Cars With Over 100,000 Miles Are Selling for Record Numbers

Having a car with over 100,000 miles on the odometer is a landmark. For some, it’s a point of pride, and for others, it’s something to be embarrassed about. No matter which camp you fall into, that 100,000-mile car is more expensive now. The current condition of the used and new auto markets has brought into sharp relief one issue: There simply isn’t a middle-class car anymore.

Used cars are getting more expensive

A chart showing pricing for cars with over 100,000 miles and their average pricing in June of 2020, with a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 at the top
Average prices for cars over 100k are on the rise | Edmonds

Now, I should clarify what I mean by that. Because of the supply chain issues we’ve been seeing as a result of the pandemic, it’s becoming increasingly harder to get a decent car nowadays. That, coupled with the growing gap in income in the U.S, has made it very difficult to find a used car with under 100,000 miles for any reasonable sum of money.

According to Edmunds data, the price of used cars with over 100,000 miles is up. Way up. Take a look at the “ATP” column up there, which stands for Average Transaction price. Now, look at the chart below, completed one year from the one above. That means there’s been a year-to-year bounding leap of 31%. Moreover, demand for cars with over 100,000 miles on them is increasing too.

Is a car over 100,000 miles a bad buy?

A chart showing pricing for cars with over 100,000 miles and their average pricing in June of 2021, with a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 at the top
Average prices for cars over 100k are on the rise | Edmonds

That last column, “Days to turn” is an important one. Effectively, it shows how long it takes certain models with over 100,000 miles on them to sell. Hint: they sell real fast. This perhaps can be attributed more to current supply chain issues and the pandemic than anything. Remember June last year? I don’t want to either, but very few people were in a position to buy a car at that point.

As you can see, not only did cars with over 100,000 miles change hands for more money, it also took them far less time to change hands. This begs the question: Are high-mileage cars like the ones on the list worth your time? Generally, you’ll want the absolute newest car you can get with as few miles for the money. 100,000 miles is certainly a point where poorly maintained cars can go the way of the Dodo, so if you must buy, make sure it’s been well-kept and be prepared to pay for it.

The best thing you can do is wait

A vintage car with an odometer reading all 9s.
Coming up on 100k | R. Krubner via Getty Images

Right now, the best thing car buyers can do is wait. While the average price of used cars certainly isn’t going down, there’s absolutely a huge spike in the market right now. We can blame semiconductor shortages for that. Just like new cars, the used auto market will either level out or crash outright. Thankfully, when that time comes, it’ll be easier to make your money work for you while shopping for a new or used car, regardless of mileage.

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