One of the most common things that starts wandering around in many people’s heads when they buy a second-hand car is the mileage number. It is, after all, a figure which gives you a clear indication of what kind of use – to some extent – the car has had throughout its life. And logic would dictate that the high mileage cars are the ones to avoid, right? After all, if you find a car which has ticked into six figures, then surely the curse of the wear and tear rabbit will be biting the car’s internals, and your bank balance in the near future. Well, perhaps not exactly. Here are some other arguably more important tips you should follow when seeking out your next dream ride.
Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? We all know that service history is an important aspect to buying a second-hand car, and if the car has had special service TLC done by the owner themselves, it’s always great to see proof that they’ve done some decent tinkering with decent parts. If they have the resources, you should always ask for receipts for past parts and/or services to be seen. But more importantly, service history importance can vary from car to car, as we are about to see.
Unleash your stereotypes
By being internally judgemental, you can give yourselves pretty good guidance by instinct alone. It’s a sixth sense that all petrolheads should develop, as it can have some pretty good payback. Let’s say, for whatever reason, you are purchasing yourselves a bog standard Honda Jazz/Fit. Your sixth sense should kick in; you need to ask yourself: ‘what kind of person drives this thing?’ Your answer should be ‘the older generation’, if you were to generalise drivers to the extreme. Let’s face it, older people (in the naive general sense) are less likely to be actively changing the air filters, or making sure that they are changing the oil every 5,000 miles. These are the kind of cars where the mileage would matter quite a bit more than, say, an R34 Skyline GTR. Arguably, this is a car which is typically owned by car enthusiasts – people who know what they’re doing, and know how to care for their car. For sure you could say that not all R34 owners will be careful and affectionate, which is sadly true, but you could at least be a damn bit more confident than someone selling their Corsa ‘Limited Edition’ with equal mileage.
Briefly coming back to the service history thing, you might want to consider how the cars would typically be driven. A Honda S2000 with no history at all could be a ticking time bomb, due to the way they are often driven hard (and rightly so, goddammit). On the other hand, you might not want to worry about history as much on an old Land Rover, as they are easy to fiddle with, should something go wrong. Use your car stereotyping skills on all cars to determine how important the service history should be!
Analyse the seller
Again, another fairly rude and intrusive method if you didn’t keep this to yourself, but it’s such an important factor when it comes to purchasing a car. Let’s imagine two scenarios: you have this sketchy-looking guy who’s selling a car with 20,000 miles on the clock, but he doesn’t know too much about the car – he has hundreds of other cars to remember about, after all. On the flip side, we have this fastidious chap who’s just put up his “pride and joy” classic BMW 635i on an enthusiast’s forum for the car. The clincher? This baby has 150,000 miles clocked. I’d know who I’d rather shake hands with. Try and quiz the owner intensely about the car, even the more personal questions. I don’t know about you, but to know that a previous owner gave the car genuine love and affection gives me a good piece of mind.
At the end of the day, I’m no Mike Brewer when it comes to buying and selling cars. But I hope I have shown you that it’s great to look beyond mileage sometimes, especially when you find your dream car in a mint condition – even if it has got 120k on it. So far as I can see, low mileage is just an excuse to slap on a much higher price. If that car has received more love than the owner’s significant other, then mileage is just a number!
Why You Should Stop Giving A Damn About Mileage When Purchasing A Car Reviewed by Jack Cooper on 15:56 Rating: