I’m looking to buy a used vehicle – probably a 2-3 year old Honda CRV or Element (currently own a 99 CRV w/ 170K miles). I’d like to find one with low mileage, but most seem to have 50K or more. Is there a rule of thumb or guideline for mileage when looking at used vehicles. I don’t do my own repairs. I realize this is a tough question, but everyone has an opinion, right? So I’d like yours. Thanks.
The average driver drives 12,000 miles per year. A 3 year old vehicle with 50K sounds a little high but about right. Don’t base your decision on miles alone, however, a 2 year old car with 50K seems like a bit much to me. Make sure they have a record showing maintenance and repairs are completed as shown in the owners manual.
I usually figure 15k per year as being fairly average. As such, I’d expect a 3 year old car to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 thousand miles. You’re going to be out of warranty unless they offer an extended factory warranty on it (some do. . For a price) and so it’s important to keep in mind that mileage isn’t the only thing to worry about. I’d rather have a well-cared-for car with 90k miles than one with 30k miles that was beaten on from day 1.
Look at a new version of the same vehicle (CRV). The market for used vehicles now is bizarre–many are selling for only a couple of thousand less than comparable new vehicles. This is especially true of crossovers and minivans.
If you buy used, buy “Certified Used” from Honda–this gives you a 100000 mile/7year powertrain warranty and 1-year bumper to bumper warranty–not like you’ll need it with a Honda.
The much overrated Honda’s are able to command ridiculous prices on the used market…There are very few 2-3 year old vehicles on the market. Few new cars were sold in 2008-2009. So considering the prices they are asking for these well-used vehicles, you might be better off just buying a new one…You get a warranty, the latest safety features, generous financing…
There is no guidline really as there are many late model, low miles vehicles floating around out there with issues so to speak. It all depends on how the vehicle was driven and maintained and the answer to that can be difficult, if not impossible, to determine.
Many vehicles with 100k miles on them are in far better shape than others with only 20k miles on them and the badge on the rear end of the car doesn’t guarantee you a problem free ride.
A thorough inspection pre-purchase helps but even that is not a slam dunk.
How well it was maintained is the key. 50k miles is NOT a lot of miles. I’m currently average 35k/yr…and that’s low for me.
The lower the mileage the higher price you’ll pay. You’ll find that manufacturers that have given their owners less problems over the years demand higher prices. Based on our ownership of Honda’s…Even counting for the two timing belt changes…we put less then 20% in maintenance/repairs as many of our relatives and their “Domestic brand” vehicles.
If you want a low mileage CR-V or Element, look on a dealer’s lot. They will retain low mileage trad-ins for resale. Most new car dealers have web sites. Click on the link below and then click on ‘Find a Dealer’ at the top. Follow instructions to find dealers near you. You might also try different car brands to check their used car lot, too.
Most leases of new cars include 1000 miles a month, so a 3 year old car, fresh off a lease, should typically have 32,000 - 36,000 miles. If the person drives it too much and exceeds the lease, they can pay a big penalty, so some try to sell their cars themselves before the end of the lease, because they can buy it for a stated price in the lease. If they can match or beat that price, they are ahead selling it. Dealers keep really good returned leased cars to sell themselves, so the 32,000 - 36,000 mile 3 year old CR-Vs are going to be at dealers for big prices. The other writers here are right that a new car, financed through a credit union or maybe with a bargain rate through a dealer, can sometimes be a reasonable choice.
Caddyman made a good point. If you’re looking for a 2-3 year old CRV or Element, don’t hesitate to compare the price and the payments to some of the new econocars that are on the market. It may just be that you can get a brand new vehicle in the same price range as what you’ll pay for the subject vehicles used, especially if there are promotional interest rates available for the new vehicles.
I live in Rural Nevada and we put some mileage on our vehicles but its all highway mileage. I once owned a 1992 Plymouth Laser and when I bought it, it was 4 years old and had 70K miles on it but the engine was clean. No sludge or any signs of wear and tear on it. I owned that car for 6 years, drove all over the state of Nevada with it put 120K miles on it and kept up with the maintanence on it and when I traded it in at 190K miles, it still ran good. With cars, it’s all about whether the previous owner kept up with service on it. In my experiance, city driving seems to put more wear and tear on a car with all the stop and go traffic.
Last year this time we tried to buy a 2-4 yr old CRV with less than 50K miles on it. We eventually bought a brand new one for the reasons mentioned. The discount on the used one was not worth the risk. We paid 10% more for a new one.