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Does mileage really matter on a car?

Looking for a new car or van? Mileage is probably one of the first things that prospective buyers look for. But according to motor trade experts it isn’t just a question of searching out the lowest mileage. Several other factors come into play, history and current condition amongst them, and it can actually make more sense in some circumstances to buy a newer vehicle with more mileage than an older one with fewer miles on the clock.

Unsurprisingly, lower mileage often means fewer issues to do with wear and tear. An auto with higher mileage could start to run into problems with various components, such as the transmission, gearbox or wheel bearings. But it’s worth taking a closer look at the service history here. Key components, such as the cam belt or clutch, may have been recently replaced. On the flipside, poor maintenance, even where the mileage is low, can foreshadow significant problems.

The type of driving will also have some impact. City traffic can mean more problems with the gearbox than motorway driving, for example. In fact motorway driving means far less stress on components such as the clutch and brakes, even if the mileage is high.

If the prospective buyer is considering selling again in a few years though, that high mileage – which will only increase – can significantly affect resale value. This can be a good thing for buyers willing to take a risk – higher mileage autos are likely to be a good bit cheaper in comparison.

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Bear in mind also that it isn’t healthy for vehicles to be sitting around in a garage all day. This can mean brittle components that seize up at the first opportunity. Just as with people, regular movement is a good thing.

So when it comes to buying new and used cars, what is the answer? There are pros and cons either way. A newer, high mileage auto may still be under warranty and will have the benefit of more advanced technology. Insurance premiums may also be affected, and it also depends how, and how often, the new owner is going to be driving. If they’re intending on racking up the miles, then it may make sense to go for newer, despite a higher mileage.


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