Miles or Age? Which Matters Most When It’s Time To Buy

One of our customers recently asked the question, “Is it better to purchase a newer model car with higher miles or an older model car with less miles?” The short answer is, do your research. Let us explain.

Drive Time. One factor you’ll want to look at no matter what car you’re considering is how it’s been driven. The odometer can tell you how many miles is on the car of course, but you’ll want to know are those highway or city miles? Why does this matter? Generally if you have 80,000 miles on a car and they’ve all been accumulated by driving in bumper to bumper stop and go city traffic, your automobile has more wear and tear than cruising non stop on the highway or country roads. Think brake pads, transmission wear, and fuel efficiency in non stop traffic. Also, how OFTEN has the car been driven? An older car with low miles could indicate that it has been sitting, unattended for years which could also be a red flag.

Maintenance. Another big factor to consider is how the car has been maintained. Most dealerships will offer a Carfax report for free or for a small fee. This is a simple way to see if the car has been in any accidents, how often it’s been serviced and what has been done, how many owners there have been and when and where it was bought and sold. A 10 year old automobile with one or two owners and scheduled routine maintenance performed is likely in better condition than a two year old car that’s been driven constantly or one which has been sitting with no thought about what’s under the hood.

Warranty. One advantage of a new car is that it may likely come with a warranty. Many new automobiles include a 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty on parts and/or labor. In contrast, many pre-owned cars do not have any warranty. This could be worth negotiating when you’re purchasing to help protect your investment.

Make/Model. Not all cars are created equal. If you’re an experienced driver, you likely have a car manufacturer which you prefer for one reason or another. According to a recent CNBC study, these are the top 10 longest lasting automobiles. You’ll probably note that many of these are Toyotas while Chevy and Hondas also have a reputation for longevity. When taking this into consideration, buying a high mileage, well maintained brand of one of these automobiles may be well worth the cost and potential resale value down the road.

So, miles or age – that’s the question. The answer may not be cut and dry when taking into account all of the factors listed above. One thing remains constant, do your research and call Norris Automotive in Burlington for honest, experienced advice, a pre-purchase inspection or any questions about your next automobile.

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