Should You Buy A Used Car With Over 100k Miles?

several different used cars with over 100k miles parked in a lot

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You might be wondering if it's a bad idea to buy a used car with over 100k miles as you consider buying yourself your next car. Generally speaking, buying a used car with over 100k miles on it is, in fact, a good idea and comes with many benefits.

The average American drives around 12,000 miles per year. A car with 100k miles on it may be around 8 to 9 years old, in this case. Modern day cars are built to be sturdy and can last quite a long time.

When searching for a used car with over 100k miles, you may find many beat-up cars that are in bad shape. But as you keep looking, you'll also find that there are some cars in great condition which have been well-maintained and will easily last several more years.

Finding a high-mileage vehicle that's in great shape will save you money in both the short and long term and may be the best option for you.

In this article, we'll go over why buying a used car with 100k miles can be a good idea and some common places to find these cars.

Benefits of Buying a Used Car With Over 100K Miles

Buying a used car with over 100k miles has great benefits. You'll pay a lot less for your car, the car will depreciate a lot less, insurance will be lower, and well-maintained cars with high mileage will continue to last. On the other hand, a new vehicle will cost more, depreciate faster, and may have higher insurance rates.

Let's go over these key benefits.

You'll Pay Less For The Car

A used car with over 100k miles costs a lot less. In May of 2021, the average cost of a new full-sized car, according to Kelley Blue Book, is $40,774. According to Edmunds.com, the average cost of a car that has between 100k and 110k miles on it is $16,500. That said, you can often find good quality a used car with 100k miles for $10,000 or less, though you may be limited on the type of car.

Consider this: If you purchased a car for $40,774 with a 10% down payment and a 4.71% interest rate, paid over 60 months, your car payment would be $688 per month for 60 months. However, if you purchased a used car with 100k miles on it for $16,500 with the same terms, your car payment would only be $278.

You would save $410 per month or $24,600 over the 60 months of the loans.

Your Car Will Depreciate Less

Cars depreciate from the moment that they're driven off the lot. It's estimated that a new car depreciates 20% in the first year and 15% per year for the next four years.

After five years, your car is worth approximately 40% of its original sale price from when you bought it new. That means, if you paid $30,000 for your new car, it would be worth around $12,000 after 5 years.

It's beneficial to buy a car with over 100k miles because the car depreciates less per year, and eventually, the car will be worth whatever someone is willing to pay. For example, if you buy a car with over 100k miles for $8,000 that sold for $30,000 new, you may find that your car only depreciates around $1,000 per year.

You'll Pay Less For Auto Insurance

Auto insurance generally costs less on an old car because older cars have less value and are less expensive to replace in the event of a total loss. However, an exception may be made if car parts for the older car are harder to find or have become more expensive.

Additionally, with older cars, you may not need collision insurance because the cost of collision insurance may be higher than the car's value over time. Some states may allow you to forego comprehensive insurance as well, especially if you don't have a loan on the car.

The Zebra is a website that will help you find the best auto insurance rates for the type of car you drive.

Cars Have Become More Reliable

Cars are built to be much more reliable now than they were in the past. You should consider this when looking for a car with over 100k miles on it because more people today have older cars that still run well and last longer.

Many cars from reputable companies can last to 200k miles or even more. If you purchase a car for 100k miles and drive 12,000 miles per year, your car may last you 9 years, assuming you drive it until you reach 200k miles. In those 9 years, if you've maintained the car well, you'll have potentially saved tens of thousands of dollars buying the car when it had 100k miles versus buying a brand new car.

Issues That May Come Up With A Used Car With Over 100k Miles

Of course, there are common issues that may come up when you buy a used car with over 100k miles. Some issues you may encounter include:

  • It may be difficult to find parts for the older car should you need them.
  • Transmissions are known to start wearing out after 100,000 miles, and a failed transmission can mean that your car is totaled.
  • The fuel pump might have issues if the car was regularly driven with low fuel levels. Fuel pumps generally last the lifetime of a car but be sure to replace your fuel filter as recommended in your owner's manual.
  • You may have to replace the water pump if it hasn't been. Water pumps generally need to be replaced every 60,000 to 90,000 miles.
  • If your car has a timing belt, it's recommended that it's replaced every 60,000 to 90,000 miles.

To prevent issues like these from happening, it's a good idea to take a used car to a trusted mechanic to have it checked out before you finalize the sale. Additionally, following your car's maintenance schedule and doing routine maintenance will aid the car in lasting longer for less money.

Tips to Buying a Used Car With Over 100k Miles

When buying a used car that has over 100k miles, it pays to do your due diligence. Take into consideration these tips before purchasing the car.

  • Use a site like Kelley Blue Book to find out the fair value of the car.
  • Get an odometer reading.
  • Use a site like Carfax to get a vehicle history report to find out details like if the car has been in an accident, how many owners it had, and its service history.
  • Check the car for any recalls it may have.
  • Test drive the car whenever possible on both roads and somewhere where you can get it up to highway speed.
  • Visually check the car inside and out.
  • Use your own mechanic that you trust to check out the car.
  • Check all critical components, such as the air conditioner, heat, windshield wipers, window and door locks, and signal lights.

Questions to Ask the Owner

In addition to the tips above, here are some questions to ask the owner of the used car that you're considering buying.

  • Has the car ever been in an accident?
  • Why are you getting rid of the car?
  • Is the car paid off, or is there a loan on the car?
  • What parts have been replaced and when?
  • What is the VIN?
  • What mechanical issues does the car have?
  • How much do you want for the car?

Get the Car Inspected

Find a mechanic you trust to do a thorough inspection when you plan to buy a used car with over 100k miles. The mechanic should check all the critical components of the car. A trusted mechanic will let you know if they believe the car is a good buy or if it will require major repairs.

Where to Buy a Used Car With Over 100k Miles

You can buy a used car with over 100k miles from a variety of places. Of course, the most obvious place to buy is an auto dealership, but you should also consider buying one privately or looking at cars for sale by the owner on sites like Craigslist that are in your area.

Carfax.com has listings for used cars, as does Kelley Blue Book. You can also check local listings on Facebook Marketplace to find people in your area who are privately selling a used car.

It's often easier to find a car at a better price when it's sold privately versus when you buy from a dealer.

Wrapping It Up

In this article, we discussed the benefits and drawbacks of buying a used car with over 100k miles. It is not a bad idea to buy an older used car, as long as you do your homework and have the car inspected by a professional mechanic that you trust. In the long run, you can end up saving tens of thousands of dollars by buying a higher-mileage used car.

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