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What is considered a high mileage car?

What is a good mileage on a used car?

It’s important to take mileage (the number of miles that a vehicle has travelled) into account when searching for a used car. The number of miles on the clock will invariably affect the car’s valuation.

In this article, we’ll cover why mileage matters for second-hand cars, how to work out whether a car has a low, normal or high mileage for its age – and some of the other factors alongside mileage that can affect second-hand value.

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Does car mileage matter?

Mileage is used as an indication of a vehicle’s wear and tear — and therefore, a car’s mileage affects its value. It’s fair to assume that a high-mileage vehicle has been put through more during its time on the road than a vehicle with a lower mileage, meaning it could be less reliable. Likewise, vehicles with a lower mileage have likely completed fewer or much shorter journeys.

It’s important to fully understand mileage if you’re going to use it to inform your choice of used car. As a rule of thumb, you can divide a vehicle’s quoted mileage by the number of years that it has been on the road to identify whether it is a low, normal or high-mileage vehicle.

What is the average mileage of a car?

In 2019, the average driver’s annual mileage was estimated at 7,500. Therefore, this figure can be used as the benchmark for ‘normal’ mileage when working out whether a used vehicle’s mileage is in the low, normal or high range.

What is considered a low car mileage?

If dividing the quoted mileage of a car by the number of years on the road gives you a figure below 7,500, this can be considered a low mileage. This means the car has covered less distance than most cars of the same age.

What is considered a high car mileage?

A car that has travelled more than 7,500 miles per year on average can be considered a high-mileage vehicle. Such a vehicle is likely to have suffered more wear and tear as a result of how far it has travelled during its lifespan.

How many miles does a car last?

A conventional, but well-maintained car can last for 200,000 miles – and some models may even last for 300,000 miles and beyond.

It’s a common misconception that you should avoid vehicles with a mileage in excess of 100,000. Many believe this is the point at which a car is at high risk of breakdowns and may become very expensive to repair. However, a car can certainly run well beyond the 100,000-mile mark, if it’s maintained correctly.

In simple terms, how well a vehicle is cared for can have a greater influence on how long it lasts than the number of miles on the clock.

Choosing a make and model with a reputation for reliability and longevity, staying on top of the servicing and maintenance schedule, driving safely and carefully – and avoiding serious collisions can all help to prolong the lifespan of your vehicle.

How does the type of mileage affect value?

A car’s value isn’t just affected by its mileage; how and where it has been driven will also come into play. Cars that have been used mainly for city driving will likely carry more wear and tear in certain areas than vehicles that have been used mainly for motorway driving. Similarly, vehicles that have been mostly used in rural, countryside settings will have experienced different wear and tear.

This is due to factors such as the differing amounts of time spent in each gear, differences in road quality and varying journey distances. Therefore, two vehicles of the same age and with the same mileage could be valued very differently.

Car mileage vs. age

As we’ve mentioned, it’s estimated that the average driver travels 7,500 miles in their car each year, meaning this is now considered the benchmark for ‘normal’ mileage. If a vehicle that you are looking to buy is in the higher mileage range, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the car is no good – it’s just worth taking a deeper look at the vehicle’s history before buying a high-mileage car.

If you would like to learn more about the history of any UK-registered vehicle, simply run the registration number through our free car check tool.

Other factors that affect a car’s value

Mileage isn’t the only factor that could affect the value of your car. Your vehicle’s resale value can be affected by many other factors, such as the state of the tyres, paintwork, brakes – and the vehicle’s overall condition.

How recently consumables such as the brakes have been replaced can also affect your vehicle’s value. If you’re looking to sell your car, check out our guide on 10 ways to increase the resale value of your car.


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What Is Considered High Mileage For A Used Car?

Find out how to determine what is considered high mileage for a car, why it’s important, and the steps you can take to avoid buying a vehicle that isn’t reliable.

  • By Magnus Sellén
  • Updated: January 7, 2023

High Mileage Car

Not all high-mileage cars are covered in rust and feature loud exhausts that are falling apart. With today’s technology, it’s normal to see high-mileage vehicles that are still in good shape and run well. At what point is a car considered high mileage?

In this guide, we evaluate the point at which a car is considered to have high mileage. We also look at the average lifespan for a car, show you problems it could have and help you take care of the vehicle for a longer service life.

