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Buying a high mileage car

Discussion in 'General car Chat' started by Loz, 8 October 2010.

  1. Loz

    Loz Torque King

    Messages:
    7,667
    Location:
    Wolverhampton, U.K.
    Car:
    MX-5
    Would you consider buying a high mileage car? Are modern engines lasting longer & going further these days?
     
  2. HDi fun

    HDi fun TC Professional

    Messages:
    13,153
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire UK
    Car:
    Passat 2.0 TDi 170
    Yes and yes. Service history is important. No even so much to ensure reliability but simply to make sure you're not paying too much for a fake.

    I bought the E39 with 74,000 on it. I don't consider this to be high mileage anyway and with a fully documented history with all invoices and MoTs (I even have the original purchase invoice for the new car!!) there's no reason not to do so.

    A well documented and well cared for 200,000 miler is not to be ignored either.
     
  3. lutonmatt

    lutonmatt The Torque Meister

    Messages:
    1,955
    Location:
    chatham kent
    Car:
    82 trans am kitt
    yes
    i just bought a a4 and that has 176k on the clock

    i dont look at the mileage when i buy cars as now it does not really matter

    my landrover will be turning on the 200k on sunday
     
  4. HDi fun

    HDi fun TC Professional

    Messages:
    13,153
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire UK
    Car:
    Passat 2.0 TDi 170
    So, basically, buy on condition only is what you're saying. I agree with this.
     
  5. Loz

    Loz Torque King

    Messages:
    7,667
    Location:
    Wolverhampton, U.K.
    Car:
    MX-5
    Well that's put my mind at ease thank you.
    So Ideally the best high mileage car to buy would be, privately owned with full service history & a file full of receipts & MOT's. :)
     
  6. HDi fun

    HDi fun TC Professional

    Messages:
    13,153
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire UK
    Car:
    Passat 2.0 TDi 170
    Or even from a non franchised private dealer who has all the documentation for the car you're considering. My second user E39 came from a private independent dealer who sources and supplies BMWs only.

    His knowledge of the brand and its model variants is second to none.
     
  7. obi_waynne

    obi_waynne Administrator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    35,707
    Location:
    Deal, Kent UK
    Car:
    A3 2.0 TDI
    I tend to hang on to my cars for a long long time so I buy one with a low mileage to start with and it keeps a good resale value.

    I know cars are more reliable but I just think there are more things that need fixing on them when the mileage gets up.

    Age of car does come into it. A 3 year old car with 100,000 miles on it will be much more reliable than a 10 year old car with 100,000 miles on it.

    I do think people are hanging on to their cars for longer nowadays anyway.
     
  8. HDi fun

    HDi fun TC Professional

    Messages:
    13,153
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire UK
    Car:
    Passat 2.0 TDi 170
    Age does play a part but some cars are intrinsically better built right from the start. This 5 series is by far and away the oldest car I've ever bought but I don't anticipate major problems from it given the pedigree the maker has for producing well engineered yet straightforward cars.

    Proper servicing makes a big difference or course. Neglected cars will play up given time and continued neglect and abusive driving. That's why I really wince when I hear someone start a stone cold engine and then wind it straight round the rev counter. This is mechanical brutality.

    Conversely I think that it's good to use all the revs every so often once the engine is FULLY warm. You won't do any harm. There are many good reasons for this: For example pretty well all VVT systems (BMW calls this double VANOS in my car's case) are operated by oil pressure and it's important that it gets to both extremes of operation now and again. And running the engine at full revs and full throttle occasionally will help no end with clearing out accumulated by-products of combustion.

    More accurately, these by-products are created by incomplete combustion.

    I even go as far as driving on a slippery road occasionally and braking fully just to keep the ABS regulating valves operating correctly.

    As they say, every little helps. Maybe the 'use it or lose it' theory applies??
     
  9. claymore

    claymore The Torque Meister

    Messages:
    1,638
    Location:
    Shrewsbury
    Car:
    T-5k,
    one of the worse cars I ever bought was a 10 year old mini clubman with 18000 miles on it, it had never been over 30 mph in its life, and i could never get it to do more than 50 mph, plus the rust doesn't look at the milometer when it starts its attack. the volvo is on 220k now and still crying out for me to mod it more.
     
  10. one in a million

    one in a million Road Burner

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    kent
    Car:
    CLIO 182 YAY!!
    cars with high mileage....... difficult depending on what the spec is, being a 1 litre with 100,000 on the clock, its probably knackered. where as i saw a bmw estate it had 200,000 on the clock but it had a massive portfolio full of bills, service history an every main dealer m.o.t certificates. so it had been well looked after with every bit of the car being replaced when needed so yeah theres advantages and diadvantages of buying a high mileage car.
     
  11. HDi fun

    HDi fun TC Professional

    Messages:
    13,153
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire UK
    Car:
    Passat 2.0 TDi 170
    They will keep going nearly indefinitely if serviced regularly and properly. There comes a time when you have to consider the economics but it's nearly always cheaper to service and replace parts than to replace the car.

