At What Point Is A Car Considered High Mileage

by | Aug 16, 2020

Many people hear the term high mileage vehicle and automatically think of a rusted out beater car. This isn’t the case in this day and age! Car technology is improving rapidly and cars are lasting longer than ever before.

It used to be expected that a vehicle would last on average about 100,000 miles and you were lucky if you got more than that. Nowadays, you can expect to get to somewhere close to 200,000 miles with little to no major repairs, if not beyond that if your vehicle has been properly maintained over the years.

What Is Considered High Mileage?

High mileage is really relative to the age of the vehicle. An older vehicle with just under 100,000 miles isn’t considered to be a high mileage vehicle for it’s age whereas a 3 year old vehicle with that many miles is considered high mileage. 

The average amount of miles put on a vehicle every year is between 10,000 and 15,000 miles. Anything above this is considered high mileage. 

Another popular opinion on what high mileage means is any car with over 100,000 miles on it. This is generally a standard when purchasing a used car. Any car that you purchase with over 100,000 miles already on it is considered a riskier investment, though it doesn’t always lead to a sour outcome. 

How Many Miles Does A Car Last On Average 

The standard for a long time was 100,000 miles, but this is no longer the case. As technological advancements in the automotive industry continue to surge forward, so too does the limit of what our modern cars are capable of. 

Today, you can expect your vehicle to get on average 200,000 miles without major repairs. This is an average and will depend on the make and model of the vehicle, conditions of the roads where you frequently drive the car, how the car is maintained over the years, and a healthy dose of luck. 

How Many Miles Should You Put On Your Car Per Year?

The average car owner puts between 10,000 and 15,000 miles on their car. If you can put less than that on your vehicle a year, great! If not you may want to consider cutting back on your driving. For many individuals who use their car for business, this isn’t always possible and that’s okay. Your car is there for your convenience and if you need to put 40,000 miles on it in a year then that’s what it’s there for! 

The best answer to this is as few as you can because the more miles a car has the less resale value it is worth. As a general rule of thumb try to stay within 10,000 to 15,000 miles whenever possible. 

Should I Buy A High Mileage Vehicle?

Don’t judge a car by its miles! There are many factors to consider when purchasing a used vehicle and mileage is just scratching the surface. Mileage equates to wear and tear but it can also show that a car is durable. Instead of looking at mileage it is advisable to check the car’s maintenance history to see what large repairs have been made as well as if the previous owners have taken the steps to ensure the car was well cared for when it comes to routine maintenance. 

While it is a combination of factors that decide a vehicle’s usable life before major repairs must take place, mileage isn’t a bad place to start. If you’re planning on going high mileage to stay within a budget or for whatever reason it’s a great idea to go newer. Newer cars as we’ve discussed tend to last longer in terms of mileage thanks to the newest technology and equipment in them. 

Best High Mileage Vehicles To Buy

Experts agree that if you want to maximize the effectiveness of each dollar you spend on transportation, the best option is to buy a used car, maintain it well and keep it a long time. When buying a used car, some brands are better at making it to higher mileage counts than others. You want to make sure your money is working for you here and not the other way around. Purchasing one of these vehicles is a great way to make it past 150,000 miles. 

  1. Toyota Camry
  2. Honda Accord 
  3. Lexus ES 350
  4. Buick Verano
  5. Toyota Avalon
  6. Honda Civic
  7. Toyota Corolla
  8. Hyundai Sonata 
  9. Toyota Prius
  10. Buick Lacrosse

It comes as no surprise that the Japanese car market is dominating this list. Japanese vehicles are renowned for being reliable and low repair cars. They are an excellent investment when picking out a car with a higher odometer count. 

Common Problems Associated With High Mileage Vehicles. 

As cars are driven and accumulate miles, they tend to need common fixes at certain miles. Parts have a usable life and after they reach that usable life they will need to be replaced. These repairs can be pricey if you don’t have a warranty on your vehicle. Though your mechanic will be the best source of information, on what you need to keep your car running smoothly, these are the repairs you can expect to face if you have a high mileage vehicle or intend to drive your current car until it dies. 

