What You Should Know About High Mileage Cars
Automobiles have made huge strides in the last few decades. One of the key things that manufacturers have been working on for some time is the longevity of vehicles. This has led to cars lasting for much longer than they used to. 100,000 miles was something to scoff at when looking at cars back in the day. Now, that amount of mileage isn’t as big of a dealbreaker.
Many people who enjoy modifying their cars pick up these high mileage vehicles because they are cheaper and better suited to modification. If you’ve been thinking about getting into car modification but don’t have the money to spend on ultra-expensive kits, buying a high mileage car is a great way to start ahead of the game. Before you buy, however, we’re going to go over what you should know about high mileage cars so you can know what you’re getting yourself into.
What Is a High Mileage Car?
Before we get into everything you need to consider before buying a high mileage car, we need to define exactly what it is we’re talking about. A car with high mileage means that the vehicle has been driven a lot of miles, but not always in the same way. The frequency of driving also becomes a factor when considering a car. Some cars will have racked up their mileage over a decade or two, while others are driven much more frequently and will only be a few years old.
The distinction becomes important when you consider how many miles the vehicle was driven per year. The average car is driven somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 miles every year. A car is considered high mileage when it has been driven more than that average per year. You can have both a high mileage car that was driven 20,000 miles every year for five years, or one that was driven 10,000 miles for ten years. We consider both of these cars as high mileage, but they will have different problems than one another because their driving frequency is different.
Is It Risky To Buy a High Mileage Car?
Buying any car always comes with some modicum of risk, and this risk can increase with more mileage on the odometer. However, just because a car has a lot of miles on it doesn’t mean it’s an automatically worse car. One of the benefits of buying a high mileage car is knowing that the car is reliable enough to make it to the mileage it already has. You can infer that this means it will continue to be reliable for the remainder of its lifespan.
Vehicle durability has only gotten more impressive as the years go by. Where once a car with tens of thousands of miles on it would have been considered junk, you can now consider it barely past half of its life span. It may not be something brand new, but you will get a car that has been tried and tested against the open road and come out on top.
What You Should Look For
Just because a car with high mileage still looks good from the outside doesn’t mean the seller isn’t hiding something. If you’re a seasoned veteran with cars, then you already know what to look for. On the other hand, if you’re a novice, taking that car to get inspected by a professional is the best way to ensure it is still in working condition.
There are a few things that you can look for yourself that will make you a more informed buyer. Keep an eye out for these red flags when you’re inspecting the vehicle for the first time:
- Beneath the hood, the engine compartment might be rusty or covered in fluid;
- The tires are unevenly worn, indicating a problem with the suspension or the way the chassis is fit;
- The undercarriage shows signs of wear and tear, i.e. rust and oxidation;
- There are noticeable noises the car makes as it drives; and
- The car hasn’t been inspected according to its maintenance schedule.
Potential Issues With High Mileage Cars
It’s important to know what you’re getting into when you buy a car that already has a lot of miles on it. You won’t necessarily run into every problem on this list, but you need to consider them as possibilities when thinking about future maintenance or modifications. Remember you can find a lot of these problems and fix them early if you inspect the vehicle properly. If you’re unsure of anything, take your car into a professional mechanic so they can run a full diagnostic on it.
Here are the biggest potential issues you could run into while owning a car with high mileage already on it:
- You may need to replace your car’s tires sooner rather than later. Keep a close eye on your air pressure and the depth of the treads to know when it’s time to upgrade to brand-new ones.
- The lifespan of your car’s battery isn’t reliant on how many miles you put on the car. Make sure you know the last time the battery was replaced, as they only last about four years regardless of mileage.
- Brake pads are more dependent on how you drive as opposed to how much you drive. Give your brakes a listen whenever you can to make sure there are no strange sounds indicating you need to get new ones.
- You may need to switch to high mileage oil for your oil changes as the engine can begin to leak more the older it becomes.
- Water pumps can become worn out and start to fail when a car reaches higher mileage levels. This can cause coolant leaks, putting your engine at risk of overheating.
Only you can decide if a high mileage car is right for you. The price and reliability certainly present an attractive option for someone who can’t buy brand-new. They also are great for adding aftermarket performance car parts, as these upgrades can help update what may be an older looking car. If you’re in the market to make that car look unique to you, American Modified will be here to source all of your aftermarket part needs.