4 Factors to Consider Before Buying Used Vehicles

Buying a previously owned or “used” vehicle can come with many questions and even a bit of anxiety. One of the questions we most often hear at Casey’s in Sterling, VA, is “What is the highest mileage you should accept for a used vehicle?” Unfortunately, buying a previously owned vehicle is not as simple as mileage. Numerous factors should come into account when purchasing a used car, truck, van, or SUV, and we are here to give you that list!


Generally speaking, the average driver puts about 12,000 miles on their vehicle per year. With that in mind, a buyer might think purchasing a vehicle from 2016 is a safe bet if it only has 50,000 miles on it. Obviously, that isn’t always the case, but it helps to give you a frame of reference. If your goal is to keep the car for 8 years, that puts you at about 150,000 miles. You’ll need to ask yourself do you want that car at 150k miles? 

Since more mileage means more usage, it does come with its red flags. A car or truck that has driven for many miles means wear and tear. So, it’s easy to think you’re getting a deal if you happen upon an older vehicle with low mileage. But don’t go getting excited about those low miles. There are other factors to take into account. 

Age of the Vehicle

Let’s say you found yourself a 2002 car with low mileage. You might be thrilled as you think you found yourself a unicorn ride, but things are rarely what they seem. Old automotive parts wear out because they age. Elements still get into the various moving parts and cause damage. So, no. Low mileage isn’t the best factor. Time wears all. Seals dry out and crack, metal parts corrode and rust, fluids degrade and absorb moisture. The additional factor in all of this is the service history.

Service History 

One of the most crucial elements to buying a used vehicle is knowing its use and service history. You’ll want to know which maintenance services, repairs, and how often each has been done on the car. In turn, that tells you if the vehicle has been well-taken care of during its ownership. 

As a side note, keep your vehicle’s service records if you intend to sell it in the future!

Abuse or Usage 

Along with mileage, age, and service history, you’ll also want to know the vehicle’s use. Was it standard run-of-the-mill commuting and weekend ride, or was it taken into more extreme areas? Activities such as camping, off-roading, towing, high traffic, or long trips, etc., can all have additional effects.

When tackling rough terrain or traveling long distances, our vehicles take a beating. Knowing how it was is driven and handled can help you make a measured decision in the buying process.

Pre-purchase Inspections at Casey’s Automotive in Chantilly, Virginia

Buying a pre-owned vehicle doesn’t have to be a stressful event. In Chantilly, VA, Casey’s offers our customers pre-purchase inspections on used cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs. If you are thinking about buying a used vehicle, contact us for a pre-inspection. Our team will take all of the above factors into account so that you can feel better about your purchase. Contact us to schedule a pre-purchase inspection on your possible purchase! 


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