    The old adage of spending more money on the car than the car is worth is a bit out of date now.

    It's perhaps better to ask yourself this question: Can I replace the car with a better one for less money than a repair or part replacement will cost?

    Of course if you're looking to buy another car anyway, new or second user, then that's a differrent issue. And they all need servicing.
     
  12. turbonutter69

    turbonutter69 TC Pro Founder Moderator

    Messages:
    18,559
    Location:
    Alone in the dark.
    Car:
    Insignia SRI.
    My Primera had over 100k on the clock when I bought it and the engine was mint.
     
  13. MasterAuron

    MasterAuron Very Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,120
    Location:
    379bhp 359lbft
    Car:
    Mk1 Focus RS
    I wouldn't buy a mega mileage car, purely because I can afford not to.

    The guy I bought those Corbeau Sprints off, his Coupe had done 240,000 miles (166k in his possession) and was still on the original alternator amongst many other bits. Amazing really for a modified petrol turbo decade+ old car that had entered numerous TOTB events (so not nannied). He only broke it due to rust.
     
  14. aston

    aston The Torque Meister

    Messages:
    1,238
    Location:
    Near Salisbury, Wiltshire
    Car:
    FORD,VOLVO,MERC,MAZ
    I have more or less only bought high mileage cars and the only one which was a dog was a jeep. However after conversing with a few American friends it seems all American built cars are designed to last 4 years in order to keep peeps busy updating....Until Honda came along and became the number 1 manufacturer and showed reliability is good for marketing
     
  15. 1stTimeBuyer

    1stTimeBuyer Grease Monkey

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    :(
    Hi guys, ive been looking at a few hgh mileage cars lately as they are more suited to my prce range and wanted to know how bad an 06 reg with 120,000 miles sounded to any of you?

    Its got full service history (9 stamps) and from reading above im thinking of going for it. What kind of questions should i ask first about the car?

    Any help much appreciated.
     
  16. stamford

    stamford Pro Tuner

    Messages:
    3,320
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Car:
    MG ZS200
    Not as high as some during that time. If the car is in good condition with full history and no record of any damage etc then why not. Just make sure the price reflects this and remember you will take a hit on the value when you sell it on whenever that may be. Mechanically it should be okay, just look at the external elements for wear and tear, bumpers, bonnet leading edge for rust and check the seat for collapsed cushions or worn bolsters. Most high milers will be motorway miles and one person in the car most of the time. 120k is just about run-in with some manufacturers!
     
  17. HDi fun

    HDi fun TC Professional

    Messages:
    13,153
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire UK
    Car:
    Passat 2.0 TDi 170
    Go for it if the history is sound. Personally I'd like to see invoices as well as dealer stamps. But in this case it's not as if the seller is trying to disguise the mileage.

    120,000 isn't particularly high anyway, by today's standards. If the maintenance has been good then you're not into twilight years and nursing her around any time soon.

    So what you're looking at here is a 5 yr old 120,000 mile car. That's an average of 24,000/year. Which is not exceptional really.

    Some makes take mileage better than others. I'd be wary of Rover, Renault and Vauxhall even with a cast iron history. This is only my opinion, others here will have had good experiences. I had a good time with a Peugeot but many others have had problems.

    The brands I'm more likely to jump toward are Mazda, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, BMW, Lexus, Saab - in no particular order.

    What are you considering? If you have a particular car in mind I've still got a couple of free AA HPi checks up for grabs.

    Happy hunting.
     
  18. SLEEPER

    SLEEPER Pro Tuner

    Messages:
    2,094
    At least with a high mileage car with history you can be sure the mileage is right;

    I would never buy a "low mileage" car as a low mileage car without full history and a check with any former owners.

    As said before the make is quite important , but the model is as well - the higher tuned the engine the more critical the servicing is .
     
  19. T9 man

    T9 man TC Founder Moderator

    Messages:
    16,291
    Location:
    London, UK
    Car:
    Saab 9-3SS T9
    Greetings and Welcome! ;)
     
  20. 1stTimeBuyer

    1stTimeBuyer Grease Monkey

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    :(
    Thanks for the replies.

    The car im looking at is a 2 litre petrol BMW 3 series.

    As youve mentioned the make is what is making me consider as I have read they can be trusted in terms of doing a lot of miles, i know some will inevitably have different experiences though.

    Also I dont see myself doing a lot miles when in my possesion so which is pushing me towards higher milage cars at a cheaper price.

    There seems to be a lot of conflicting advice from friends but this thread is making me think of going for it, thanks for the advice.
     
  21. Yugguy

    Yugguy Pro Tuner

    Messages:
    3,655
    Location:
    Rugby (expat Preston lad)
    Car:
    Focus 1.8TDCI GHIA
    At high miles though you might be wanting to check/change things like cv joints.
     
  22. HDi fun

    HDi fun TC Professional

    Messages:
    13,153
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire UK
    Car:
    Passat 2.0 TDi 170
    So is it a later 318i (which is a 2.0 litre four) or the earlier 320i (which is a 2 litre six)?

