A car with 100k miles can be much cheaper than a brand new one. However, the situation can quickly deteriorate.
Being an avid car enthusiast, I have reviewed hundreds of cars from numerous automakers. This is why I know the field inside out, which makes me well-informed about the field.
Here is all you need to know before putting your hard-earned money into a car with 100k+ miles.
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Is Buying a Car with Over 100k Miles Bad?
Buying a car with over 100k miles isn’t always bad. This is mostly due to the high-quality control standards that most carmakers maintain during the manufacturing process. The strict pre-delivery quality control and quality assurance checks of automakers ensure that the vehicles are robust and remain usable even after a long time.
What are the Risks of Buying a Car with Over 100k Miles?
The major risks of buying a car with over 100k miles include high repair costs, high fuel consumption, spare parts replacement costs, and increased insurance premiums.
Any moving machine is susceptible to damage, and this is especially true in the case of cars due to a large number of annual global road accidents.
In the US alone, more than 38k car accidents took place in 2020. As the number of miles on the odometer increment, the risk and chances of these accidents also increase.
Furthermore, with usage, several parts undergo wear and tear, requiring them to be replaced.
Some parts, especially of German luxury automobiles, are particularly expensive to repair or replace. The transmission repair cost on a BMW can easily go north of $1800 to $5000.
In adverse cases, drivers might also need to replace the engine altogether, which can easily create a gaping hole in their wallets. In such situations, getting a car with 100k+ plus doesn’t seem to be a viable option, but there is more to it than meets the eye.
Why Buying a Car with Over 100k Miles Might be a Good Idea?
Buying a car with over 100k miles might be a good idea because you can get a car in great condition at a fraction of its original cost.
Here are some other factors which play a pivotal role in making a 100k+ mile car a good idea:
1. High-Quality Parts
In most cases, especially luxury vehicles, the parts used for manufacturing are of extremely high quality which allows them to stay in a good state for a long time, bearing the brunt easily.
Depreciation is a blessing if you want to buy a pre-owned car. The reason is that with each passing year, the price of the vehicle decreases, making it more affordable.
For example, a BMW X5 xDrive35i retailed for $57,525 in 2014, but the same vehicle with over 100k miles can now be easily obtained for less than half the price of $23k, thanks to depreciation.
And this is just one case. There are several other options, especially Japanese vehicles with relatively high mileage, that not only run perfectly but also cost a fraction of their original sticker price.
The Cost of Owning a Car with Over 100k Miles vs. a Car with under 100k Miles
The total cost of owning a car with over 100k miles vs. a car with under 100k miles might require much more mathematics than you anticipate. If done wrongly, in the worst case, it can leave a mark as heavy as five digits on your savings, depending upon the vehicle in question.
Let’s take the example of a used Toyota Camry
An average 2014 Toyota Camry with more than 100k miles presently costs somewhere around $14,000 in the US.
Whereas on the contrary, a 2014 Toyota Camry with 60k miles is available for around $17,000.
Initial savings by getting a vehicle with over 100k miles: $3000
However, the story doesn’t end here. Rather, it might just be the beginning. So, let’s compare some expenditures that are most likely to occur on a car with more than 100k miles.
The first items that are likely to wear out on a car with high mileage are tires. They usually need to be replaced every 35.000 miles, which means that by the time a car has crossed the 100k mile mark, its tires might have already been replaced more than thrice.
However, this can be a bet as some owners might not take the issue seriously, in which case you might end up having a car with not-so-new tires.
In the US, the price of a mid-tier tire varies from $100 to $300 each, varying on the brand. So expect that a car with over 100k miles will most certainly need $1k in tire replacement.
A car with less than 100k miles will most certainly not need any such replacement, however, this is a subjective matter.
Savings by getting a car with less than 100k miles (A): $1000
The next to wear out is the transmission which in daily city driving takes the most hit as car owners need to quickly change gears and with the ever-growing traffic on the roads, the rush is only increasing.
Thus, the transmission on a car with more than 100k miles will soon need replacement, even if it isn’t creating a problem for now. Even repairing the Toyota Camry’s transmission can easily cost upwards of $2000.
This amount can be easily saved in a vehicle with less than 100k miles.
Savings by getting a car with less than 100k miles (B): $2000
As the miles go higher, the engines also deteriorate in performance. With more than 100k miles, a car may soon be needing an overall engine replacement or overhauling.
The price of a new 2014 Toyota Camry is about $4500 whereas engine hauling can cost upwards of $2500 and go as high as $4000.
Savings by getting a car with less than 100k miles (C): $3500
These are the major costs. However, as a car gets older and gets more miles, a large number of parts including but not limited to the alternator, fuel pump, brakes, AC compressor, radiator, and fan belt can also go faulty.
Replacement and repair of all these items combined can easily cost upwards of $2000.
Savings by getting a car with less than 100k miles (D): $2000
Overall savings by getting a car with less than 100k miles (A+B+C+D): $8500
So total savings by getting a relatively newer car: $8500 (Cost of repairs) -$3000 (Higher initial cost) = $5500
This means that a car with less than 100k miles that initially costs $3000 more will cost $5500 less in maintenance.
In addition to this, it is also worth mentioning that the insurance costs of older vehicles are significantly higher than those of newer cars. Thus, in the longer run, the insurance premium is also likely to cause a big dent in your savings.
How to Buy a Car with Over 100k Miles that Won’t Have Problems in the Future?
To purchase a car with over 100,000 miles that will not have problems in the future, it is critical to conduct extensive research on the model’s common known flaws. Furthermore, hiring a paid car inspection service to determine a vehicle’s overall performance is always a good idea.
Typically, bigger and more luxurious vehicles depreciate more than smaller, simpler vehicles. Moreover, the more gadgets there are in a vehicle, the more likely it is that one of them will fail.
If the goal is to get a utilitarian vehicle, choose one with fewer features. Such a vehicle will not only be less expensive to buy in the first place, but it will also require fewer repairs.
Furthermore, with a $10,000 budget, you might be able to get a 2018 compact car, whereas you will only be able to get a 2005 or so BMW’s luxury vehicle.
What are the Most Reliable Cars with Over 100k Miles?
If you’re wondering which is the world’s most reliable car, here are the top three most reliable cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks in the world.
Most Reliable Cars
The three most reliable cars in the world include:
- Toyota Corolla
- Toyota Camry
- Honda Civic
It’s no surprise to see that the top three most reliable cars in the world all have Japanese origin.
Most Reliable SUVs
The three most reliable SUVs in the world include:
- Toyota Land Cruiser
- Chevrolet Suburban
- Ford Expedition
Most Reliable Pickup Trucks
The three most reliable Pickup trucks in the world include:
- Toyota Tundra
- Honda Ridgeline
- Toyota Tacoma
It is also worth noting that diesel engines are typically more durable and perform better over longer distances than gasoline engines.
And if you want to know which vehicles to avoid, here is a list of the world’s three most unreliable cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks.
Least Reliable Cars
- Jaguar XF
- Alfa Romeo Giulia
- Porsche Cayenne
Least Reliable SUVs
- Range Rover
- Volvo XC-60
- Jeep Compass
Least Reliable Pickup Trucks
- Chevrolet Colorado
- Chevrolet Silverado
- RAM 1500