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When buying a used car, the attribute you’re most likely to hyperfocus on is the car’s mileage.

A vehicle’s odometer can often make or break a sale, which is why it’s crucial to know what constitutes a “good mileage” on a used car.

What Is Good Mileage On A Used Car?

vehicle odometer

The rule of thumb about cars and their mileage is to assume the average car owner puts 12,000 miles on their vehicle yearly.

This means in order to figure out whether a car has a reasonable amount of miles on it, all you have to do is multiply the age of the vehicle by 12,000.

[Vehicle Age] x [12,000mi] = Acceptable Mileage

With this equation, you could estimate acceptable mileage on a five year old car to be around 60,000mi.

Anything significantly greater than or less than that amount could be a clear indication that there may be an issue.

With that in mind, mileage can also be misleading. The number of previous owners has to be factored in.

A ten year-old car with 90,000mi on it is a pretty good deal. However, if it’s had three or four owners over those ten years, it’s highly likely one of them didn’t maintain the vehicle properly.

On the flip side, a ten year-old car with 30,000mi on it is likely to have only had one previous owner and be in great condition.

Those types of cars have likely sat in a garage and been maintained with utmost care AKA a great deal!


Our expert evaluators can help you get an accurate estimate for your car's value, FAST!

How Many Miles Is Too Many On A Used Car?

Stick to the formula above. How many years has the car been around? Compare that to the reading on the odometer.

If it comes out to being significantly greater than 12,000 miles per year, then it’s probably in your best bet to pass over that particular car.

Can There Be Too Little Miles On A Used Car?

This is a question that doesn’t have a definitive answer. Usually, a used car with low mileage is a definite buy — even when unusually low.

Take special care to ensure the odometer reading is an accurate reading though; rolling back the odometer is an underhanded, but possible tactic employed by unethical used car sellers.

Review the vehicle history report and have the car undergo inspection by a professional mechanic. This will expose any tell-tale signs of use that the low mileage on the odometer doesn’t match up with. I

t’s also important to make sure that all the parts are still in working order after the car has been sitting for a long time.

Is Age or Mileage More Important In A Used Car?

happy client on computer

The short answer: If the vehicle is in working condition, then its age is not a factor.

Mileage is the standard indicator of wear and tear on any vehicle. That said, age is just a number.

That vehicle could be ten years old, but has spent the majority of its time in a garage being maintained meticulously.

CarBrain Buys Used Cars With High Mileage

Used cars, whether they have a ton of mileage or not, always have a home with CarBrain. CarBrain provides an online platform with a focus on less-than-perfect cars.

Once you’ve been connected with one of our associate buyers, you’ll receive a quote for your car.

There’s ZERO obligation and your offer is valid for up to seven days. However, if time is of the essence, then our associate will immediately connect you with one of our local service providers.

Service providers will schedule a tow at your convenience, with 24-28 hours being the earliest. They will send a tow truck, FREE of charge, to haul your vehicle away.

In exchange, they hand over the amount you were quoted — no haggles, no hassle!

Need answers? Get FREE advice from our client care experts NOW!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Car Brand Has The Least Problems?

Mazda (in 2022) has bested both Toyota and Lexus in Consumer Reports’ reliability rankings for the second year in a row.

What Should I Look For In A High Mileage Car?

They depreciate much slower than newer or low mileage cars; they may be unique, specific models; if they’re being sold with high mileage, they are likely to be extremely well maintained.
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