By Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

March 22, 2023
Is Buying a Car with 200k Bad

Is Buying a Car with 200k Miles Bad? Well, it depends on your budget.

As a car fanatic and enthusiast, I stumbled upon Facebook posts of cars that reached 200k miles. I firmly believe that proper maintenance and care will allow cars to get 100k miles and more.

Does that mean that high-mileage cars are a good buy? We will explore this burning question if it's really worth getting a "beater" car with over 200k miles?

We'll dive into looking at the pros and cons of buying a high-mileage car. I'll share with you exactly what affects a car's lifespan and what to look out for.

So, if you're buying a used car, I'll cover the key things to consider with an ultra-high mileage vehicle.

Facts: Is Buying A Used Car With 200K Miles Bad?

Top 5 Weird Facts, Statistics, and Trends Related to 'Is Buying a Used Car with 200k Miles Bad?'

  1. Only a handful of cars survive past the 200,000-mile mark - Kelley Blue Book.
  2. Modern vehicles can easily pass the 200,000 miles with proper maintenance - AutoWeek.
  3. The average age of a vehicle is about 12 years or 125,000 miles - Consumer Reports
  4. Replacement parts for high-mileage vehicles may be harder to find and more expensive - Jalopnik.
  5. A used car may never have its full resale value, regardless of condition - UsedCars.com.

What to Consider in a Car or Truck with 200,000 miles?

Do you want to buy a used car, but it has over 200,000 miles on the clock? You might ask yourself, "Is Buying a Car with 200k Bad?"

You're not alone. I would have to tread carefully if I were to purchase a vehicle with 200,000 miles.

Purchasing a used vehicle with high miles can be a gamble, but it all depends on multiple factors.

The most important thing to consider is its service history. Miles only matters as much if maintenance was done on time and properly. Most of today's cars and trucks can last 100k+ miles.

At 150k miles, you will need to start considering if it's worth keeping or if you will be facing major repairs. 

Sales, Gig workers, and delivery drivers can easily rack up miles year after year. Most of these miles are on the highway and are typically less taxing on the engine, suspension, and components.

The brand and models have a great track record. 

Researching the make and model

When purchasing a pre-owned car with 200k miles, I recommend sticking with tried and true brands.

Technically, any vehicle can exceed 200k+ miles if money is thrown at it, but you want to choose the right brand and model to minimize repairs. Remember, the age of the vehicle, how it was used, and maintenance are all important factors.

Here are some tips for finding the right high-mileage car or truck:

  • Search for reviews online to see what owners have to say and suggest.
  • Check the Carfax to see if any major repairs were done. This can be good if major components have recently been replaced or refreshed. 
  • Evaluate the future cost of parts and repairs. If you can wrench, you can save a boatload of money doing it yourself. 

I will cover in the next section the BEST used cars and trucks to consider if you are planning to get a high-mileage vehicle. These are based on industry data, but any car with good maintenance records can be a good buy. 

Top Cars and Trucks that can Last 200k Based on Data and Ownership:

  • Toyota Camry - Excellent choice and is commonly used for taxis and uber drivers for outstanding reliability
  • Toyota Avalon - My uncle owns one that is approaching 200k and is a testament to the trouble-free ownership overall. 
  • Honda Accord - Two of my friends own Honda Accords with over 200k miles. One was 223k miles and going on strong, and the other was 205k with minor oil leaks. 
  • Toyota Land Cruiser - A great platform with great engineering. They hold their resale value, and 200k miles is just a break-in period. Some can go up to 300k and more.
  • Toyota Highlander - A great option for SUVs and carries Toyota's reliability. 
  • Ford Expedition - American tough. The Ford Expedition has a long history of being reliable and long-lasting engines—a great choice for families or towing. 
  • Ford F-150 - It's no wonder that many drivers choose the Ford F-150. They are VERY reliable, and the parts are easy to replace.
  • Toyota 4Runner  - It is a great option for drivers and a huge community supporting upgrades, repairs, and customizations.
  • Chevy Tahoe and Suburban - I also considered this a great option for hauling and storage. It's obvious why municipalities choose Tahoes for their Police Departments. I recommend the PPV, Police Pursuit Vehicle, edition for more performance. 

Benefits of Buying a Car with 200,000 Miles

High-mileage cars can have their benefits. They can be bulletproof, last hundreds of thousands of miles, and have quality parts.

So while the thought of 200,000 miles or more on a vehicle may seem like it is nearing the end of its life, there are some key benefits of considering one. 

  1. Cost-effective: They're much cheaper than low-mileage cars. Great for tight budgets and have already reached the bottom of the depreciation curve.
  2. Better for the environment: Extending the lifespan of an old model conserves resources and automotive waste.
  3. Character: High-mileage cars have more history, making ownership more special if they had a long and colorful journey across the country.
  4. Insurance rates: Since they've depreciated, you should see lower rates for high-mileage vehicles. However, check to see the actual premium rates.
  5. Servicing: Most Major Repairs should have been addressed. If the vehicle passes inspection or PPI, you should be able to enjoy the drive for months or years.

IMPORTANT: Have a mechanic inspect it before buying. That way, you know it's a good solid vehicle.

What can go wrong at 200k Miles? Major Repairs to Consider

High-mileage cars and trucks often come with potential issues that may cost you a lot of money. However, I used to think that 200k miles is too high but as a car guy, it may surprise you the number of vehicles today that can last a long time.

