I can only afford to spend $2,000 for a car. I know that anything I buy in that price range is going to have lots of miles on it. How important is the mileage on a used car?
Mileage is probably the single most important factor in determining the value of a used car. The "normal" mileage for a used car is about 12,000 miles for each year of its life. In other words, a five-year-old vehicle should have about 60,000 miles on its odometer. (In locales where people do a lot of driving, such as Southern California, this mileage allotment is increased to 15,000 miles per year.)
So when looking for a used car, try to find a vehicle with the least amount of miles you can. If the mileage on the car is less than its "normal" allotment, then that vehicle may be a good buy.
Caution: "Odometer tampering" is a growing problem nationwide. If you find a used car with very low miles on its odometer for its age, you have reason to be suspicious. Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to verify if the mileage on a vehicle's odometer is accurate or not.
Tip: To insure that you're not getting an out-and-out "lemon", have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before you buy it. He'll be able to tell you what problems the vehicle has now or is likely to have in the near future.
Car Buyer's FAQ
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