Is a Used Car's Year or Mileage More Important

A Used Vehicle’s Service and Repair History Is Key to Estimating Its Future Reliability

Is a Used Car’s Year or Mileage More Important?

It’s a question that gets asked frequently with used car shoppers: is a used car’s model year or mileage more important to consider when making a purchase? After all, these are two big factors that many drivers will want to think about before signing on the dotted line, and they are always two factors that play a role in the used vehicle’s price.

Unfortunately, it’s not an easy question to answer. Deciding to base your used car purchase on either mileage of model year is a much more complicated matter than some may realize. In addition, deciding between an older model year vehicle or a vehicle with more mileage on it may largely depend on what you’re looking for in a car. That being said, here are a few tips:

Read more tips and tricks here

Side With the Low-Mileage Used Car If…

  • You expect to put a considerable amount of miles on the car during your ownership.
  • You care little for more modern features or technologies that may not be offered in an older model.
  • You don’t wish or plan to deal with some of the maintenance needs that vehicles with higher mileage may encounter.

Side With the Newer Model Year Car If…

  • Mileage is less of a concern for you or you generally don’t put many miles on your vehicle.
  • You enjoy the modern amenities that come with a newer model year vehicle.
  • You are OK with dealing with some of the maintenance needs that might pop up on vehicles with higher mileage.

inspecting a used carMost Important Factor When Buying a Used Car

Though the above tips might help you narrow things down, they aren’t the most important things to consider. More important than the model year or mileage is how well the vehicle has been maintained by the previous owner.

[Read more: What gets inspected in a used Volkswagen 112-point inspection?]

For example, if you’re looking at a used vehicle from only a few model years back, but that has nearly 100,000 miles on it, you’ll want to make sure it’s been while maintained. If you can verify that the previous owner has kept the vehicle well-maintained, and has maybe even taken care of some of the frequent service needs or repairs of a 100,000-mile vehicle, then you can have more peace of mind with your purchase. On the other hand, a new model year vehicle with low mileage may have some modern components, but it may also have been poorly maintained.

So, is it possible to determine whether a used car’s model year or mileage is more important? Not really. Regardless of model year or mileage, the true test of a vehicle’s worth or reliability is more likely determined through the car’s service history. That’s why we recommend finding out everything you can about previous repairs or services, which will give you the best idea of what to expect from vehicle maintenance and value into the future.

[Read more: How to find your Volkswagen VIN and what the numbers mean]