Here are the biggest considerations before buying:

  1. Head Gasket - A bad head gasket is when the oil and coolant mix. In many cases, it's better to replace the engine than to rebuild it. 
  2. Transmission - a bad transmission can be expensive to replace. If the vehicle you are checking out has a wonky transmission, I would walk away from it and look for another.  
  3. Rust - Rust is common with high-mileage vehicles. Any excessive amount on the undercarriage and body panels will signal me to skip this.  
  4. Brake Lines - Besides rust, the brake line might be rusted out. The brakes should be working, and no drips. Replacing them might be expensive if it runs under the bell housing or subframe. 
  5. AC Compressor - Having a working AC and heater is important. A new compressor or repair could end up costing thousands of dollars. Be sure to check it thoroughly. 
  6. Bad engine compression - Worn components can give low compression. This can cause the vehicle to run very rough. In addition, the exhaust smoke will be black, blue, or greyish-white. This results in poor engine performance.

Age of Components

  1. Suspension - 200k miles can take a toll on the suspension. When you test drive, make sure that there are no noises or rattles that may indicate that parts will need to be replaced. 
  2. Tires should be changed every 6-10 years to be safe. Check the tire wear for dry rot and tread life remaining. 
  3. Oil / Sludge - High mileage can lead to oil sludge if oil changes are not regular. Oil flush treatments can help clean out the build-up.
  4. Catalytic Converters - Catalytic converters have a lifespan. Be sure to have the mechanic check the vehicle and its catalytic converter. If it needs to be changed, it might be an expensive repair.

It's important to know the car's life expectancy and maintenance history.  

How to Determine if a High Mileage Car is Worth Buying

Are you purchasing a used car? I'll share my tips on deciding if a high-mileage car is a good choice, uncover myths about them, and give you my recommendations for making an informed purchase. 

Inspecting the car thoroughly

Inspecting a Used Car Before Buying

Inspect it thoroughly, especially if it's crossed the 200,000-mile mark. Consider the age too. Here's how to inspect it:

  1. Check the exterior: Look for any rust. Rust is the enemy and will continue to spread under panels and paint if you are not careful. 
  2. Engine trouble is common at high miles if the vehicle is not maintained. The entire engine should start and run smoothly. Look at the exhaust color. White Smoke typically is a head gasket. If there is any color, I will walk away from purchasing. 
  3. Check the AC and Heater: While the interior is important. The HVAC system of the vehicle can be an expensive repair. Turn on the AC and heater to check if they work.
  4. Check the paperwork: Check inspection sticker, smog, and routine maintenance are up to date or available. Cross-reference the vehicle history report for any accidents or major repairs. Ask the seller why they are selling.

Remember: The 200,000-mile mark or age aren't the only factors. High-mileage cars can still be reliable if they've been well maintained. Even Low-mileage cars can have trouble if they're poorly maintained.

Emotion: Don't let the excitement of getting a great deal on a used car impact your judgment. Take the time to check maintenance records and get a pre-purchase inspection to save you from a money pit.

Insurance for High Mileage Cars

Are 200k-mile used cars a bad buy? Car owners often ponder this question. High-mileage cars can be cost-effective. Still, many worry about reliability, maintenance costs, and insurance rates. 

Finding the right car insurance for a high-mileage car

Finding the right car insurance can be tricky when buying a used car with 200k miles. Insurers are understandably cautious about covering these older vehicles with high mileage, as they may require costly repairs. But it is possible to find great, affordable coverage! Here are some tips:

  • Research insurers: Different insurance companies vary in what they offer. Look for those that specialize in older cars. For example, Hagerty and Heacock offer coverage like this. 
  • Lower coverage: If budget is an issue, consider lowering your coverage levels. Comprehensive coverage is best, but less protection may be necessary. Weigh out the cost of replacing your car with your purchase price. It might not be worth it, depending on your deductible. 
  • Maintenance: High mileage cars can last with the right care. The trick is to find an insurer who'll work with you to get quality coverage at an affordable price.

Pro tip: Compare quotes from multiple providers to get the best deal. Simply Google and reach out to companies for a quote. 

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, a car can last up to 200,000 miles or more if maintained. Buying a used car with 200k miles can be good or bad, depending on the factors. Researching the vehicle, its maintenance history and driving conditions is essential.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it a bad idea to buy a used car with 200k miles?

A: There are many factors. It depends on the car's condition and how well it has been maintained. A high-mileage vehicle can still be in good condition if it has been well-cared for and regularly serviced.

Q: Are there any benefits to buying a car with 200k miles?

A: If the car has been well-maintained, a high mileage car could have lower depreciation and be less expensive to insure. It could also provide great value for the money.

Q: How do I know if a used car with 200k miles is worth buying?

A: Consider the car's condition, number of owners, maintenance history, and any potential repairs that may be needed. It can also be helpful to research the make and model to see if it has a history of reliability issues.

Q: How long can a car with 200k miles last?

A: With proper maintenance and care, a car with 200k miles can last for many more years and miles. However, it may require more frequent repairs and a higher level of maintenance.

Q: Will buying a car with 200k miles save me money?

A: Buying a car with 200k miles could save you money upfront, but it could also cost you more in the long run if it requires frequent repairs and maintenance. Be sure to check the service history and see the car in person. 

Q: Should I get a used car with 200k miles inspected by a mechanic?

A: It's always a good idea to have a used car inspected by a trusted mechanic via a PPI, regardless of mileage. This can help identify any potential issues or necessary repairs.

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Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

About the author

I am a passionate car enthusiast who likes to help people save money and avoid headaches when it comes to cars. I believe that everyone can find the right car at the right price. I share my tips and experience so you can learn quickly and maximize your next SUV, truck or car purchase.

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