Last Updated on September 12, 2022
Is 200,000 miles on a car bad? If not, how much is too many miles on a vehicle? Perhaps, you’re looking to purchase a used vehicle or are considering whether you should sell your current one before it becomes too costly. Either way, knowing the effect of mileage on the price of a used vehicle can help.
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If you take two near identical vehicles—same manufacturer, same model, same year, and driven under similar conditions—but one has higher mileage, that vehicle will cost less.
When a car breaks down, it’s because one of the components has failed. Replacing the component extends the life of your vehicle (until the next component fails). So, knowing the lifetime mileage and actual mileage of important components is crucial in determining the operating costs of a vehicle.
Below is a list of the most costly components, an approximate price range, and how long you can expect them to last:
- Transmission $2,000-$6,000 75,000-100,000 miles
- Suspension $2,000-$6,000 60,000-100,000 miles
- Tires $1,000-$2,000 50,000-60,000 miles
- Brakes $1,000-$2,000 30,000-60,000 miles
- Struts $1,000-$2,000 50,000-75,000 miles
- Shocks $700-$1,000 50,000-100,000 miles
- Sensors $500-$1,000 (each) 60,000-100,000 miles
- Engine seals $500-$1,000 (each) 50,000-75,000 miles
- Alternator $300-$900 75,000-150,000 miles
- Starter motor $300-$900 75,000-150,000 miles
Newer vehicles and vehicles with a higher sales price tag will also have high component replacement costs.
How important is mileage?
If a vehicle has 200,000 miles, but had its transmission, suspension, tires, brakes, and struts replaced 10,000 to 20,000 miles ago, then you know for the next 30,000-50,000 miles (on average about two and a half to four years of driving), your biggest maintenance expenses will all be below $1,000 each.
If a vehicle has only 100,000 miles, but hasn’t yet changed out its transmission or suspension, and the tires, brakes, and shocks have only a few thousand miles on them, you can expect to pay between $5,000 and $18,000 in the first 24 months of owning the vehicle to replace these parts.
Between these two vehicles, the vehicle with the higher mileage would be the better vehicle (assuming all other vehicle characteristics are nearly identical). Not only would you avoid several costly repairs, but you would also benefit from paying a lower purchase cost and from paying less to insure it.
If two cars share near identical characteristics, except for mileage, then mileage becomes the determining factor for price. However, what other factors help determine the value of a vehicle?
Here are the other top criteria for determining the value of a vehicle:
- Vehicle condition
- Service history
- Driving conditions
- Number of prior owners
- Vehicle type
What is the condition of the engine? What is the condition of the interior? How old is the vehicle?
If any part of the vehicle appears neglected, other parts may be too.
Mileage is like age. People’s health deteriorates with age, but an older person isn’t always less healthy than a younger person. How you take care of yourself is also important. And it’s the same with vehicles. Mileage is just a number, vehicle condition matters most.
Learn as much as you can about a vehicle’s service history. A vehicle that has been regularly serviced will probably require less work in the near future. You can also plan out when more costly service items, such as the suspension or transmission will need to be replaced.
Not all miles are equal. Highway miles cause less wear and tear on vehicle components compared to city miles, which require a lot more braking, accelerating, and turning.
Also consider the profile of the driver. How did they operate the vehicle? Aggressive driving causes greater wear. And lastly, what are the road conditions on which the vehicle traveled? Routes with a lot of bumps or potholes cause components to wear quicker.
Number of prior owners
A vehicle with a higher number of prior owners is worth less than a similar vehicle with fewer owners. This is because of increased risk.
For example, you have to rely on the current seller to reveal information about how the previous owners drove and serviced the vehicle. And the seller may have difficulty remembering some of the information they gathered or may not have asked for that information when they purchased the vehicle. And service receipts rarely get passed from one owner to the next, leaving a lot of unknowns.
Also, people who own the same vehicle for 10 or more years, tend to care for their car more than people who keep a vehicle for only a few years.
The Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota Sequioa led the list at 18.2% and 14.1%, respectively. Then there’s a big gap until the next three: Chevrolet Suburban (6.6%), GMC Yukon XL (5.2%), and the Toyota 4Runner (4.6%). At the bottom of the list is the Toyota Sienna at 3.2%.
Toyota does really well in this category, appearing eight times on the list, including being the only manufacturer to produce vehicles in the passenger car category to be on this list: the Prius and the Avalon.
According to the research completed by iSeeCars the average for all vehicle models is 1.2%. Unless your vehicle or the vehicle you intend to purchase is on this list, there’s less than a 1.0% chance that vehicle will make it past 200,000 miles.
Electric vehicles tend to last longer than their diesel counterparts. And vehicles used in fleets, such as rental and law enforcement, tend to have quite a few miles on them when they are put up for sale, but they are cared for quite well.
Now that you better understand how mileage affects vehicle price, why don’t you take a look at what used vehicles Municibid has to offer. Our catalog consists of trucks, cars, some of which have been a part of fleets, along with other vehicles you could convert into RVs!