If you’re buying a used car, the mileage doesn’t tell the whole story

If you’re buying a used car, the mileage doesn’t tell the whole story

Many might hesitate before buying a used car that has already got 100,000 kilometres or far more on the odometer. But think twice, as a higher mileage is not necessarily bad news, says a German car association.

Rather, look twice if you are considering an older car that seems to have been driven remarkably little, so that you don’t fall for any trickery involving the dials.

What really counts are the car’s general condition and how the vehicle has been used beforehand, says Germany’s ADAC club.

Take a long-distance car that is started once in the morning and then runs for five hours at a stretch at optimum operating temperature. That may be in better shape than a family car that has only ever driven three kilometres to the bakery or school and has therefore experienced many unhealthy cold starts.

To gain an objective picture of the vehicle you are looking at, you’ll need to look beyond the odometer and the car’s age.

Often, depending on where you live, you may have a local garage that will assess the vehicle for you. Costs naturally vary but could be around $100.

Research has shown batteries, alternators and coil springs to be most common parts to fail on a car, while rapidly advancing electronics have increased the likelihood of more complicated and expensive faults.

If you’re buying an electric, then you’ll also need to take a close look at battery health. Taking the car for a test drive for a few hours to see how quickly the battery drains likely isn’t an option, so to be able to a specialist to determine the so-called State of Health (SoH), an independent battery check with a certificate is possibly your best option.

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