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Should You Buy a Car with 100K Miles?

Buying a car with 100K miles can be a dicey enterprise. You can minimize the risks involved if you ask the right questions before buying any high mileage vehicle. Here are a few to consider.

  • Number one on the list is the maintenance that has been performed. Was the oil changed as recommended? How often was the vehicle tuned up? Was the coolant flushed at least once? What other repairs have been made? Ideally, the current owner will have documentation of all maintenance that has been performed.
  • Next, lift the hood. Are the belts and hoses showing signs of cracking and/or dry rot? How old is the battery? Can you see damage on the radiator? Do you see fluids on the ground or sitting in crevices on the engine?
  • When you drive the vehicle: Does it pull to one side or another? Can you hear any strange sounds? Does the steering wheel vibrate or shake when you are braking?
  • With a high mileage vehicle, requesting a vehicle history report is in your best interest. Most of us are familiar with Carfax, but there are other services that provide the same information. You can save a lot of money buying high mileage vehicles if you take the time to ask the right questions.
  • Keep in mind the vehicle’s make. Typically, domestic and Asian brands are much more affordable to maintain and repair than luxury brands from Germany and Great Britain.

The good news is, cars and trucks these days are easily capable of lasting well into six-figure mileage, as long as they are maintained routinely and not abused.  This is where your assessment of not just the vehicle itself, but the previous owner is important.  You should never purchase a vehicle of this mileage from a person who seems untrustworthy. If you are purchasing from a dealership, be sure to research its customer reviews online, and ask your friends and coworkers if they have any firsthand experience.  You should also inquire about any warranties the dealership offers for its higher-mileage vehicles. Keep in mind that it is more difficult to finance a high mileage vehicle, so you may run into some challenges if your credit score isn’t what you’d like it to be.


About the Author

The author has many years of experience in automotive finance and insurance. However, each consumer's situation is unique. It is best to contact a finance specialist for further assistance.
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