With the average new car costing between £12,000 for small models and £35,000 or more for more luxurious rides, many motorists opt for a second-hand vehicle. There are big savings to unlock, particularly if you’re willing to opt for an older and well-used vehicle with more than 100K miles on the odometer. This is an option that many Brits embrace, with the latest statistics suggesting used car sales outpace new car sales by around three to one in the UK.

So, is it worth buying a car over 100K miles? Below, we look at the pros and cons of purchasing a high-mileage car.  

Understanding the miles/age ratio

Before we get started, let’s take a moment to define where a car with 100K+ miles on the odometer sits on the condition scale. As a general rule, a five-year old car should have done around 75,000 to be classed in “average” condition. Anything over is considered a “high mileage” while anything under is considered in “good” or “excellent” condition.

Another factor to consider is the age of the car as this can have a significant impact on overall condition and performance. Many modern cars may have more than 100K on the odometer but will still be in great condition with lots of life left in the engine. This is because newer models feature more advanced technology. A 2019 model that’s done 100K will likely offer better longevity than a 2016 model with 100K and will be priced accordingly.

The pros of buying a car with 100K miles

There are plenty of plus points to enjoy when purchasing a high-mileage vehicles, with some of the best spotlighted below:

Lower purchasing price

The cost of buying a new car has increased exponentially over the past few years. This means most Brits need to take out credit to get behind the wheel of a new car. When you buy a second-hand vehicle with 100K+ on the odometer you can drastically reduce the cost of ownership. Some people choose to pay with cash, allowing you to eliminate debt completely. If you don’t want to pay for your second-hand vehicle outright and plan to take advantage of low-interest car loans, the lower price tags of vehicles with 100K miles keep your payments low and affordable.

Lower depreciation

It’s not unusual for the value of a brand-new car to decrease by up to 30% in the first year of ownership. In the first five years, the value of the car will likely drop by 50% or more. By opting for an older vehicle, you’re avoiding this initial depreciation. Furthermore, the ongoing rates of depreciation tend to be lower for cars that have done 100K miles or more. This means that in a few years, you may be able to sell the car for a similar price to what you purchased it for. In some cases, you may even be able to secure a higher price.

Cheaper insurance

High purchase prices generally translate to bigger insurance bills. One of the main benefits of buying a second-hand car with 100K+ is the big savings you’ll enjoy from your insurer. Older and more utilised vehicles are a lower risk for insurers, which means your monthly premiums will drop to reflect this.

The cons of buying a car with 100K miles

While there’s lots to love about buying a car with 100K miles, there are also some cons to consider.

No complimentary servicing

One of the major benefits of purchasing a nearly-new car is the warranty and complimentary servicing that’s often thrown in by the dealership. When you purchase a second-hand vehicle with more than 100K miles on the odometer, chances are the car is no longer under warranty and has exceeded its free servicing timeline or mileage limit. This means any work done on the car will need to be paid for out of pocket.

Heavy wear and tear

There’s no two ways about it – cars with 100K+ on the odometer have racked up a lot of time on the roads. This means the engine and all other components have been put through their paces. For example, a car with 100K+ miles may have been used as a taxi or rideshare vehicle. In some cases, this can make second-hand cars a risky purchase as they may be well past their prime. 

Restrictions on finance

Bearing in mind the point made above about wear and tear, this can make a car with 100K+ on the clock a poor prospect for car finance lenders too. It will be much harder to find a lender prepared to finance your car. As such, this could limit your options if you do wish to go down the finance route. Most lenders will stipulate that your proposed car must have done under 100K miles.

The bottom line on buying a car with 100K miles

Is it worth buying a car over 100K miles? The answer depends on your budget, personal preferences, and what level of risk you’re willing to take on. Many British motorists choose to purchase cars over 100K miles and are very happy with their decisions. The key is to do your research and learn about the reliability of different models and how they fare after racking up 100K miles or more. When you’ve settled on a particular car, be sure to dive into its service history and do some sleuthing about its previous owner and any accidents it may have been in. This arms you with the knowledge to make an informed decision when purchasing a well-used car.

Sure, you may not get to enjoy that coveted “new car smell” when you purchase a second-hand vehicle. But the savings you can unlock are a huge bonus and are the reason many motorists decide to buy a car with 100K+ miles. And of course, you can always recreate the new car smell with air fresheners, leather conditioners and odour eliminators that will make you feel as though you’re driving straight out the showroom.

Find out what you can afford

Is it worth buying a car over 100k miles? For the right vehicle, the answer could be yes. However, the benefits of a low-mileage car are hard to resist for many motorists. If you’d like to get behind the wheel of a newer vehicle that hasn’t been heavily used, car finance is a great option. Our car loan calculator UK is a great place to start, helping you crunch the numbers and get a good idea of how far your budget will stretch with a competitive loan.

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Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 12.4%, annual interest rate (fixed) 12.36%, 47 monthly payments of £196.44 followed by 1 payment of £206.44 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,939.12, total amount payable is £9,439.12.

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