German Precision Pre Purchase Car Inspection

Prepurchase Car Inspections Melbourne

Which Is More Important When Buying a Used Vehicle, Age or Mileage?

When you are buying a used vehicle, you will frequently be faced with the questions of mileage or age is more important. For many prospective buyers, these two terms are two of the most important in buying a used vehicle. Do they truly have a significant impact on a vehicle’s overall condition? Which one is more important? Is it a vehicle that is older or has travelled more kilometres? 

Usually, buyers are drawn to older models or those with high mileage that fit their budget, requirements, or tastes. In today’s market, where vehicle selection is haphazard and low-mileage vehicles are hard to find, buyers are faced with this dilemma. So, when you have to make a choice, does age or mileage matter more?


Used Vehicle Mileage

The number of km a vehicle has travelled is referred to as mileage. In other words, mileage provides buyers with a glimpse into a used vehicle’s “previous life”. In most cases, the more km a used vehicle has, the higher the likelihood that it will show signs of wear and tear.

However, mileage does not always indicate a used vehicle’s condition. A vehicle’s condition is influenced by many factors other than mileage. So, when buying a used vehicle, you should also consider the following issues:

How often and where did the previous owner drive the car? Even if two vehicles feature the same mileage numbers, a car that has frequently been driven through suburban neighbourhoods is more likely to be in better condition than one that has been driven through rigorous dirt roads in rural areas. However, conversely, a car that has mostly highway driving can have many more km on it again, and still be in much better condition than an equivalent car with half or less km.

Also, take note of commuter vehicles traversing through big cities. A vehicle’s engine may be worn down quicker in the stop-and-go traffic of big cities than on long, nonstop highways.

It’s true that driving a vehicle more frequently makes the parts wear out or become damaged, but driving it less frequently isn’t necessarily better either. Corrosion and rust can build up in the engine, as well as flat spots on the tyres. These are both common issues that occur when a car is not used for an extended period of time. Also, if a car has low km and is used exclusively for short trips, stop-start driving, mechanically takes more of a toll. As well in many cases, the car may have been subjected to more, ‘shopping damage’, urban driving bumps and bruises and possible wheel damage and steering/suspension wear/impact damage. So, again, you also need to be cautious of anyone trying to sell you an older vehicle with low mileage.


Used Vehicle Age 

A vehicle’s mileage can provide a lot of information about the vehicle’s overall condition, but it should not be the sole deciding factor when deciding whether or not to purchase the vehicle.

An older vehicle is subject to a variety of wear and tear issues. In addition to being somewhat more dented than a newer vehicle, an older vehicle is also more susceptible to wear and tear caused by time and exposure to the elements. When a vehicle is used, chemical wear, corrosion, oil/coolant leaks and dust and mould buildup can all negatively impact its performance.

Older cars come with certain sacrifices, including safety enhancements that are only available in newer models, as well as more sophisticated cruise control technology. A car of the same model that is newer may also have better fuel economy than its predecessors. Also, take note of insurance comparisons – in some cases an older vehicle may be more expensive to insure, or vice-versa.

Finally, one of the most important factors affecting the value of a vehicle is its age. Cars depreciate rapidly. In fact, a new car loses considerable value the minute it leaves the showroom. A one-year-old vehicle, for example, may lose as much as 20 to 30% of its original value after just one year. A five-year-old vehicle, on the other hand, may be as much as 60% less than what it was originally sold for.


What Is The Maximum Mileage For A Used Vehicle?

The average mileage per year is about 15000 kilometres. To find out how much mileage an old vehicle has, multiply its age by 15000 and compare the result to the mileage reading on the odometer.

There is another method of estimating the vehicle’s mileage. Divide the car’s odometer reading by its age to determine the mileage. If the reading is greater than 15000, the car is probably a high-mileage vehicle.

Should you be careful about the mileage limit? Some car enthusiasts think that a vehicle shouldn’t go more than 150,000-200,000 km. However, it is worth noting that the manufacturing and safety technologies in today’s vehicles allow them to go much farther than their predecessors before reaching their limits. Years ago, cars experienced a lot of wear and tear after just one year on the road. Today, a one-year-old car could compare to a fresh vehicle in almost every aspect, thanks to the production of less expensive and longer-lasting car components. 

Also, post-COVID, and with car availability reduced for some time, the average km on cars has increased, along with more high km vehicles hitting the market. Whereas a few years ago, a car with over 200,000km would be a difficult sell and need to be relegated to trade-in or auction, currently it is more common to see these cars selling with 200,000 – 300,000km on them, especially if it is a reputed brand, known for quality and longevity.


What Is The Most Suitable Age For A Used Vehicle?

When buying a vehicle, it’s best to stick with one that is between one and five years old and has an average mileage of 15,000 km. Cars can lose up to 60% of their value in the first four or five years. After the fourth or fifth year, the vehicle will probably lose its warranty, which means that you may have to pay extra for repairs and upkeep.

It’s true that buying an old car can mean getting a better deal thanks to depreciation, but don’t get something too old either. A car’s value continues to drop as it ages, making it harder to sell in the future and a bigger liability than an asset. At some point, the value hits the bottom of the curve, and to a certain extent, km no longer has much influence as the car will have some basic value, irrespective of age or km.


So, Which One is More Important Mileage or Age? 

There is no simple answer to this question. In buying a used vehicle, you don’t just consider mileage or age. You should inspect the vehicle’s overall condition, the amount of use, and the history of repairs and maintenance.

It is important to find out how and where the vehicle was used – different terrains, climates, and usage frequencies all affect vehicles in different ways. 

It’s also important to make sure the vehicle has undergone thorough and consistent maintenance. Ask sellers and dealers for the vehicle’s maintenance history and service receipts, or better yet, have a mechanic perform a full, independent inspection of the vehicle to check for undisclosed damages and problems.

In the end, neither age nor mileage is the deciding factor when buying a used car, but both are important indicators of the vehicle’s condition.

If you are looking for a professional pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

Pre Purchase Car Inspector Melbourne

Klaus Sturm

Klaus is a highly experienced automotive professional with 35+ years in the industry, offering Pre-purchase Car Inspection and Vehicle Check services in Melbourne, Victoria. His expertise ranges from technician to service manager, earning him a reputation for exceptional customer service.