How Much Does Mileage Affect Used Car Value? A Quick Guide for Buyers and Sellers

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Buying a used car can be daunting, with many factors to consider. One significant element that may impact your decision is the mileage on the vehicle, as it can significantly influence the car’s value.

Understanding how mileage plays a role in determining the worth of a used car can help you make an informed choice and negotiate a fair price.

The general rule of thumb for a used vehicle is to expect around 12,000 miles added each year of ownership.

However, it’s also crucial to look beyond the mileage and consider other factors, such as maintenance history and any previous accidents or damage the car may have experienced.

This way, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the car’s overall condition and its potential long-term value.

How much does mileage affect used car value?

Key Takeaways

How Age Affects a Car’s Value

Let’s explore the relationship between a car’s age and its worth in a friendly, informative manner.

Depreciate quickly

Firstly, you should know that cars depreciate quickly. On average, a new car loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the dealership lot.

It means that older cars generally have a lower value compared to newer models. However, age is not the only factor determining a used car’s value.

Numerous other factors, like mileage, vehicle condition, and maintenance history, also play significant roles.

Wear and tear

Cars usually accumulate more wear and tear on their parts as they age. Consequently, they may require more repairs and maintenance than their newer counterparts. These additional costs can negatively impact a used car’s value.

Conversely, buying an older car with a good maintenance history could save you considerable money in the long run.

The average age of a car on U.S. roads reached 12.2 years in 2021, indicating that many drivers find value in owning older vehicles.

When evaluating a used car, it’s crucial to consider its age in conjunction with these other factors. An older vehicle with low mileage and meticulous maintenance history is as valuable as a newer car with high mileage and a history of neglect.

How Much Does Mileage Affect Used Car Value?

When buying a used car, you might wonder how much mileage affects its value.

For the first 3,000 miles, cars usually drop about $5,000-$10,000, averaging around $1.50 to $3 per mile. After that, the price drop is lower, going from about $0.25 to $0.50 per mile.

Remember that experts agree the standard rule of thumb on mileage for a used vehicle is roughly 12,000 miles added each year of ownership.

So, when you’re looking at a 5-year-old vehicle, it should have about 60,000 miles on it.

What Mileage Is Not Worth Buying?

When considering a used car, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of the vehicle’s mileage. Generally, cars with over 70,000 miles may require expensive maintenance, making them less attractive for purchase.

However, other factors, such as the car’s make, model, and maintenance history, also play a significant role. Be cautious with vehicles with high mileage but incomplete or suspicious service records.

Remember, when searching for your ideal used car, it’s crucial to strike a balance between mileage, price, and the car’s overall condition. Keep a sharp eye on all these aspects to make a well-informed decision.

Maintenance and Its Impact

Regular maintenance is crucial in preserving your car’s value. Staying on top of wear and tear ensures that the vehicle looks good and performs well.

Remember to schedule routine services for its mechanical systems, such as oil changes, tire rotations, and brake inspections, and addressing cosmetic issues will help to sustain its value.

Addressing scratches or dents promptly and keeping the interior clean can significantly affect your car’s resale value.

So, ensure you give your car the proper attention it deserves to maintain its value despite accumulating mileage.

Damage and Accidents’ Role

Assessing the impact of damage and accidents on its value is essential. Vehicle history plays a crucial role in determining a car’s worth.

Cars with severe damage in their past may lose up to $2,100 in value. In general, an accident or injury can average, decrease a car’s value by about $500.

So, always review the vehicle’s history and appreciate the importance of proper maintenance to preserve your car’s value.

Deprecation Over Time

Car depreciation is the drop in your vehicle’s value over time due to factors like age and mileage.

A car can lose up to 20% or more of its original value within the first year, and by the end of its fifth year, it could have lost up to 60% of its value.

Driving 100,000 miles affects the lifespan of your vehicle and can play a role in depreciation. To limit depreciation, try to limit your mileage and keep up with maintenance.

According to CarFax, decreasing your annual mileage to 7,500 miles can reduce depreciation by thousands.

Dealing with Car Dealers

When  trading in a car  or selling it to a dealer, it’s crucial to understand how much mileage affects its value. Remember that market, mileage, overall condition, and model popularity impact your vehicle’s worth.

Consider options like Carvana to compare prices or explore third-party apps and websites to maximize your car’s value. Remember, a friendly attitude and doing your research can go a long way in getting a better deal for your used car.

Impact of Condition on Car Value

Your car’s condition has a significant impact on its value. Wear and tear, like scratches and dents, can lower the value. Maintain your car’s interior and address any mechanical issues.

Remember, a well-maintained car fetches a better price in the used car market. So, you must take care of your vehicle’s condition to maintain its value.

How to Determine Car Value

To find your car’s value, check its market value and refer to resources like Kelley Blue Book. You must provide your car’s year, make, model, and timeline.

