When it comes to buying a vehicle, it’s important to look for that ‘used car sweet spot.’ This is essentially the point where depreciation has already knocked a huge chunk off the price but that the ride itself is still in extremely good working order – in other words, it’s not going to fall apart as soon as you’ve parted with your hard-earned cash. There are many things to consider when making a purchase decision with mileage versus age being top areas of concern – but which one matters more?
How much mileage is good for a used car? Well, naturally you may be inclined to look for a vehicle with minimal miles on the clock – after all, a car that’s knocked up 170,000 miles during its lifespan is likely to have experienced a lot more wear and tear than a car that has only done 70,000. This makes perfect sense, but you also need to consider what kind of driving and terrain the vehicle has been subjected to. A 4X4 that has endured numerous mountain adventures but has a low mileage may indeed be in worse condition than a luxury saloon that has travelled long distances on the motorway, a surface generally considered to be kinder on a vehicle’s mechanics.
If a car looks a bit battered and scraped but has a suspiciously low mileage on the odometer, listen to your instincts. Perhaps the clock has been wound back to make the car more appealing? For this reason, it’s always a good idea to invest in a used vehicle from a reputable car dealership.
Vehicles are only designed to last so long. While an older car may seem like an unattractive buying option in comparison to a newer model, there are also things to keep in mind where age is concerned. A new car, for instance, might have travelled far and wide and therefore not look as good or run as well as it perhaps should do. Alternatively, an older car may have fewer miles on the clock and actually have a surprising amount of life left in it. That said, if an older car has been sat on the driveway for an endless amount of time, it may have suffered extreme deterioration that even the owners don’t know about.
How old should a new car be to get the best value? Unfortunately there is no right or wrong answer – just like distance travelled doesn’t tell the whole story. When buying a used vehicle it’s important to consider how well the vehicle has been maintained. If it has been regularly serviced and passed a series of MOTs; if it hasn’t been smashed up and repaired; if it’s been used without difficulties and has been well-loved by previous owners. In such instances, it’s probably a good deal. If it has been left rot in someone’s garage but only has 20,000 miles on the clock, it’s not going to be a decent buy either. It’s all about common sense, which involves checking past records and test driving vehicles you like.