A Guide to Buying a Car That Has Over 100k Miles

Written by Danny Collins
Last updated: July 6, 2023

When it comes to buying a used car, one of the factors that often cause concern is the mileage. Many buyers believe that a high number of miles on the odometer indicates a vehicle’s impending doom. However, this is not always the case. In fact, buying a car with over 100,000 miles can be a practical and cost-effective choice, especially if you know what to look for.

In this guide, we will explore the considerations, advantages, and disadvantages of buying a car with 100k+ miles in the UK.

Why Does a Car Depreciate?

car depreciating in value

Before delving into the details of buying a high-mileage car, it’s important to understand why cars depreciate over time. The main reason for depreciation is simply wear and tear. As a car is driven, its components and systems experience regular use, leading to inevitable deterioration. Additionally, advancements in technology, changing market demands, and the introduction of newer models also contribute to a car’s depreciation.

The Average Mileage for a Car by Age

To assess whether a car’s mileage is within an acceptable range, it’s useful to consider the average mileage for a vehicle based on its age. In the UK, a car is expected to cover around 10,000 miles per year on average. One simple way to calculate the average mileage is to multiply the car’s age by 10,000. However, it’s important to note that this figure can vary significantly depending on the car’s usage. For instance, a car used solely for commuting will accumulate more miles compared to one used primarily for social purposes.

How Many Miles is TOO Many for a Used Car?

Contrary to popular belief, the number of miles recorded on the dashboard is not the sole determinant of a car’s condition. A vehicle with lower-than-average mileage may appear appealing, but if it hasn’t been regularly maintained and serviced, it could be in poor condition. Therefore, there is no specific threshold for “too many” miles for a car. Instead, it’s essential to consider other factors such as maintenance history, overall condition, and how well the car has been cared for by its previous owner.

Types of Car Mileage

driving on motorway uk

When evaluating a used car, it’s crucial to consider the types of mileage it has accumulated.

  1. Motorway driving, characterised by long-distance journeys at higher speeds, tends to be less stressful on a vehicle compared to city driving.
  2. City driving involves frequent starts and stops, idling, and shorter trips, which can cause more wear and tear on the engine and other components.

It’s important to assess the type of mileage a car has primarily been subjected to and determine its impact on the overall condition.

How Many Miles Can Cars Do in Their Lifespan?

Cars are designed to last for many years and cover significant distances. While individual results may vary, it’s not uncommon for well-maintained vehicles to reach 200,000 miles or even more. Regular servicing, adherence to maintenance schedules, and prompt repairs of any issues can extend a car’s lifespan considerably. Therefore, buying a car with over 100,000 miles does not necessarily mean it is at the end of its usable life.

Advantages of Buying a Car with 100k+ Miles

1. Lower Price

cheaper price on cars with higher mileage

One of the most significant advantages of buying a high-mileage car is the lower price tag. As a vehicle accumulates miles, its value tends to decrease. This depreciation can work in your favour as you can find a well-maintained car with a rich service history at a fraction of the cost of a newer model.

2. Cheaper Insurance

Since insurance premiums are typically calculated based on a car’s value, opting for a high-mileage vehicle can result in lower insurance costs. With the reduced price of the car, insurance providers often adjust the coverage accordingly, resulting in potential savings.

3. Slower Depreciation

car purchase contract

Newer cars tend to experience rapid depreciation during their first few years. By purchasing a car that has already passed the 100,000-mile mark, you can avoid the steepest depreciation curve. While the car will continue to depreciate, the rate is generally slower, allowing you to retain more of your investment.

4. Cheaper Registration Costs

In the UK, the cost of registering a vehicle is influenced by its age and CO2 emissions. Older cars, including those with higher mileage, often fall into lower tax bands, resulting in reduced registration costs. This can help lower your overall expenses when buying a car.

Disadvantages of Buying a Car with 100k+ Miles

1. More Likely to Have Wear and Tear

older car with visible damage

As a car accumulates miles, it undergoes natural wear and tear. Components such as the engine, transmission, suspension, and brakes may require more frequent repairs or replacements compared to a lower-mileage vehicle. It’s crucial to thoroughly inspect the car’s condition and consider potential maintenance costs before making a purchase.

2. Unable to Get Finance

Some financing institutions may have limitations on providing loans for high-mileage cars. Lenders may consider them riskier investments due to the potential for increased repairs and maintenance. If you plan to finance the purchase, it’s important to check with lenders beforehand regarding their policies on high-mileage vehicles.

3. No Added Extras Like Free Servicing

no car servicing with older car

Manufacturers and dealerships often provide added perks and warranties for newer cars, such as free servicing for a specific period. When purchasing a car with over 100,000 miles, these benefits may not be available, resulting in additional expenses for routine maintenance and repairs.

4. Potential Unknown Issues

With older cars, there is a higher likelihood of undisclosed or hidden issues. It’s crucial to conduct a thorough inspection, preferably with the assistance of a qualified mechanic, to identify any existing or potential problems. Obtaining a comprehensive vehicle history report can also provide valuable information about the car’s past.

5. Outdated Technology

outdated technology in car

Cars with higher mileage often lack the latest technological features found in newer models. If having the latest gadgets and advancements in automotive technology is a priority for you, a high-mileage car may not fulfil your expectations in this regard.

6. Updated Safety Features Missing

As advancements in vehicle safety continue, newer cars tend to offer enhanced safety features such as advanced driver assistance systems, collision avoidance systems, and improved structural integrity. While older cars can still provide a safe driving experience, they may lack the latest safety technologies found in newer models.


Buying a car with over 100,000 miles can be a sensible choice for budget-conscious buyers in the UK. By considering factors such as the car’s maintenance history, condition, and usage, you can make an informed decision. While there are potential disadvantages associated with higher-mileage vehicles, the lower price, slower depreciation, and other advantages make them worth considering. Remember to conduct thorough research, inspections, and test drives to ensure you find a reliable and suitable car that meets your needs and budget.