Table Of Contents show

At What Point is a Car Considered High Mileage?

Nowadays, cars with more than 130,000 miles can be considered high mileage cars. It can also be used to define any vehicle that accumulated more than 15,000 miles per year. However, what is considered high mileage can also depend on the quality of the car model.

Older cars were often considered as high mileage over 80,000 miles. However, modern cars can last a lot longer than they once did. With proper care, you could easily get 200,000 miles or more out of the vehicle.

How Many Miles Does a Car Last?

It wasn’t that long ago when a car was expected to die any time after 100,000 miles. However, new tech advancements with the industry have caused many vehicles to last longer.

If a vehicle is well taken care of, it can easily hit the 200,000-mile mark. However, this figure is just an average. The actual time that your vehicle will last is dependent on what make and model it is, along with how you are taking care of it.

Should I Buy a Car with High Mileage?

There’s no clear-cut answer to this question. If the car is in good shape and is newer, the high mileage might not be a big deal. Newer models have better technology and features that keep them running longer.

You might be tempted to buy a low-mileage car with less wear and tear, but this isn’t always a good option either. If the car sat around a lot, there could be other issues with it. Plus, you are going to pay a premium price for it.

On the other hand, the high-mileage car shows that it’s been running. If it is a newer model, the miles are likely from the highway, which offers less wear to the overall components.

The bottom line is that you can’t judge a car strictly by the mileage alone. You have to look at the whole picture to determine what shape it’s in.

Problems that Occur with High-Mileage Cars

1. Transmission Failure

If the transmission hasn’t been taken care of, it could fail at any time. The trouble with a failed transmission is that it can cost a lot of money to repair or replace.

Once a transmission gets past 100,000 miles, it’s more likely to fail. Yet, you can keep it going with some preventative maintenance.

2. Contaminated Oil

If the engine oil is regularly changed, the engine will be in its best shape. If it hasn’t been cared for, this contaminated oil can cake up in the engine, causing it to fail prematurely.

Thankfully, you can easily check the condition of the oil. On top of that, you should switch your vehicle over to a high-mileage oil to help clean up the engine from sludge.

3. Dead Battery

The average car battery should last four to five years. If your car has high mileage, it probably already had a replacement battery or two.

However, you want to check the condition of the battery before it dies on you. With a quick check, you can have the battery replaced before it leaves you stranded.

4. Worn Brakes

The mileage of a car won’t adequately determine if the vehicle needs new brakes. Instead, the brake wear relies solely on how the vehicle has been driven and the previous maintenance that has occurred.

If the brakes are squeaking or grinding when you step on the pedal or it’s taken longer to stop, it’s time to have the brakes replaced. There could also be more costly issues with the brake hardware if the system wasn’t taken care of.

5. Old Tires

Tires are another part of the vehicle that wear out from excessive use. It also depends on what type of tire is being used, as you can get cheap tires or high-end, reliable brands.

If you need to put new tires on the car, that could easily add $400 or more, depending on what size they are. There’s the option to purchase used tires, but this avenue doesn’t often save you a whole lot of money.

6. Fuel System Failure

There are many components working together to create a reliable fuel system, but after 100,000 miles, many of these parts can fail. If the car was regularly driven with a near-empty tank, the fuel pump could fail.

Additionally, you want to check the fuel filter to see if it’s in good shape, indicating that the car was taken care of. Otherwise, you could face costly repairs to keep the fuel system running.

7. Defective Water Pump

In general, the water pump can fail around 90,000 miles. If the water pump starts to malfunction, it’s going to leak coolant.

Without the right amount of coolant, the engine can overheat, leading to serious damage. That’s why the water pump should be changed at the first sign of failure.

8. Worn Timing

Timing belts and chains won’t always provide a warning before they break. However, if the chain or belt breaks, it can cause serious damage to the engine.

That’s why it’s important to follow the recommended maintenance schedule for replacement. On some vehicles, this is right around 100,000 miles, so you want to change it if it hasn’t been done already.

Steps to Keep Your High-Mileage Car on the Road Longer

1. Fix Issues Immediately

If there’s something wrong with your vehicle, have it fixed right away. The only way to ensure it remains in good working condition is to keep up-to-date with whatever is wrong.

