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

By Product Expert | Posted in Safety, Tips and Tricks on Wednesday, February 24th, 2021 at 1:44 pm
A stock photo of a person using a checklist to inspect a vehicle.

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 been 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 answer 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. 

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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.