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What's most important with a used car: age or mileage?

(40 Posts)
TakingtheLeap Wed 19-Dec-18 10:25:30

Apologies in advance if this question has been done to death!

Currently looking to replace our 15 year old Honda Jazz (150k miles on clock) with another Jazz. We most likely can't afford anything newer than 10 years old, but I'm torn between, for example, a 10 year old with 80k and a 12 year old with 60k.

I know there are other factors to consider (service history, owners etc), but in general is it better to prioritise getting a newer vehicle or one with less mileage? And is the answer different for a Jazz than for other cars? (I know from experience with our current car that Hondas continue to run well into high figures).

VeniVidiWeeWee Wed 19-Dec-18 11:06:38

At that age overall condition and price is, imho, more important. The car with the lower mileage has only done 5,000 per year. That isn't good for an engine

Fannyfanakerpants Wed 19-Dec-18 12:23:43

Yes, I was going to echo above. With an older car, low mileage isn't a good thing.

TakingtheLeap Wed 19-Dec-18 17:30:44

Thanks - that's a really good point - it hadn't really occurred to me that low mileage could be an actively bad thing. (Though, thinking about it, the issues we have with our current Jazz are definitely down to age rather than mileage - if it weren't for rust and corrosion from too many years by the sea then I reckon it would go for quite a few more miles!)

FartingInTheFence Wed 19-Dec-18 18:02:55

"The car with the lower mileage has only done 5,000 per year. That isn't good for an engine"

What a load of utter camel bollocks. You cannot in any way KNOW how that car has been driven/maintained just from its mileage.

OP - the most important thing about a used car has to be reliability. That you're looking at Honda's ticks that box perfectly.

Depending on price, I'd be happy to jump for the younger car/higher mileage since its likely the price would be better. I'm guessing both are petrol Honda's?

If so, as long as they've both been maintained/serviced properly, like most Honda's, they'll be bombproof for years to come.

VeniVidiWeeWee Wed 19-Dec-18 19:07:38

Farting

It's really depends. If the engine isn't driven far enough to reach its proper operating temperature you will get excessive wear I know I can't know that this is the case but, then again, you don't know that it's not.

FartingInTheFence Wed 19-Dec-18 20:03:25

"If the engine isn't driven far enough to reach its proper operating temperature you will get excessive wear"

Again, more bollocks. You cant get "excessive" wear, if by your own statement it hasnt been "driven far enough". Contradictory in the extreme.

Slightly true for DPF-equipped diesels, not so for gasoline/petrol engines.

Even an idling (petrol) engine can reach its ambient operating temperature and ensure all lubricants flow around it. Doesnt have to be driven at all.

shiningstar2 Wed 19-Dec-18 20:37:44

Personally I would go for the lower mileage. I would presume that lower mileage means less wear and tear. I would think that under average mileage of 5000 a year would mean the car would have the wear and tear of a younger vehicle. Mind you I'm no expert.

MaxTeyon Wed 19-Dec-18 21:10:16

More engine wear occurs when the engine is cold. It can take a good few miles for oil to come up to temp, much longer than the water. A car that has done 5000 2 mile journeys is likely to be more worn than one that has done 200 50 mile ones. Hard to say about a 5000 mile per year car but I’d walk away from one which has only done 2-3000 per year.

ohwellinthatcasetryprunes Wed 19-Dec-18 21:19:49

An older car with reasonable mileage and a full service history is a better bet than one a couple of year younger with 20,000 more miles on the clock.

NotAllIndividuals Wed 19-Dec-18 21:25:44

Check the service book for your current car to check when big maintenance jobs like timing belt and water pump need replacing. It's usually mileage or years whichever is more conservative. Don't buy something "cheap" that someone is offloading before the belt needs replacing, or at least know what you might be hit with costs wise in the first year.

crimsonlake Wed 19-Dec-18 22:39:15

This is an interesting thread and I have the same conundrum. Viewed a Fiesta a couple of days ago, 2015 and under 10,000 miles on the clock, full service history, 1 owner and just had MOT done. However someone also mentioned to me that such a low mileage might not be a good thing as a car needs good runs to maintain the engine . Dilemma?

greendale17 Wed 19-Dec-18 22:40:12

I would go for lower mileage without a doubt.

greendale17 Wed 19-Dec-18 22:41:20

*However someone also mentioned to me that such a low mileage might not be a good thing as a car needs good runs to maintain the engine.*

^Complete nonsense. I average 6k a year, had different cars for more than 15 years and nothing has ever gone wrong with my engines.

