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Mileage on Used Cars

My husband and I are interested in buying a used minivan (Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey) and were wondering what mileage we should not go over. We found a used Sienna from 04 with 85,000 miles on it - is this too much? We want to balance a reasonable car payment without having to anticipate major maintenance costs.

I would say not over 200,000 after that its unknown. We have many people posting with 400K trouble free miles on their 60’s vintage automobiles.

Mini-vans eat transmissions so check this out carefully and the Odyssey has a big appetite for transmissions and general repairs and maintiance on the Odyssey probably come at a higher price after all it is “The Cadillac Of Mini -Vans” (a title it stole from the Lumina APV and its cousins)

Honda Odyssey owners are on this site often about auto transmission problems with the Odyssey. Based what I’ve read I wouldn’t buy or recommend any used Odyssey. Honda took care of many rebuilds under warranty but the second time they go it is on the owner. Expensive repair.

Haven’t heard of any problems with the Sienna. Go for Toyota for a used one and avoid Honda’s Odyssey.

Is this too much? Too much for what?

What matters more than anything on a used car is not the miles, it’s the maintenance the vehicle has had in the past. Or not had.

All vehicles come with a maintenance schedule, and if the schedule is followed by the owner, and all necessary service is performed according to the schedule, 85K miles is no big deal.

If, on the other hand, someone drove the van 85K miles and did little more than change the oil now and then, it wouldn’t be a vehicle I’d want to buy.

The difficulty is in finding out about the maintenance history. Unless you personally know the previous owner(s) it’s sometimes impossible. A vehicle that comes with a complete maintenance history (if you can find one) is one I’d pay attention to.

Both the Odyssey and the Sienna have timing belts on their engines, and these belts need to be replaced periodically, usually somewhere between 75K and 100K miles. This is something to consider, because it’s about a $700 job, and if you purchase a van that needs a timing belt soon after you buy it this will add to your cost.

Don’t take anyone’s word that the belt has been replaced. Only a receipt for the work is proof. You can’t see the belt, so you can’t inspect it, and they often look brand new right up until the moment they break.

Transmission service is also critical on these vehicles, and the service interval is probably about 30K miles, so, even if this has been done in the past it will have to be done again soon. This is not very expensive, but it is very important. Again, if the van has been driven 85K miles and never had the transmission serviced there could be big problems in the future.

Having said all that, properly cared for Honda and Toyota vehicles are capable of being driven 250,000 to 300,000 miles, so 85K miles, all by itself, doesn’t mean that much. It’s all in the maintenance history.

With proper Maintenance And The Records To Verify It, 85,000 Shouldn’t Count This Vehicle Out Of Consideration.

The higher the miles, the lower the price should be, so the miles can work to your advantage.

Are you working with a dealer or individual. An individual should have records or I’d be wary. A dealer may not be able to provide records, but possibly some story and I’d be wary unless you are given a satisfactory warranty. A dealer should have no problem giving a warranty if the vehicle is as good as they say it is.

Try for an “extended road test”. I keep cars over night at least if buying from a lot.

If something doesn’t sit right, walk away and keep looking.

Also, most people advise paying a competent mechanic, familiar with this brand, to thoroughly check the vehicle prior to purchase.


We had no complaints with our 1st-generation Sienna. The 2nd-generation one you’re looking at should be fine.

My wife has a 2006 Sienna. The only warranty work done was to replace the radio/CD a week after we bought it and an adjustment on the sliding doors to fix a rattle.

One thing to note, the 2004 - 2006 Sienna has a 7yr/90k timing belt replacement. Unlike the 1st generation Sienna 3.0 V6, the 3.3 V6 is an interference engine. Find out if the timing belt/water pump has been replaced or take into account the cost when negotiating for a Sienna in this mileage range.

Ed B.

If you want reasonable maintenance costs, I suggest you not buy a minivan.

I would buy a Sienna with 85,000 miles on it, but with any minivan, you have to expect high maintenance costs. With the compact engine compartment of a minivan, getting to the engine to do maintenance increases the cost of labor.

If you want low maintenance costs, look at crossover SUVs and cars with proven reputations for reliability. The Odyssey and the Sienna have this reputation, but they are not easy to work on.

I would say mileage is not much of a problem. Far more important is how the car was treated and did it get all the recommended maintenance when it should?