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How many miles before a car has no problems?

How Many Miles Can a Car Last? 4 Tips for Longevity

Whether you’re used car shopping or hitting six digits on your odometer, mileage may start to feel more like a countdown to the end of a vehicle’s lifespan.

However, in some cases, you may be worrying over nothing.

So how many miles can a car last anyway?

Cars are improving every single year. In addition to new high-tech gadgets and better safety features, newer cars are coming with a higher life expectancy than ever before.

For rideshare and delivery drivers, this means a one-time investment may be able to help you earn even more.

This article will give you more insight into how many miles a car can last and how to maximize your vehicle’s life expectancy.

We’ll also recommend a few car models that are proven to last hundreds of thousands of miles with proper care.

Table Of Contents

  • How Many Miles Can a Car Last?
  • 4 Tips to Help Your Car Last Longer
  • 7 Best High-Mileage Cars
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Maximize Your Miles

How Many Miles Can a Car Last?

Not every car model is built to withstand the same mileage.

Just looking back a decade ago, many car owners were already bracing for the 100,000 mile mark and on the lookout for major issues to come.

However, the average passenger car now has the potential to last for at least 200,000 miles or nearly 12 years.

Of course, many drivers go well beyond the average while still actively using their vehicles, leading to thousands of dollars saved in the long run.

In the end, your mileage is only a fraction of what affects your car’s ability to run.

Regular maintenance is key to a long-lasting vehicle

4 Tips to Help Your Car Last Longer

So what exactly does it mean to take care of your car?

In order for your vehicle to go beyond the 200,000-mile average, you must be proactive about your car’s needs as soon as you take it home from the dealership.

Here are four tips to help you with your car care:

1. Follow a Car Maintenance Schedule

Every car owner should be following a set car maintenance schedule, so you’re always preventing issues instead of spending hundreds of dollars to fix them.

This schedule should include:

  • Getting an oil change every 3,000 miles
  • Cleaning car battery terminals every 6,000 miles
  • Getting tires rotated every 6,000 miles
  • Keeping your vehicle clean inside and out every two weeks, or when needed

Car maintenance should also involve regular inspections, so you can catch any present issues before they truly damage your engine or other parts of your vehicle.

You can check your fluid levels — including your coolant, transmission fluid, and engine oil levels — as well as your tire pressure and lights straight from home.

For more complex inspections, like brake system and wheel alignment checkups, you can simply head to a professional once per year.

You can use our suggested car maintenance schedule, specifically tailored for rideshare and delivery drivers, as your complete guide.

2. Diagnose and Fix Issues Quickly

Of course, your car maintenance schedule is a method of prevention and not a guarantee that issues won’t occur.

While your vehicle is built to last for many miles, specific car parts like your car battery will naturally die out in half the time.

The best way to ensure that these issues don’t affect the rest of your vehicle is to pay attention to how your car drives and head to the repair shop as soon as you notice an issue.

Some common signs of car problems to look out for include constantly decreasing fluid levels and strange noises like rattling or squeaking.

You also definitely don’t want to let your check engine light sit for long.

3. Invest in Quality Parts

When you do need to replace parts of your car, it pays to invest in high-quality parts, including better tires and longer-lasting batteries.

This will ensure that fewer replacements are needed over time.

You also want to make sure you’re always using manufacturer-recommended parts, instead of using alternatives just to save.

Using regular fuel instead of premium on some car models, or using the wrong type of engine oil, can even damage a new car or low-mileage vehicle quickly.

Always consult your owner’s manual or an expert for the best parts to use for your car.

4. Drive Safely

When you’re a rideshare or delivery driver, you’re already practicing severe driving, which involves driving in stop-and-go traffic and frequent idling.

Since your the nature of your gig doesn’t always allow you to drive gently, you don’t want to add more strain to your vehicle.

Keeping up with safe driving habits is the best way to keep your vehicle healthy for as long as possible.

Start accelerating and braking gently, and only make gradual turns — rideshare passengers will thank you for it, too.

When you’re not waiting for passengers to arrive, or when you’re off the clock, avoid leaving your car running when you’re just sitting in your vehicle.

As always, you should be practicing defensive driving to avoid dangerous, costly accidents caused by weather, other drivers, pedestrians, or you.

7 Best High-Mileage Cars

While mileage isn’t the sole factor that affects a car’s condition, you still want to seek a vehicle that will be well worth the investment, whether you’re on the hunt for a used or new vehicle.

