Q: “I have the opportunity to buy a vehicle that is basically new. It is last year’s model but is half the price of a new one off the lot. The only thing is that it has 100,000 km on it (it was used for deliveries). They said it was well maintained and that most of the mileage is from highway driving. What do you think, is it a good deal?” – Rick S.
A: This can be a tough decision! When you see a car that looks new but shows high mileage on the odometer it can cause quite a conflict in your sensibilities. My main advice to used car seekers is that kilometres are kilometres, and the actual age of the vehicle is a secondary concern. Buying a high mileage car is a bit like buying used running shoes that have already run 10 marathons. The wear and tear on the soles is the same no matter how many years it took them to run the races. As far as the reliability of a used car, I would much rather buy an older car with fewer kilometres than a new car with high mileage. As the odometer creeps up there a quite a few pieces of regular maintenance that will be required and there is not really any way around that.
Another issue with this scenario is the issue of maintenance. They say it was well maintained, but for a car that has driven over 100,000km in a year or so, it would have required an oil change at least every month. I would ask for service records and as many details as possible before even considering it. Intensively used cars need extra maintenance but service vehicles don’t always get the attention they need in a timely manner because they are needed on the job.
If you do decide to take the plunge on a high mileage vehicle, be sure to bring it in for a purchase inspection first. It might be the best few bucks you have ever spent considering the size of the investment.
-Andrew Kralt (Parkside Technician)