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Executive saloons can often come with a lot of relatively low-impact motorway miles DoneDeal
buying advice

Which is better: An older car with low mileage, or a newer car with high mileage?

It’s a dilemma many second-hand buyers face. So what are the pros and cons?

WHEN LOOKING FOR a used car the subject of mileage is, for most, an important consideration.

Naturally, many will prefer to buy a car with lower mileage, but there are some aspects to consider beyond just what the odometer says.

Is the mileage correct?

The amount of so-called ‘clocked’ cars on the used market varies from annual report to annual report, but according to the latest data around one in ten used cars has some kind of mileage discrepancy. That number doubles when you examine imported vehicles.

It’s important to remember that although a car may not be showing particularly low mileage, it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been tampered with. Our advice is always to do the appropriate vehicle checks, which can be easily done online using the car’s registration number. If there is any disparity then just walk away.

Are there pitfalls to buying a low mileage car?

Finding that well-kept and low mileage used car might seem like you’ve struck gold, but first, you should consider a few things. We’ve already mentioned ensuring the vehicle’s provenance is correct, but it’s also worth checking its service history. All cars have a service schedule that is specific to that model, but in general, manufacturers recommend at least one yearly service.

It may be the case that this hasn’t been carried out as a result of the previous owner not racking up much mileage, in which case items like engine lubricants and brake fluid may need to be changed. The car may also still have its original battery in it, and if the vehicle hasn’t frequently been used, or only ever on short trips, then it may not be in the best condition, and it may be worth factoring in the cost of a replacement battery.

Depending on the age of the car, tyres may also be a potential issue. All cars now must have an official ‘E’ stamp on them to comply with the current NCT standards. This marking designates that the tyre has been produced to comply with EU tyre safety certification standards.

DoneDeal DoneDeal

What about a newer, but higher mileage car?

One way of looking at a higher mileage but newer car is that you can at least tell that up until now it has probably been reliable, depending on just how much mileage it has.

While it can vary from model to model, cars with high mileages tend to cost a little bit less to buy. Now, if you don’t usually do high mileage yourself, this means that over the course of a few years the car’s total mileage will begin to average out.

Particularly when it comes to saloon and estate models, there is a chance that these may have been company cars. That high mileage may be the result of extensive motorway driving, which isn’t necessarily as hard on some components like suspension and steering racks.

This can be an important consideration, as while the car may be relatively new, it may not be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Take Kia, for example. Its famous seven-year warranty is subject to the vehicle not exceeding 150,000 kilometres, so it’s possible for a car to be two years old and out of warranty.

Additionally, as with the servicing history of a low-mileage car, do look out to see if the newer higher mileage car is soon going to be due any large service items that are mileage, rather than age-dependent. It is best to research these things before you purchase.

More: How to buy a savage SUV on a €12k budget – and 4 models to check out>

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