Buying a 5-yr old car with 200k miles?

How can I estimate how many more miles to expect from a 5-year old Kia Rio Cinco with 200k miles? I’m shopping for a reliable & fuel-efficient wagon or hatchback, but can only afford ~ $3,000 max. I saw an ad for a 2005 Kia Rio Cinco with 205,000 miles. It looks/sounds like a great car, and the seller will let me take it to a mechanic I trust. He says it was a flag car for wide-load big-rigs, so it put all those miles in as low-speed highway miles. Is it a waste of time to consider a car with that many miles on it?

“Is it a waste of time to consider a car with that many miles on it?”

Not if the price is right… At say $2500, you can’t go to far wrong…

Thanks for the quick input. But will it be a likely money pit? I can spend $2,500 now, but will be in a very tight spot if the car stops running or needs major work soon. My last car, a '95 Ford Escort w/ 160k miles, needed over $1,000 in maintenance almost annually for the last 5 years. The last straw was when it needed an $1,800 engine rebuild.

I would be very leery if it were an automatic transmission car.

We have had figures reported here of the annual cost of keeping an older car running. Please someone who remembers better correct me, but wasn’t that $1000 a year the figure?

It is bad when money is tight, but it costs so much to have and own and drive a car. You either pay up front for a newer car in top condition, or you pay down the road in maintenance or repairs.

I do not know the reliability of that model, but if it had the maintenance done correctly, it might be worth the risk.

On the other hand, no one can ever guarantee that an older car will need repairs or not. That is the reason they sell for much less when they have high mileage. People simply don’t know, cannot know.

Do be sure to take it to a mechanic you can trust. Look at our Mechanics Files for a recommendation in your area.

What is the blue book value of the car. I think a Kia at 200KM has exhausted its value. It might still go for a while, but could also stop tomorrow. If it has an automatic transmission, I would really check that thoroughly. Also if this engine has a timing belt it would need to be changed probably soon if not yesterday.

I agree with galant that this car is not worth a lot based on the type of vehicle and the mileage. As a dealer trade-in it would be a near worthless wholesale unit that would be disposed of very quickly.

Even if it runs and drives great this does not mean that it doesn’t need some work done. You could safely bet money that it does need a few things, or more than a few.
It may be worth a shot depending on the asking price which is…?

I think that you will change your mind after you test drive a Kia Rio. Keep looking around, there’s other good deals out there.

Yes, irlandes; the Average American spends about $1000-$1200 per year on maintenance, repairs and tires. The average US car would not have 200,000 mile on it, but it would be older than 5 years.

Agree that highway pilot car duty is a near perfect drivng environment since it involves low speeds on the highways. Some might have excessive idling in cold weather waiting for the main truck to get going. A fellow down the street has 3 specially equipped pickups that are pilot vehicles. They look in great shape.

The owner probably maintained this vehicle well, and did not overload it.

In short, if the price is right, buy it, and budget $1200 per year for upkeep!

You cannot believe what folks tell you when they’re selling a car like this. What else could they say except “it was driven slowly as a flag car” ? How else do you get 205,000 miles on a 5 year old car? Did they skip any maintenance? Pass on this one, you can do better. Rocketman