Age vs Mileage – What to look for when buying a second-hand car – TopAuto
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Wednesday / 17 August 2022
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Age vs Mileage – What to look for when buying a second-hand car

When you are buying a second-hand car, you must find the right balance between age and mileage.

Age refers to how old the car is in years, while mileage refers to the number of kilometres it has been driven

This need to find a balance between the two variables is advice from automotive dealer Motus.

The company said that in most cases, age and mileage “work against each other in the manner that the market prices pre-owned vehicles”.

“While mileage drives down the price, the newer the vehicle the higher the price will be,” it said.

Same car, different price

A good example of the impact of age versus mileage on a vehicle is to look at cars which are the same make and model.

If both have the same mileage, but one is one year younger than the other, the younger car could cost as much as R50,000 more, said Motus.

Car buyers must also look at how much mileage a vehicle has relative to its age.

“A good rule of thumb is 15,000km to 20,000km per year. Anything more than this is considered high mileage.”

This “average mileage per year” factor must be taken into consideration alongside how the vehicle was used, added the company.

“It is important to try and ascertain how it was used. A bakkie that has high mileage from highway driving will most probably be in better condition than a bakkie that has a lower mileage, but spent its life on dirt roads.”

Storing a vehicle

Another important factor to consider is how a vehicle was stored and maintained.

Cars that are parked in a garage or under a cover are often in better condition than cars which are regularly parked outside in the sun and rain.

Cars that have high mileage but are well maintained can also be a better choice than a lower-mileage vehicle which has not been serviced as it should.

“It is therefore very important to enquire whether the vehicle in question has a full service history and if any major components have been replaced.”

New technology

One element which cannot escape the clutches of time is technological advancements – and newer vehicles will have improved features and components compared to older models.

“New cars will feature the latest technology in terms of engines, infotainment, and safety – and if that is important to you, it could be worth paying the premium.”

Newer cars may also still be covered by a manufacturer’s service plan or warranty.

“Major components like a timing belt, CV joints, and shock absorbers – which can be costly to replace as the mileage creeps up – will still have a few years life in them,” said the company.

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