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Car dealers can’t get enough new vehicles to sell. That, in turn, has shifted its priorities to selling used cars. But that isn’t going so well, either. There aren’t enough clean, low mileage used vehicles to sell. What’s a franchise car dealer to do?

What are these franchise dealers doing?

Carvana tower
An eight-story car vending machine, operated by the online used car dealer Carvana | Getty

For the first time ever, dealers are resorting to selling some of its clean, high-mileage trade-ins. Scanning some of the dealership car ads, they’re right there next to their limited low-mileage offerings. Clean, high-mileage, vehicles are creeping into franchise dealers’ lots. 

Many have over 300,000 miles on their tickers. These are the trade-ins that before, never appeared on dealer’s lots but, instead, were shipped off to car auctions. Independent dealers that specialize in low-credit or lower-income clienteles were usually the next stop.

Recent high-mileage used car sales have increased

Used car shoppers should know these tips
Buying a used car can be stressful | Getty Images

These higher-mileage vehicles accounted for a seven percent increase among all types of car dealers between December 2021 and March 2022. This, according to Automotive News. But it does point out that overall, these super high-mileage car sales decreased slightly year-over-year. 

 “200,000 miles is the new 100,000 miles for a lot of people,” Brian Moody, executive editor of Autotrader, told Automotive News. “It’s completely common for something like a Chevrolet Tahoe or a GMC Yukon to have well over 200,000 miles and still sell for a decent amount of money.”

Why are dealers now selling high-mileage cars?

A used Honda Accord midsize sedan displayed at the Honda of El Cerrito dealership
A used Honda Accord | Getty

Part of this noticeable increase is due to a number of factors. Vehicles last longer than in decades past. Materials like interior fabrics and automotive paints hold up longer and better, so they remain looking relatively new. 

Used car prices have overall risen 40 percent since the COVID pandemic. So the choice of certified pre-owned vehicles means it goes for premium prices. That pushes many customers out of that market. Many franchise dealerships still want a slice of that demographic.

And also buyers, in general, are more comfortable buying higher-mileage cars. Into the 1980s, many of these types of vehicles were considered shot once they hit 100,000 miles. Now, many cars have another 200,000 miles ahead of them once they hit 100,000. 

Are these used vehicles given good inspections first?

Dealership service
Dealership service department | Getty

So what dealers now want are clean vehicles with nice paint and interiors, and with clean Carfax records. And for that matter, generous maintenance records to aid in easing potential buyers’ concerns. 

As long as these types of vehicles are thoroughly inspected, there is no reason why they can’t be just another type of vehicle it sells. With service technicians replacing items like shocks, upper and lower control arm bushings-things that naturally wear out, if the rest of it checks out, it can warrant the front row of its used section. 

While some can afford to pass on high-mileage cars, they’re not new to the roads of America. They’ve always been out there. It’s just that now virtually any condition vehicle is in demand.


High-Mileage Used Cars are Selling for High Prices