At What Mileage Should a Car Be Replaced? (Solved)

“Cars will most times be the second most expensive purchase we will make after our houses”. We’ve heard this a lot, but in most cases this is true. Cars are expensive, so we can’t just buy a new one the way we buy clothes.  

You will never use one car forever. In your lifetime, you will go through several vehicles. But when is the right time to change your vehicle? Most people will say when it has a ton of miles, but this is not the only reason.

Why and when you should replace your vehicle is important, and this guide will help you determine when replacing your vehicle is necessary.

At What Mileage Should a Car Be Replaced?

There is no clear answer to this as it’s a personal decision. Some vehicles will keep performing great no matter the miles they have on them. While some vehicles may begin to fall apart with higher mileage. Some may not even have too many miles but may need to be replaced.  

This is a personal decision and is mostly determined by you or the current running condition of your vehicle. A car to most people is a necessary tool to get them around, not a luxury item that can just be swapped out for another.

Before the decision to replace the car is made, there have to be some factors that come to play. These factors ultimately influence the decision to either keep using the car or get it replaced.    

Also read: Is it Safe to Drive a 20-Year-Old Car? The Facts

Does the Car Mileage Matter When You Decide to Replace a Car?

Not really, mileage isn’t the determining factor if you want to replace your vehicle. Mileage matters very little when most people want to replace their car. If the car works flawlessly no matter the miles, most owners keep using the vehicle.  

Replacing a vehicle isn’t just a matter of how many miles it has. If you’ve taken proper care of your vehicle, it will last many more miles. Some vehicles of course get more expensive to maintain and break more often the older they get. These are some of the factors that affect the decision to replace the vehicle.

Some high mileage cars break more, cost more to repair, and ultimately become expensive to own. These are some of the factors that do affect the decision to replace your vehicle.

Also read: Do Newer Cars Last Longer than Older Ones? The Facts

How to Know That it’s a Good Time to Replace Your Car?

High maintenance cost, frequent breakdowns, bad gas mileage, and vehicle safety. When these things become a growing concern then it’s time to consider changing your vehicle.  

  • Vehicle Safety: Newer cars are getting safer, this means your current car may not be as safe as the current cars on the road. They are also bigger and heavier, with the latest safety feature to help cope with these changes. If you want the safety features these newer cars offer then you may need to replace your current one with w newer one.  
  • Reliability: Higher mileage cars don’t mean they’ll be unreliable. But some vehicles are unreliable even with fairly low miles. Jaguars and Land Rovers fall into this category, as they are unreliable from the start. As they get older, they break more.     
  • Maintenance Cost: Maintenance is essential for every vehicle for it to perform optimally. This is different for each individual, if it makes sense to you financially, then it’s fine. But if maintenance for little things costs too much then you might want to replace your car with one with reasonable maintenance cost.  
  • Maintenance Intervals: If your car visits the shop a lot for maintenance, then this could be a problem. A repair or maintenance should last your car a very long time. Going back to the shop every month to get a new fix or fix the same issue is a sign that the car needs to go.    
  • Worse Gas Mileage: Fuel efficiency will decrease as cars get older, this is a fact, but this should be minimal. If the gas mileage becomes half of what it was you should get rid of the car.  
  • Your Car’s Worth: Pouring money into a car when it’s not worth much can be bad financially. Let’s say your car is worth $5,000 an expensive repair is worth $2,000. That could be a down payment for a newer, more reliable vehicle. This would be way better as the monthly payments would be way less than the repairs being made on the vehicle.  

