The Truth: How Mileage Impacts a Used Car’s Price

Ah, the mystical world of mileage: a number that has the power to sway car-buying decisions. But let’s take a moment to discover the truth about how mileage affects a used car’s price – and specifically, what sort of mileage you should be avoiding at all costs.

Get ready to unravel the mysteries of mileage and gain a deeper understanding of its impact. Shall we begin?

The Mileage Mirage:

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s debunk a common misconception: mileage alone does not determine a used car’s value.

It’s time to cast aside this idea that the digits on the odometer hold all the secrets. While mileage is indeed a crucial factor, it’s only part of a much larger story and you need to consider the facts as a whole – and websites like Webuyanycar agree.

Maintenance is the Key:

Imagine two cars with identical mileage, but one has been pampered with regular maintenance and meticulous care, while the other has been neglected like a forgotten teapot. Which one would you bet on?

That’s right — the well-maintained car takes the chequered flag. Timely servicing, careful attention to oil changes, and diligent inspections can keep a car running smoothly, even with higher mileage. So, remember, it’s not just about the miles travelled but the care and attention lavished upon the vehicle along the way.

The Age Equation:

Age, again, plays a significant role in the grand scheme of a car’s worth.This may sound obvious, but bare with me.

A low-mileage car from yesteryears may not hold the same allure as a relatively higher-mileage car that has embraced the open road in recent times. Why, you ask? Technological advancements, improved safety features, and the wear and tear associated with aging can influence a car’s value. Therefore, don’t let mileage alone be the judge; consider a car’s age as a worthy companion on your evaluation journey.

What about Servicing?

Picture this: Two cars boasting similar mileage, but one comes with a meticulously documented service history, chronicling every oil change, tire rotation, and squeaky hinge fix. The other car? A bit of a mystery, with a service booklet hiding more secrets than a treasure chest. Which one would you place your trust in? It’s no surprise—the one with the golden paperwork steals the show.

A well-documented service history not only fosters trust but also indicates the car’s diligent upkeep. Remember, my friends, paperwork speaks volumes!

The Mileage Melody:

Now that we’ve delved into the factors that shape a used car’s value, let’s examine the interplay between mileage and pricing. Lower mileage cars often allure buyers, who are willing to pay a premium for a vehicle deemed fresher and less travelled.

However, savvy drivers seek out well-maintained higher-mileage cars, recognising their affordability and reliability. The key is finding the right balance between mileage, maintenance, and your budget. It’s a dance of preferences, my friends, and the rhythm varies for each buyer.

What is the average mileage?

Curious about the typical mileage profile? According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average number of miles a car covered in the UK during 2020 was around 6,800 miles.

However, do take this figure with a pinch of salt, as the pandemic played its part in altering our driving habits. To paint a broader picture, let’s turn back the clock to 2019, where the average annual mileage stood at approximately 7,400 miles. Of course, these numbers vary depending on factors such as fuel type, car size, and individual usage patterns.

Are higher miles diesel cars better?

Petrol cars, to start with, are better suited to shorter trips than their diesel counterparts and this is cetainbly true for the most part: they thrive on city jaunts, with average annual mileages falling slightly below the overall average—around 6,000 to 7,000 miles.

So, if you encounter a petrol car with an average of 9,000 miles per year, it could be deemed relatively high mileage. Fear not, though! Petrol cars handle long-distance driving with aplomb, especially the economical models. It’s all about finding the right fit for your driving habits.

And then there’s diesel. Often the choice of high-mileage warriors seeking fuel efficiency on long motorway voyages, diesel cars usually boast average annual mileages of approximately 9,000 to 10,000 miles – slightly less than you may think.

But wait, many diesel cars effortlessly soar beyond these numbers, with some even cruising well above 20,000 or 30,000 miles per year. Fear not, dear drivers, for diesel engines are engineered to tackle long distances without breaking a sweat. They dance to a different beat, one that harmonises with their high-mileage lovers.

Age of car in years Average mileage
1 7,400
2 14,800
3 22,200
4 29,600
5 37,000
6 44,400
7 51,800
8 59,200
9 66,600
10 74,000
15 111,000
20 148,000

Is a low mileage car *always* better?


And – I know I know, the allure of older cars with low mileage—like a vintage treasure waiting to be discovered. While the combination of age and low mileage may seem irresistible, there are risks to be mindful of, my friends.

But realistically you’re not going to finfd a barn-find like one of these, so don’t even try.

The reduced usage of a car can translate into missed maintenance opportunities.

Parts wear over time, regardless of mileage, and neglecting periodic inspections can lead to unexpected repairs. Take heed, and ensure that lower mileage cars have received proper care in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations… prevention is the key to unlocking a smooth journey. 🙂

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The High Mileage Heroes

Now, let us celebrate the high-mileage champions—the cars that have embraced the open road with vigor. While it’s true that increased mileage can lead to wear and tear, a well-maintained high-mileage car can prove to be remarkably reliable. Remember, maintenance schedules are of utmost importance.

Components such as water pumps and consumables like clutches and brake pads may require more frequent attention. Higher mileage cars often wear their battle scars with pride, but with proper care, they continue to deliver impressive performance. So, dear readers, don’t dismiss the high-mileage heroes; they have stories to tell and roads to conquer.


So in short, remember that finding the perfect used car is a delicate balancing act: consider the harmony between mileage, maintenance, age, and your budget. Each factor plays a unique role in shaping a car’s value. Embrace the spirit of adventure, armed with knowledge and a discerning eye, as you embark on the quest for your ideal four-wheeled companion.

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How does mileage affect a used car's price?

Mileage plays a role in determining a used car's price. Generally, lower mileage cars are seen more positively by buyers and may command a higher price. However, other factors such as maintenance, age, and overall condition also influence a car's value.

What is considered high mileage for a used car?

High mileage can vary depending on the car's make, model, and age. However, as a general guideline, anything above 100,000 miles is often considered high mileage. It's important to assess the car's condition, maintenance history, and reliability when considering a higher mileage vehicle.

Can a car with high mileage still be reliable?

Yes, a car with high mileage can still be reliable if it has been well-maintained throughout its life - regular servicing, timely repairs, and proper care can significantly extend a car's lifespan.

Should I buy a car with more than 100k miles on the clock?

Buying a car with over 100,000 miles can be a viable option if you want to save money, just remember that the car's maintenance history, overall condition, and the reputation of the make and model are the factors here. Well-maintained high-mileage cars can offer affordability and still provide reliable transportation.

How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continually monitor motor industry news & research, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

  • 15th November 2023
    Current Article - By Gary McKrill
  • 1st February 2024
    Checked & Reviewed - By John Mikler
  • 28th June 2023
    Copy Edited - By Harry Edwell
  • 8th June 2024
    Reviewed - By Harry Edwell

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