oil In My High Mileage Car?


Hopefully, this article has explained how many miles on a used car is too much. We would not recommend that you buy a used car with over 300,000 miles on its odometer. But then, always ensure to check all possible factors that require to be checked before paying for the used car.

If this is going to be your first ever car, we’d recommend that you go along with a mechanic or an experienced driver to help you inspect the car properly. Finally, don’t be afraid to haggle with the sales rep at every given opportunity; maybe due to high mileage, marks on the car’s body, torn interior upholstery, etc.

Scroll to Top