    This is a somewhat sensitive one to some people. A car worth nothing can have a strong sentimental value to someone because they’ve owned it for a long time and had memories with it. In this case, it doesn’t matter to them what the car’s value is. They love it and they’ll keep it forever.
  • Insurance Costs: Compare your insurance payments with your current car. If they’re similar or the newer car costs a bit less, you may want to make the switch.
  • Total Cost of the New Car: besides the purchase price, some other things must be considered. Before replacing your car, make sure to compare running costs with your current one. If it costs more to own the new one, you may need to hold back.
  • Potential Future Repairs: Look at higher mileage examples of vehicles similar to yours. Find out how much it costs to service and maintain them at that level. If it’s expensive, you may want to replace your car before then. Owning a Range Rover out of warranty is expensive even for a relatively lower mileage example.   
  • Lifestyle Choices: Your present lifestyle may affect your car choices. Driving a 2 seater sports car as your only vehicle won’t make sense if you have a family.
  • You Want a Change: Sometimes you simply get tired of your vehicle, even if it’s working fine. This is normal, but the aforementioned factors should still be considered before the replacement is made. 

Also read: Is Ford Aerostar Reliable? (Solved)

When Should You Replace Your Car According to Your Car Brand?

Car brands do not have a recommended time or mileage to replace a vehicle. They don’t know this, as they haven’t tested the cars long enough to find out this information. People also use their cars differently, and they may last longer in some hands than others.

Car manufacturers don’t have a recommended replacement time for their vehicles. But historically, consumers have gathered enough data to help determine when to let go of vehicles from different brands. The average life of a vehicle is 12 years.

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  • Ford: An analysis was made of 11 million Fords sold in 2020 and the verdict was 200,000 miles. Most Ford vehicles will go 200,000 miles before the issues begin to pile-up and become expensive. However, recalls are a major thing for Ford. The most recent is the Focus in 2017 which blew head gaskets. Rust is also a huge problem, especially with older trucks.   
  • Jeep: Jeeps have an average life span of 10 years and 200,000 miles before you need to consider replacing them. This is good as the wrangler does this too and can go off-roading as well. But while the wrangler lasts longer than the others, at 100,000 miles you want to consider replacing your Jeep. The most known issue is the “Death Wobble”, the steering shakes violently, mainly after hitting a bump or pothole. Most drivers lose car control until they slow down, and it stops. These are alignment/suspension-related issues.   
  • Honda: Honda vehicles are among the top ten lasting vehicles in the world. A 10-20 year car with over 300,000 miles in good running order is not uncommon. Maintenance is still relatively cheap with these vehicles. Maintain them, and they will never break, here’s a 2006 Honda Civic with over a million miles with its original powertrain. It’s a one-owner car and was well taken care of with just regular maintenance.   
  • Chevrolet: Chevrolets are more reliable than most American brands. You see a lot of their vehicles like the suburban used in car fleets. 200,000-300,000 miles is the expectancy of Chevy vehicles. Repairs are a bit expensive and breakdowns may become frequent.  
  • Mercedes: Issues with Mercedes vehicles can start as early as 50,000 miles. Most times this is due to the advanced system failing. Mercedes pioneers a lot of new technology, and being the first means they don’t know how long these techs will last. The average yearly maintenance cost on a Mercedes is $908 which is about $650 more than the industry average. Higher mileage vehicles will cost more and this is not a matter of if, but when they break because they will.     
  • BMW: German cars are luxurious and expensive to maintain. Older cars also become unreliable. Most dealers don’t even want to stock cars above 100,000 miles as they are most likely full of issues. From 60,000 and 80,000 miles, the issues begin. System failures just like Mercedes and guess what? They’re a bit more expensive to repair than the Mercedes vehicles.
  • Toyota: This was left for last for obvious reasons. Toyota’s vehicles will outlast their owners if properly taken care of. There are several examples of cars, trucks, and vehicles that run fine with just regular maintenance. Even some neglected cars are still working great (never neglect your car). Some model years have been questionable, but everyone knows Toyota is the gold standard for reliability.   

Note: Cars will last as long as you’re willing to take proper care of them and maintain them properly. Every brand on this list has some models within their lineup that perform way beyond the above statistics listed above. It all depends on you and how you care for your car.

My family has had several Mercedes vehicles and I can say I love them, I know the strength and weaknesses of certain models we’ve owned, and they aren’t deal-breakers. I plan to own many more Mercedes vehicles in my lifetime, I’m not sure about BMW’s though.