Why Car Mileage Reading Is Important When Buying a Used Car

car mileage

Purchasing pre-owned vehicles can be quite a challenging endeavor. For this reason, we thought it would be helpful to provide potential buyers with some valuable tips when it comes to purchasing used cars in 2021. And while we talked about many different topics in that article, focusing on mileage, in particular, can help you make a more informed decision regarding the best used car available.

The odometer, or the instrument that measures the total distance the vehicle has traveled, can be quite tricky to understand. Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to it than just reading the numbers. 

To help you understand everything better, we’ve prepared a brief discussion on the importance of reading a used car’s mileage before going through with the purchase.

Understanding Car Mileage and the Odometer

The first thing you’ll want to consider when purchasing a used car is the amount of wear and tear it has gone through. And while you can simply ask the seller about this, you can use better, more objective methods. 

As we’ve previously mentioned, the odometer measures the total distance that a vehicle has traveled since it was manufactured. It does this by displaying the number in miles. What you need to realize is that high mileage doesn’t necessarily mean that the car is in poor condition. This is because other factors play into this, especially the age of the vehicle itself.

On average, vehicles travel between 12,000 miles to 19,000 miles every year. If a car has traveled less than that every year, it’s likely that it is still in good condition. In contrast, cars with higher mileage tend to be in less optimal condition than vehicles with lower mileage. 

While vehicles with high mileage may be much more affordable, they will likely need much more maintenance and repairs in the future. For example, the transmission, fuel pump, and timing belt will likely need a complete replacement for vehicles over 100,000 miles. Make sure to factor in these elements when figuring out your budget.

Things to Watch Out For

While it can be quite easy to read odometers, you should be wary of dealers or sellers who want you to pay significantly more than what the car is actually worth. Unfortunately, there are ways to manipulate the odometer to make it display lower mileage numbers. 

It’s also possible for the odometer itself to be faulty. This is why you should be thorough when examining a car’s mileage. Instead of just looking at the odometer, you can also take a look at the car’s documentation. A vehicle’s history report includes a car’s mileage over the years. With these reports in hand, you will be able to spot any inconsistencies or aberrations.


Hopefully, the information that we’ve listed above proves to be helpful when choosing the best used car your money can buy. If you’re looking at used car listings or examining a potential vehicle, being thorough goes a long way. While looking at the odometer is a good start, be sure to cross-reference everything with official documentation. 

If you’re ready to shop for used cars for sale in New Hampshire, visit Lewis Motor Sales today and let us help you find the perfect vehicle!