If you hear a strange sound, smell something odd or notice poor handling, get it looked at. Additionally, it’s important to use high-quality parts for the repairs. With regular service, you ensure it stays on the road.

2. Follow the Recommended Maintenance Schedule

Your car comes with a recommended maintenance schedule from the automaker. If you follow these guidelines, you are going to keep it in its best condition.

Follow all of the guidelines for oil changes, tire rotations and fluid maintenance. By ignoring these recommendations, you leave the car open for mechanical failure.

3. Drive Easy

Pay attention to how you drive. If you take it easy and use caution, your vehicle is going to last longer.

Avoid riding the brakes and don’t take turns too fast. You should also avoid driving down rough roads if you want the suspension to last.


How many miles on a car is too high to buy?

Generally speaking, buying a car with more than 200,000 miles on it may not be the best idea. Cars tend to start having major problems around this time and can often be quite expensive to repair. However, there really is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on a number of factors, such as the make and model of the car, its maintenance history, and how well it has been cared for.

How many miles can an engine last?

Many factors can affect engine longevity. However, with proper maintenance and care, most engines should be able to last for at least 200,000 miles. Of course, some engines may last much longer than this, while others may not make it quite as far. Ultimately, it all depends on how well the engine is cared for and maintained over the years.

What is the most reliable high-mileage car?

Generally, Asian cars like Toyota, Honda, Subaru, and Lexus are considered good high-mileage cars to buy and tend to rank high in terms of reliability. However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the most reliable high-mileage car for you may not be the best choice for someone else.

Is 300 000 miles a lot on a car?

Yes, 300,000 miles is a lot on a car considering the average lifespan of a car is about 200,000 miles. You should definitely think twice if you think of buying a car with 300,000 miles on the odometer.

High Mileage Oil: A Practical Guide

Engine Oil

Not sure if you need a high mileage oil in your vehicle? You aren’t alone. If you searched the internet for “high mileage oil,” you would find more than 66 million results. You likely would see advertisements, price options, a few dozen brands to choose from and thousands of forum posts.

The problem is that there would be very little information on what makes oil “high mileage,” when it should be used or even what the differences are in the various brands and options. The goal of this article is to answer as many questions about high mileage oil as possible.

When to Use High Mileage Oil

High mileage oils contain additives and seal enhancers that reduce leaks (both internal and external). It’s possible that after an oil change or two, the leaking could stop. This has the potential to reduce oil spots in your driveway and on burning oil in older engines.

How do they work? High mileage oils contain seal conditioners and additives that cause o-rings, gaskets and seals to swell. In some cases, older valve-guide seals in engines may have reduced seepage. This can result in lower oil consumption. Many high mileage motor oils include detergents and claim they are are designed to remove sludge from engines.

Most high mileage oils are formulated to benefit vehicles with 75,000 miles or more. When to switch is ultimately your decision to make, but you should educate yourself to make the best determination. If you are experiencing blowby, loss of power, cylinder slap, strange noises, etc., you likely are having mechanical failures that should be addressed. These types of issues are not something a high mileage oil will fix.

On the other hand, if you have a high mileage vehicle that has been well maintained and are attempting to mitigate more engine wear with realistic expectations, a high mileage engine oil might be the right choice for you. Just don’t think that a high mileage oil will be a “silver bullet” for mechanical wear in your engine.

High-Mileage Oil Pouring

What Is Considered High Mileage?

There are no definitive guidelines on what should be considered high mileage. With the technology available today, standard road vehicles can last up to 300,000 miles or even 400,000 miles.

It is commonly understood that highway miles are less taxing on an engine than city miles, and research seems to support this. Highway miles have fewer starts and stops. The engine can also reach a steady temperature and operate at peak efficiency for a long period of time.

City driving is just the opposite. So, an engine with 80,000 miles may have as much wear as an engine with 150,000 miles. It all depends on how the vehicle has been driven and maintained.

Some people might consider switching to a high mileage oil at 200,000 miles, while others may want to change to a high mileage oil at 80,000 miles. For the average driver, anything over 100,000 miles could safely be considered a high mileage vehicle.

High Mileage Oil Types

Differences in High Mileage Oils

Since most additive packages appear to be quite similar, it can be difficult to distinguish any real differences between many engine oils. Even with high mileage oils, the additives don’t seem to vary much at all.