Here are a few of the best high-mileage cars that are likely to get you beyond 200,000 miles with proper maintenance:

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Ford F-150
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Toyota Corolla
  5. Honda Accord
  6. Chevy Equinox
  7. Subaru Legacy

If you’re seeking a vehicle for your ridesharing gig, you can compare these vehicles to what’s recommended in our guide about the best cars for Uber.

Frequently Asked Questions

There’s no one answer to our initial question — “How many miles can a car last?” — but there are definite tactics you can use to extend your car’s lifespan.

To learn more about keeping your low-mileage and high-mileage vehicle alive, read our answers to these common questions:

What are some signs of poor car maintenance that I should look out for when used car shopping?

If you notice any signs of rust or corrosion throughout a vehicle while used car shopping, this can be a sign of poor maintenance and buildup overtime.

Even if it’s not presently causing any major issues, it could quickly lead to some.

You should also look out for paint overspray, which can indicate that repairs were needed.

Asking your dealership for a vehicle history report can also give you better insight into a car’s condition.

Is there a maximum mileage that I should look out for when shopping for a used car?

Many car shoppers avoid buying cars that have 100,000 miles or more, so they can keep driving their vehicles for as long as possible.

However, as we’ve highlighted in this article, mileage isn’t always a major factor if you see clear signs of regular maintenance, like an engine that’s still like new after many years.

Plus, our recommended high-mileage car models frequently last for double (sometimes triple) the amount of time that an average car lasts, so they can be safer bets if you don’t have the budget for a newer car.

At what point should I be seeking a new car?

If your car is getting to the point where repairs are nearing the cost of a new purchase, or repairs are no longer keeping your car issue-free for long, it may be time to go car shopping.

Most car owners are keeping their vehicles for an average of six years — though you can definitely keep it for longer when you stick with a schedule — so don’t feel like you’re stuck with your car until it’s completely useless.

Maximize Your Miles

While high mileage can be a sign of an aging car, which naturally comes with some repair needs, it doesn’t mean your vehicle is nearing the end of its lifespan.

Vehicles today are built to withstand plenty of years and miles, even under the severe driving conditions that you’ll be putting on it as a rideshare or delivery driver.

Your commitment to regular car maintenance can make all the difference for the final value of your investment.

Written by Brett Helling

Brett Helling is the owner of He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.

Third Coast Auto Group Official Blog

The miles on the odometer won’t tell the whole story

A stock photo of a person using a checklist to inspect a vehicle.

By Product Expert | Posted in Safety, Tips and Tricks on Wednesday, February 24th, 2021 at 1:44 pm

How many miles is too many for a car to have?

The lifespan of a car, truck or SUV is measured with an opaque formula involving years and miles. To be sure the number of years a vehicle has be en on the road is important, but that isn’t much of a measuring stick without the context of how many miles are driven. Making things more difficult, the reverse of that statement is also true. So, the an swer to the question, how many miles is too many for a car to have, doesn’t really have a magic number. A vehicle could have 200,000-plus miles on the odometer and be in better shape than a comparable model that is only a few years old with fewer recorded miles. The difference really comes down to, how was the vehicle cared for. Let’s take a look at a few things you should know.

How do I know if a vehicle has been properly cared for?

The easiest way to tell if a vehicle has been well-cared for is to see maintenance records. However, that isn’t always possible and that doesn’t mean the vehicle isn’t one worth buying. There are few things you can do to make sure you avoid getting stuck with a lemon. If you can have someone with some real automotive knowledge look over the vehicle before you buy it, that would be ideal. Although, if that isn’t possible, you can perform your own inspection and still feel confident.

Inspection Time — They say, ‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant.’ The same is true for inspecting a used car. Going to look at it on a bright and sunny day will make it difficult to hide problems like paint defects or mismatched body panels.

Go For Test Drive — If you’ve been driving for any length of time, you will have developed an instinct for what does and doesn’t sound or feel right. Make sure to listen to the engine for knocking, scraping or grinding sounds. And, if you can get it on the highway, listen closely to the transmission work through the gears, any sign of hesitation or hard shifting should be a sign for you to walk away.

Pass the Smell Test — There are a lot of flood-damaged cars out there being sold by unscrupulous people. It can be almost impossible to completely get rid of flood damage. Look under floor mats, and most importantly, sniff around for the tell-tale musty order. A car that smells like an old basement should not be one you buy.

Make an appointment with a Third Coast Auto Group product expert today if you are in the market for a safe and reliable used car, truck or SUV.

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