The High-Mileage Used Car: Yes or No?
For sale: 1997 Honda Accord. Power everything. Sunroof. Air conditioning. CD player. Cloth seats. Great condition! $3,000.
I had to call, just out of curiosity. It seemed like a decent deal. But one detail wasn’t mentioned…
Me: What’s the mileage?
Seller: Oh, mileage doesn’t matter. It’s a Honda. These things run forever.
Me: Right, but what’s the mileage?
Seller: Well, just past 200,000.
Me: Ouch. That’s a lot. Proper maintenance?
Seller: Regular oil changes, timing belt done at 170,000, tires and brakes done as needed.
Me: Everything else is stock?
Seller: Yes. Like I said, these cars run forever. I use it as my daily driver, no troubles.
The Accord is one of those cars that will easily go 200,000 miles and most likely happily chug its way up to 300,000 with very little in the way of expensive repairs. Or it’ll send a rod through the block, and that’ll be that. The safe bet, though, is to assume a car like this used Accord, while advanced in age, still has plenty of go in its giddyup. Regarding the price, similar CarGurus used listings are priced at about $2,000, which seems more reasonable. For that, I think the Accord would be a fine around-town commuter.
Many other cars that have reached the 200,00 mile mark do so on their last set of wheels. A Pontiac Grand Am that’s churned through the odometer twice? No thanks. An old Ford Explorer? Better keep mine closer to the 100,000 mark.
For real longevity, look to the usual suspects from Honda and Toyota, along with the diesel versions of the Volkswagen Passat and Jetta. I’ve also seen Subaru Foresters crest the 200K mark and wouldn’t hesitate to buy a high-mileage used one that’s been well cared for.
Then again, I’ve seen vehicles that have no business topping 200K get there through proper maintenance and care. In these modern times, it’s not unrealistic to assume any car can pass the 200,000-mile mark, it’s just a matter of how good of shape it’ll be in when it gets there.
Have you purchased, or driven, a car that passed 200,000 miles?