Ollivander84 Wed 19-Dec-18 22:46:30

This is going back but anyway! In 2001 I got a G reg car (so 1989) with 30,000 miles
Best little car I ever had, I sold it in 2006 and it carried on happily for years after that

Check service history, when the timing belt needs doing. I have a treatment done with my service that cleans the injectors out, protects the new oil etc so it lowers emissions and improves MPG. I don't pay for it but it's about £40 and I think it's worth doing every so often

MountainPeakGeek Wed 19-Dec-18 23:07:51

If they look in similar condition, I'd definitely go for the younger one with the higher mileage. This is said as an owner of multiple ancient Hondas. As you've seen, it's often rust that gets them.

We currently have a 2005 CR-V and a 2005 Civic. Both are running fine at around 150,000 miles. The CR-V is getting rusty though.

Prior to our current CR-V we had a 17 year old one, and the engine was running perfectly when we sold it at 230,000 miles, but the vehicle looked its age.

Before that one, our first CR-V did 280,000 miles in 15 years, before it basically fell apart through rust (again, the engine still ran fine!)

crimsonlake Wed 19-Dec-18 23:13:32

Just read this - An older car with lower mileage has most likely been driven on shorter journeys around town, which don't allow the engine to heat up fully, puts more wear on the clutch and blocks up the diesel particulate filter, which is expensive to replace. I am now reconsidering the car I had my eye on.

Bigonesmallone3 Wed 19-Dec-18 23:21:36

Iv only done 5k miles per year for the last 6 years in my last two cars (no the first one didn't die, wanted an upgrade)
Iv never had any problems..
an old couple I know just sold there nearly 19 year old green corsa and that had done 100k miles they never had a problems, I still see the bloody thing about..
I would go lower mileage

FartingInTheFence Thu 20-Dec-18 05:47:48

@MountainPeakGeek

Like you, a great Honda fan here. Newer Honda's dont have any rust issues, which is great considering their engines seem to last forever!

@crimsonlake "An older car with lower mileage has most likely been driven on shorter journeys around town, which don't allow the engine to heat up fully, puts more wear on the clutch and blocks up the diesel particulate filter, which is expensive to replace. "

What utter horseshit - not one bit of that applies if the car is a petrol/automatic.

Honestly, some of the concepts about "wear/tear" on an engine on this thread are amazingly bizarre and stupid.

crimsonlake Thu 20-Dec-18 07:38:49

I would be very happy to be proved wrong Fartingintheface, however I have read a few articles all saying exactly that. Also my friend who worked at Ford's for 40 years said the same thing.

MaxTeyon Thu 20-Dec-18 07:56:17

What utter horseshit - not one bit of that applies if the car is a petrol/automatic.

Of course a petrol engine won’t get up to temperature if only driven short journeys. It’s not rocket science or do you dispute that more engine wear occurs when an engine is not yet up to temp?

OrcinusOrca Thu 20-Dec-18 14:47:12

I don't think you can tell very easily the significance of high or low miles. Some people drive so abysmally you could have a low mileage car that is absolutely knackered.

My car had 23,000 on it at five years old when I got it. It's now nine years old and has 65,000 on it. Without going through prior MOTs, you'd have no idea whether it consistently did 7k a year or whether it did nothing for six years and then I've mullered it the last couple.

I'd be looking at what type of work the car would need by a certain point and if there were recipes eg. When was the cam belt due and was it done etc. Condition of the car will give you an indicator as to how well looked after it has been, I'd prioritise things like that.

CruelAndUnusualParenting Thu 20-Dec-18 16:06:41

At that age the difference between a 60k car and an 80k car isn't that significant. If you knew whether one had pottered around town and the other had mostly done "proper" journeys that could be taken into account, but realistically you don't know that. While there will be a difference in wear, on a modern Honda engine is unlikely to be that significant.

Given that choice, I would say that the big differentiator would be condition and service history. If they appear to be in similar condition and one has receipts for all the regular services at about the right intervals going back years and the other has little or no history then buy the one with the proper history.

FartingInTheFence Thu 20-Dec-18 18:04:02

@crimsonlake With all due respect to your friends 40 years at Ford, they have never been in the top 5 for reliability in any motoring journal/index in that time. Ford are in no position to lecture anyone on reliability.

@MaxTeyon - Its diesel engines that take time to reach ambient temperatures. I drive Civic (2017), HRV (2016) and CRV (2016) - all petrol. I drive a 3 mile journey to work - the car is completely up to operating temperature in that time.

And no - I do not agree that an engine will wear more if its not up to temperature if the engine is petrol. Certain in my 25+ years experience of Honda cars (all petrol/gasoline).

Diesel engines are another kettle of fish because they rely on the entire concept of thermal efficiency hence why they are unsuitable for short/stop/start journeys - that is what then leads to modern diesels experiencing blocked DPFs.

VeniVidiWeeWee Thu 20-Dec-18 21:35:40

Farting

You're still wrong:

www.physicsforums.com/threads/why-most-engine-wear-occurs-during-cold-start-up.929237/

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