Automatic Transmission: Though transmission life does vary depending on how a car is driven and maintained, automatic transmissions tend to go out at some point after the 100,000-mile mark. Replacement is the repair option available and it will cost you several thousand dollars. Typically a car is considered totaled when the transmission goes out because it is a repair that is expensive and is needed at the end of a car’s life cycle. 

Battery: The battery of a vehicle is something that needs to be replaced every 4 years regardless of miles. Your mechanic will be able to test the integrity of your battery and determine if it is safe to use until your next vehicle check-up. 

Brake Pads: The brake pads are a maintenance item where you can definitely tell when they’re going bad. Squeaky and squealing noises produced when braking could mean that the brake pads on your vehicle need to be replaced. There isn’t a set mileage or time frame that your brake pads will need to be replaced. It will depend heavily on the particular driver’s driving style. 

For example, a conservative driver who speeds up and slows down less aggressively will see their brake pads last longer than someone who is always slamming on their brakes to stop more quickly. Your mechanic will be able to gauge at what point your brake pads will need replacing. On average you can expect brake pads to last 40,000 miles. 

Tires: Like brake pads, the tires on your car will wear out depending on your driving style and there is no set time frame or mileage count. The best way to gauge if your tires need to be replaced is to check the tread.

Over time, the tough rubber that your tires are built out of will wear away against the pavement. Tread is measured in the United States to the 1/32nd of an inch. New tires will offer tread depths between 9/32 and 11/32 of an inch. Tires are considered unsafe when they reach 2/32 of an inch but it’s best to replace tires before it gets close to that tread depth. On average tires last between 60,000 and 75,000 miles. 

Fuel Pump: A great way to prevent this costly repair is to keep your car’s gas tank as full as possible. Fuel pump failure can be caused by constantly driving at really low fuel levels. If you can avoid doing that whenever possible then your fuel pump will likely last the lifetime of your vehicle! With some maintenance along the way of course. Be sure to follow recommended replacement schedules for your fuel filter as instructed by the owner’s manual. 

Water Pump: You can tell your water pump is starting to go when it begins to leak coolant. The water pump will typically last between 60,000 and 90,000 miles and then the entire part will need to be replaced. This part can be tricky to replace because it is difficult to access. It’s good to consider replacing the timing belt at the same time as the two are located in close proximity to each other and have around the same usable life. 

Timing Belt: The timing belt will not give you any fair notice before breaking and when it does can cause some serious damage to your engine block. You should replace your timing belt when you replace your water pump somewhere between 60,000 and 90,000 miles. 

How To Make A High Mileage Vehicle Last

Whether you absolutely love your current car, or can’t afford a new one for the time being, you want your car to run for a long time. Not only do you need to get around, but if a high mileage vehicle is in good working order then  some of it’s value can still be recouped at the end of it’s time with you if you do decide to sell or trade it in.  While it won’t last forever, there are steps you can take to keep your car going for as long as possible. Be sure to 

  1. Make repairs immediately: When something breaks, repair it as quickly as possible and do not drive the car until the problem has been resolved. Your problem is unlikely to go away and will likely just get worse and may lead to other more severe issues. As soon as your check engine light comes on or you start hearing some unusual sounds coming from under the hood, take your car to a mechanic to get it checked out and repaired. 
  2. Follow the owner’s manual when it comes to maintenance: No one knows how to care for your vehicle and maintain it better than the people who built the dang thing. The owner’s manual should be your bible to what routine maintenance will need to be completed over the many years and miles that you spend with your car. 

From what type of coolant and fluids the car takes to the appropriate time frame for oil changes, let your owner’s manual guide you to a long happy life with your vehicle. Neglect these maintenance items at any point in the life cycle and your car’s usable life will be cut shorter than necessary. 