    Later 320i models are 2.2 litre sixes. Very confusing :-(

    BMW's six cylinder petrols are virtually bullet proof if well serviced and should see 300,000+ miles without radical attention and I would go for a six cylinder model if possible. Straight six engines are preferred over straight 4s or V6 engines for their inherent smoothness. This contributes massively to the engines reputation for longevity and probably helps reduce wear on all other components as well.

    BMW servicing is not expensive, despite the common myth, and there are plenty of good independent specialists around. Nor are the parts pricey (even from dealers), though you shouldn't be needing constant attention with a well attended car anyway.

    CV joints should not be a problem as the BMW is rear wheel drive and the articulation required of the CV joints is nowhere near that required of CV joints on a FWD car (which has to accommodate steering as well as suspension movements).

    They are really pretty straightforward cars which happen to be very well thought and and very well assembled. The Bavarians are a pretty conservative bunch.
     
  23. geraint13

    geraint13 Pro Tuner

    Messages:
    2,088
    Location:
    Caerphilly, Wales
    Car:
    no car. YET !!
    my last 318i had 175000. Had 196000 when i traded in. This was a 98. Had to spend a few quid but didnt mind as had the car cheap. As hdi says once running properly and well maintained they run themselves.
     
  24. HDi fun

    HDi fun TC Professional

    Messages:
    13,153
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire UK
    Car:
    Passat 2.0 TDi 170
    In fairness so do many other cars as well. Given proper servicing many cars will give long term reliability and driveability.
     
  25. aston

    aston The Torque Meister

    Messages:
    1,238
    Location:
    Near Salisbury, Wiltshire
    Car:
    FORD,VOLVO,MERC,MAZ
    Something I read on another site regarding high mileage

    Mileage. Do we have any aircraft fitters in the audience? Thank you sir, will you stand up. What`s your name? Ok Fred, tell me - how do you determine service intervals on aircraft? Exactly, number of hours combined with the number of take off`s and landings. Thank you Fred you can sit down, give Fred a big round of applause everyone. Motor cars wear out relative to the number of hours they have been run for, the number of times the engine has been started (particularly from cold), and the number of times brakes, clutch, gear change etc have been used. 10 miles in the middle of a busy city is like 60 miles on the motorway. You must buy on condition, not numbers.

    So why are low mileage cars worth more then? - Well are they worth more? They can certainly cost more, hell we sell them for more (why not if someone is prepared to pay the money). But what happens if you sneak a few miles on your self, might you not erode away the premium you`ve just paid for and what happens if the car has sat in the middle of a busy city all it`s life, sure the fellow you`re buying it from has used it on long runs but what about the people who had it for the first 8 years. Finally as a car gets older the difference between the low and high mileage prices gets less and less, I say again - buy on condition.
     
  26. Prince

    Prince Torque King

    Messages:
    6,312
    Location:
    Northampton, England
    Car:
    BMW E36 318is Coupe
    As long as the car has been well looked after then mileage doesn't matter. I've got a BMW E36 with 120000+ miles on it and it drives very well. The only parts that needed any major attention were the brake pipes. Just don't cheap out when it comes to cars (of any age).
     
  27. Yugguy

    Yugguy Pro Tuner

    Messages:
    3,655
    Location:
    Rugby (expat Preston lad)
    Car:
    Focus 1.8TDCI GHIA
    I've got a 133k bora and the cv joints are startng to complain a little bit, but that could be cos it's done towing in its time, rather than the mileage.
     
  28. Massive

    Massive Torque Master

    Messages:
    888
    Location:
    Weir
    Car:
    Clio 172 Cup
    i think to the average joe they tend to see a car turning near 100k and go running regardless to the service history, as they feel the car is near the end of its life, this maybe true but cars at the end of the day are mechanical and mechanical things fail old or brand spanking new right out of the show room, i dont think ive owned a car under 70k, i bought the vts with around 98k on the clock it was in good nick, however (and i have learnt) it did not have a service history but i was stupid and just wanted my first fast-ish car, 2.0L engine was the biggest i had owned, so i think i would buy a high milage car depending on the service history and the condition of the car I.E. Clean and looked after
     
  29. 1stTimeBuyer

    1stTimeBuyer Grease Monkey

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    London
    Car:
    :(
    Hi HDi fun, its a 318i SE, so from what you've suggested it looks like a 2.0 litre four.

    As someone else has said though, don't go for a cheap car no mater what mileage. So I'm in quite the predicament. Looking at nice cars that are cheaper than the norm from an objective point of view cant be a good thing.....why are they cheaper? Is what i guess i should be asking myself.

    Thanks for all the responses. Quite the knowledge base you have here on torquecars!
     
  30. pgarner

    pgarner TC Founder Moderator

    Messages:
    16,525
    Location:
    Lockerbie, SW Scotland
    Car:
    Octy smoke machine
    one thing to consider is low mileage cars may have been in stop start traffic for most of their life, where as high mileage cars may well have been company cars that have spent alot of time on the motorway
     

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