Which is more significant when purchasing a used car: the mileage or the year of manufacture?

Important point: 

Considering many factors when trying to buy a used car, buying a used car from a reputable dealer such as LA City Cars can give you a better peace of mind. LA City Cars uses extensive inspections to give you warranties and peace of mind. However, in this blog article, we will discuss factors that can affect your peace of mind when trying to buy a used car.

When purchasing a used car, there are numerous factors to take into account. It is frequently questioned which has greater significance: the model year or the mileage.

After the first year, a new car loses around a quarter of its original value, and after three years, the vehicle is only worth around half. After that, the “depreciation curve” for vehicles subsides sharply and loses around 5-6% per year. Therefore, if you’re looking for a used car with a good price-performance ratio and no significant loss of value, cars that are roughly 3-5 years old are more desirable.

Is mileage or age more important when selecting a used car?

There are conflicting opinions among experts. The average mileage for cars is assumed to be around 10,000 to 15,000 miles per year. Experts believe that lower mileage is fundamentally more important than the age of the car when buying a used car. The underlying reasoning is that vehicles that are driven more miles show more signs of wear and tear and defects. This tends to be less important with cars that sit for long periods of time.

High-mileage cars are more susceptible to issues like worn-out bearings, timing belts, water pumps, gas pumps, general belts, radiator leaks, and many others. Damaged car seals can also be attributed purely to age but are usually not as serious (and costly) as defects that arise through use (i.e., more mileage).

Opinions from experts and from drivers suggest that the question cannot be answered quite so easily. Here are a few criteria that should also be taken into account when buying a used car:

How and where the car was driven

It’s not just the number of miles driven that is important. How and where the miles came about also play a role.

Long-haul vs. short-haul?

Miles that are mainly accumulated on long journeys are less “important or damaging” for many car parts than milage from too many short trips. Low mileage is only an advantage if a vehicle has been regularly serviced. A look at the (complete) service booklet is therefore an equally crucial point when purchasing. The questions of whether it is a fun car and how the car has been maintained should not be ignored. The previous owner’s driving style also plays a role.

Mileage and age are just two of many criteria that should be taken into account when buying a used car.