  1. Don’t use cheaply made replacement parts: When repairs need to be made on your vehicle, you want to make sure that you’re putting the best parts in. When it comes to auto parts, you typically get what you pay for and while a new part may be expensive upfront, it will save you a whole lot of cash and frustration down the road. So if you want to keep your car in optimal safe driving condition, put the parts in your vehicle that your mechanic recommends. 
  2. Drive well: If you beat the heck out of your vehicle every time you get behind the wheel, your car probably won’t last as long as it could. There is something to be said for conservative driving and it does in fact correlate with the lifespan of your car. Don’t speed up and slow down quickly, take turns reasonably and at a good speed, and avoid bad roads to help your car last as long as possible. 
  3.  Prevent salt damage: Keep your car clean if you live near the beach or in an area where it snows. Saltwater is highly corrosive and should be kept away from your vehicle whenever possible. If your car is exposed to snow that has been treated with salt or was driven on the beach you should care for it by washing it. Especially the undercarriage of the vehicle which is especially susceptible to rust and corrosion.
  4. Consider an extended warranty: There are tons of third party companies that offer extended warranties for higher mileage vehicles. These can be a great option especially if you fall on hard times and your car suffers a mechanical break. The peace of mind alone knowing that your car’s repairs are paid for is incredibly valuable for some. Check out Protect My Car’s Extended Warranty Options below. 

Protect My Car Can Help You Afford The Expense Of Repairing A High Mileage Vehicle

We offer three levels of extended vehicle protection to meet consumer’s needs. These plans are for consumers with vehicles that are less than 10 years of age and less than 125,000 miles. With one of these policies, you pay a $100 deductible and we pay the rest.

DRIVELINE

Protect My Car’s Driveline policy provides protection for vehicles that are 4 to 10 years of age with more than 80,000 miles. Driveline customers get a full 5 years and/or 125,000 miles of warranty coverage against unexpected mechanical failures.

SELECT

Protect My Car’s Select policy is the best option for level of coverage on vehicles with more than 50,000 miles. Our Select policy provides complete protection for those vehicles that are just outside of the requirements for the Supreme policy.

SUPREME

Protect My Car’s Supreme policy is very similar to the manufacturer’s new car warranty and is designed for consumers who need additional coverage because you plan to keep your new vehicle for longer than the manufacturer’s warranty terms.

About Protect My Car 

Best Extended Car Warranty Plans

Consumer Affairs has ranked Protect My Car as one of its Top 5 Extended Warranty Plan companies.

Flexible Payment Terms

At Protect My Car, we strive to provide our customers with the best possible coverage at payment terms that they can afford. We offer flexible payment terms ranging from 36 to 48 monthly payments. This makes our extended auto warranty plans affordable on almost any budget.

Money Back Guarantee 

Protect My Car will stand by our product by offering a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee on all extended car warranty plans. Once you purchase an extended car warranty plan from us, if, for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with the terms and conditions of your coverage plan, there is a hassle free process for providing you with a full refund of your down payment.

24/7 Roadside Assistance

When that inevitable breakdown happens, Protect My Car will be there to help you through each step. We provide 24/7 roadside assistance. Once your car is towed to a licensed repair shop, we provide rental car reimbursement. All Protect My Car warranty plans include roadside assistance at no additional cost.

Resources:

https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/high-mileage-car
https://www.autolist.com/guides/how-many-miles-is-too-many-used-car
https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/off-topic-discussion/what-is-considered-high-mileage-now-days/136380/page1/
https://www.faulknerhonda.com/how-long-do-brake-pads-last-harrisburg-pa-.html
https://www.angieslist.com/articles/when-replace-your-cars-water-pump.htm
https://protectmycar.com/extended-warranty
https://www.usedcars.com/advice/car-shopping/best-high-mileage-used-cars-132973/
https://www.caranddriver.com/research/a32758625/how-many-miles-does-a-car-last/
https://www.consumerreports.org/car-repair-maintenance/make-your-car-last-200-000-miles/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2013/03/14/cars-that-can-last-for-250000-miles/#68fcdd23323e
https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/articles/what_to_expect_when_buying_a_high_mileage_car

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