The concentration of additives most likely is the primary distinction. Motor oil formulations are treated as trade secrets, so obtaining specific additive amounts and quantities can be nearly impossible. Safety data sheets typically only identify a range of additive percentages, and all the additives may not even be included if they are inert.

When it comes to the difference between high mileage and “normal” engine oils, marketing plays a big factor, as certain additives on the market come with all sorts of claims. Most of these additives are intended to minimize the asperities on metal surfaces by filling those microscopic valleys and creating smoother mechanical surfaces.

Several studies have shown promise with this approach, but more research is still needed to determine the best way to stabilize these nanoparticles in oil suspensions.

Oil Change

How Often Should Oil in High Mileage Engines Be Changed?

While this appears to be a straightforward question, more than one answer may apply. Depending on what you read or whom you listen to, you might receive conflicting advice.

One side of the debate asserts that more frequent oil changes will be needed as an engine’s mileage increases, since the tolerances will not be as tight, allowing blowby and soot ingression.

The other side contends that you should be able to extend your engine oil changes because any break-in wear will have already occurred and you won’t need to worry about voiding your warranty. To say that either side is right or wrong would be a fallacy.

An engine that has been well cared for, with all the scheduled maintenance performed, should be able to support longer intervals between oil changes. As an engine is broken in, the sharp little edges and rough surfaces become polished down, enabling the surfaces to mate better and lessening the chances of metal-to-metal contact (assuming full-fluid separation at the operating temperature).

A caveat to this would be when there is wear in the cylinders and on the rings, which may allow blowby. If you know what you are looking for, a comprehensive oil analysis test slate may not be necessary. A simple blotter spot test may be enough to determine if you have fuel dilution or coolant in your motor oil.

To help you decide if your high mileage oil change intervals can be longer, consider the following advice:

  • If your engine burns oil or you must add oil to it at regular intervals, you should not try to extend your oil change.
  • If you have performed a compression test on your engine and found that you are losing pressure, you should avoid extended oil change intervals.
  • If you are not using a quality filter, you should not extend your oil change. Reconsider the filter you are using, as it will have the greatest impact on engine life. The better the oil is filtered, the longer the engine and oil will last.

Using Synthetic Oil in High Mileage Engines

If switching from a conventional mineral oil to a synthetic oil, you may have issues with leakage depending on the synthetic used and the types of seals in the engine. This could be caused by seal incompatibility or residue buildup being cleaned out of areas where it was previously sealing a leak. Synthetic oils have advanced over the years, and motor oil manufacturers are taking this into consideration, so this issue is becoming less of a problem.

Should High Mileage Oil be Used in New Vehicles

To create a global standard for engine oils, a joint effort was made by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) and the American Automobile Manufacturers Association (AAMA), which consisted of representation from DaimlerChrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co. and General Motors.

The International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC), partnering with the API, ASTM and SAE, developed the Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System. Now, when you look at a bottle of motor oil and see that starburst symbol or the API service symbol (the donut), you know that bottle of oil has been formulated, tested and approved by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

As fuel-economy standards change and new technologies and engine metallurgy are introduced, the classifications for engine oils must also change. With this in mind, it is important to read the labels on the oils you buy for your vehicles.

The latest API service classification standard for gasoline engines is SN or SN Plus. For four-stroke road vehicles running on diesel engine oil, the most current category is CK-4. For low-sulfur diesel engines manufactured in 2017 or later, you may need an engine oil classified as FA-4. This classification indicates that these oils have been specifically formulated to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

These new motor oil classifications are backward compatible, so using a newer category oil on an older vehicle should not create any issues. Yet, what can cause problems is operating a newer vehicle with an older service category engine oil.

It is always best to check your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your vehicle. Using a high-mileage oil in a new vehicle would be ill-advised, since no manufacturer recommends this type of oil for a new vehicle.

Would it harm your engine? Most likely not, but it would be better to adhere to what is specified in the owner’s manual, at least until the warranty has expired.

Differences Between High Mileage Oil Brands

With the exact formulations inaccessible, it can be helpful to examine the oil manufacturers’ safety data sheets for high mileage oils. The information assembled below is based on data obtained from the SDS for 10W-30 oil from nine of the most popular engine oil manufacturers.


Base Oil

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