Tips, Tricks & Trends

Here’s Why Buying a High-Mileage Car Could be the Answer to Your Used Car Shopping Woes

There’s no beating around the bush here. Used car prices are on the rise. In fact, Car and Driver reports used car prices increased an average of 14% when compared to the spring of 2020. For used car shoppers, that could be a problem. The good news is that there’s a potential solution: buying a high-mileage car.

Why used car prices are on the rise

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If you haven’t heard, the auto industry is facing a chip shortage. This shortage has impacted the auto industry’s ability to manufacture new vehicles, which USA Today reports, has resulted in fewer new cars being on the market. 

For many car shoppers, fewer new cars on the lot have prompted them to buy a used vehicle instead. And, as you might have already guessed, that’s led to a spike in used car sales. That spike has driven up prices too. According to Car and Driver, these days, the average price of a used car is nearly $24,000.

USA Today reports that even the sale of certified pre-owned cars is on the uptick. In fact, certified pre-owned sales rose 36% between February and March, according to data collected by the publication. Overall, USA Today reports used car sales rose 117% in March when compared to March 2020.

Why buying a high-mileage car might not be such a bad idea

A high-mileage car shown with 100,000 miles on the odometer
A car odometer with 100,000 miles shown. | Universal Education/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

With used car prices on the rise, Car and Driver reports that buying a high-mileage car might not be such a bad idea after all. You could even score a great bargain as high-mileage cars tend to cost less than low-mileage ones. Not to mention, cars these days have improved so much that it’s often not uncommon to see a vehicle with more than 100,000-miles on its odometer.   

“Both the novice and the savvy enthusiast used to view 50,000 miles as the bright line separating jewels from junk. But with vehicles having gotten so much better over the last 15 years, and absurd demand, dealers report that used cars with six figures on the odometer are finding good homes.”

Car and Driver

What to look for when buying a high-mileage car

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If you’re going to buy a high-mileage car, it’s important to know what to look for beyond how many miles are on the odometer. While that’s certainly important, Autolist reports that what’s equally important is the car’s overall condition and how comprehensive its maintenance records are.

The vehicle should be well-maintained and kept in good condition. Also ask for the vehicle’s maintenance records, along with if and what repairs have been completed and when. Additionally, Autolist recommends asking if the vehicle has an existing warranty. 

“Brands like Hyundai offer the original owner a hearty warranty and many elements of it can be transferred to future owners during its lifespan,” Autolist explains.

Cars that can last 200,000 miles or more

An image of a Toyota Tundra outdoors.
Toyota Tundra | Toyota

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Say you’re ready to buy a high-mileage car. What models should you look for? There are actually a few worth keeping an eye out for. In fact, after analyzing 11.8 million cars sold in 2020, iSeeCars determined that several models sold in 2020 successfully reached 200,000 miles. For high-mileage shoppers, these used cars make for great options.

If you’re in the market for a used SUV, iSeeCars’ data shows that the Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Sequoia, Chevy Suburban, and Ford Expedition are among the longest-lasting SUVs.

For used sedan shoppers, consider the Toyota Avalon or the Toyota Prius. And if a pickup is more your style? The Toyota Tundra, Honda Ridgeline, and Toyota Tacoma are among the longest-lasting pickups on the market today.