Then consider factors like mileagecondition, and vehicle history as they significantly impact a used car’s value.

Remember, a well-maintained car with lower mileage will generally fetch a higher price and employ reports from reputable platforms such as NADA used car values and CarFax reports.

So, treat your car well, keep up with scheduled maintenance, and carefully monitor its overall condition to help maintain its value.

Factors Influencing Car Value

Firstly, mileage is vital, as the average car gains about 12,000 miles yearly. Comparing the car’s mileage to this benchmark can give you an idea of its usage.

Age and depreciation also come into play; as a car age, its value decreases. However, maintenance and the vehicle’s condition can significantly impact the value.

Well-maintained cars are usually worth more, so pay attention to documented service records. Additionally, a car’s location can affect its value due to regional demand.

Finally, the vehicle’s color and additional options can increase or decrease the price. Remember that cars with past accidents or damage might have a lower value.

Special Case: SUVs

Friendly reminder: mileage still plays a role in determining the value when considering SUVs. But, due to their higher durability and off-road capabilities, they might be more tolerant of higher mileage.

So, as you assess a used SUV, remember that mileage is just one of many factors to consider. Happy SUV shopping!

Special Case: Electric Cars

Electric cars are a unique case when considering car value and mileage. Unlike conventional cars, mileage matters less for electric vehicles (EVs). Instead, factors like battery health, range, and charging speed have more influence.

When owning an EV, it’s crucial to understand its specific battery life. For example, an average EV may provide around 200,000 miles, while Tesla models boast ratings of 300,000-500,000 miles. Always consider these factors when evaluating used EV value.

Understanding Vehicle History Reports

Vehicle History Report is crucial in determining a used car’s value. It offers vital information about the car’s past that can affect your purchasing decision.

Key factors reflected in these reports include the vehicle’s service, accident, and ownership histories, as well as any previous damage it may have incurred.

To access a comprehensive report, consider using a reliable source like By familiarizing yourself with the car’s history, you’ll be better equipped to assess its value and make an informed decision.

Finance and Car Values

When considering your car’s value, mileage plays a significant role. A general rule is that the car loses about $5,000-$10,000 in the first 3,000 miles, averaging $1.50 to $3 per mile.

Afterward, the price drops from $0.25 to $0.50 per mile. Your car’s trade-in value also gets affected by the mileage.

To determine your car’s current value:

  1. Enter your car details, mileage, and condition in a Car Value Estimator and check the finances.
  2. Remember, a well-maintained car can attract a higher trade-in value.
  3. So, ensure your vehicle is in top shape.

Department of Transport Role

The Department of Transport ensures road safety and regulates vehicle usage. As a used car buyer, you should know their influence on mileage-related regulations that impact a car’s value.

Maintaining strict guidelines and standards helps protect your investment in a used vehicle. So, remember to check for any relevant department policies, as they may affect the car’s value and your overall experience as a car owner.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does mileage impact the resale value of a used vehicle?

Mileage is a critical factor in determining a used car’s value. Generally, as mileage increases, the value decreases. This is because higher mileage often indicates more wear and tear on the vehicle, which may lead to potential issues or costly repairs in the future.

However, some vehicles are known for their reliability and might hold their value better than others, even with higher mileage. The Fair Market Range provided by Kelley Blue Book can help estimate what to expect when shopping for a used car.

What role does a car’s age play in its depreciation?

A car’s age is another crucial consideration when valuing a used vehicle. Newer cars generally depreciate at a faster rate than older ones. If a vehicle is well-maintained and has a lower mileage than expected for its age, it may hold its value better. So, while age is a factor, considering the car’s condition and mileage is also crucial.

How much value does a car lose for every 1,000 miles driven?

The depreciation value per 1,000 miles can vary depending on the vehicle’s make, model, and age. However, experts generally suggest that a used car should have roughly 12,000 miles added per year of ownership. So, you can compare the car’s current mileage to this guideline to understand the potential loss in value.

Does high mileage matter when purchasing a pre-owned car?

High mileage can be a concern when buying a pre-owned vehicle, primarily because it suggests increased wear, future repairs, and possible reduced lifespan. However, if you are flexible with the car’s age and prioritize maintenance history and a thorough inspection, you might find a high-mileage vehicle with plenty of life.

At what point does a vehicle’s mileage cause it to lose value?

There isn’t an exact mileage number that definitively causes a vehicle to lose value. Factors such as the vehicle’s age, make, model and maintenance history will all affect how much weight is lost at different mileage levels. However, a good rule of thumb is to compare the car’s mileage with the 12,000 miles-per-year standard mentioned earlier.

What is the average mileage of a 2-year-old used car?

Based on the standard mileage guideline of 12,000 miles per year, the average mileage for a 2-year-old used car would be around 24,000 miles. However, this figure can vary depending on the driver’s habits and the type of vehicle.


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