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Age vs mileage – What you should look for in a used car

Lower mileage counts more than age when it comes to purchasing a used car.

This is because the mechanical condition of a vehicle with fewer kilometres on the clock will usual be better than a newer example with higher mileage.

As per Colin Morgan, used-car platform getWorth’s Head of Pricing, “It is mostly use and wear on components that affect a car’s mechanical condition. The age of the parts makes less of a difference these days.”

An important decision

To illustrate this point, Morgan compared the price of a 2021 Kia Picanto 1.2 Street Auto with an odometer reading of just 20,000km to that of a 2022 model with 50,000km.

“The used-car market acts like a weighing machine. The prices that cars sell for indicate what consumers are willing to pay for different ages and mileages,” said Morgan.

“[getWorth’s] algorithms analyze this data and can precisely determine what the market values for these two cars.”

The company’s statistics shows that a year of age on this Kia affects the price by 6%, and each kilometer adds 42 cents. Hence, the two examples should be almost identical in price.

However, assuming the exact same driver habits, the higher-mileage car would have 30,000km more time in the driver’s seat, wear on the carpets, time on the road with little stone chips and scuffs, and the like.

Therefore, the older Picanto with lower mileage should be in better mechanical and possibly cosmetic shape than its younger peer, and present less of a risk for servicing and repairs down the line.

Of course, things such as warranties and service or maintenance plans can also impact the price and risk factor, however, the general rule of thumb is that fewer kilometres should carry more weight than age when purchasing a pre-owned set of wheels.

“While both age and mileage are crucial in determining the value of a used car, expert advice leans towards lower mileage,” concludes Morgan.

“Lower mileage generally means less wear and tear on mechanical components and better overall condition. Ultimately, understanding your personal priorities and the vehicle’s history is key to making the best decision.”


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