How Much Mileage Is Too Much Mileage When Buying A Used Car?

Posted by on August 13, 2019 @05:14:41 EDT


These days, it’s simply not a viable possibility for most of us to try to get by without a car. As well as providing us with convenience, like the ability to get to a grocery store when we need to, or a cinema, or a gym, it’s the only method that’s workable for the vast majority of us to get to and from our jobs—and even to get to the job interview in the first place.

Assuming that you don’t live in a built-up metropolitan city with fantastic public transport facilities, the odds are that you’re going to need a car sooner or later. And even if you do live in the aforementioned metropolis, having a car is hardly going to hurt you when it comes to getting around and making it through the daily grind.

As well as providing you with the means to travel wherever you want, whenever you want to go, a car is one of the single most important purchases you’ll make in your adult financial life. Buying a used car in Toronto can be a great way to get started on a line of credit, since the loans involved are never as tough to pay back or as serious in general as, say, loans on a property. For another thing, you can quite easily secure an unsecured loan for a used car in Toronto in a way you can’t necessarily when it comes to a mortgage.

New Vs. Used

An old car with ‘I used to be pretty,’ spray-painted across it.

Every automobile owner has once had to come face to face with the classic question of when they should go for a new car and when they should opt for a used model. Far from being answered anytime soon, this question instead looks like it’s going to get even more important in the near future as electric models begin to take over the general vehicle market and the idea of what is exactly meant by the terms ‘new’ and ‘used’ begins to change somewhat.

There are a ton of reasons any given automobile enthusiast may decide to opt for a used car in Toronto over a newer model. Not least are the financial ones: used cars are simply a lot cheaper, just about all the time, than their newer counterparts. Moreover, there’s a sort of pride that can come about as a result of owning a really beat-up old car. We’re not saying that every used car in Toronto is beat-up—we’re just saying that we, too, were once proud of an old banger. But no matter where you go on the internet, the question has been debated so many times that it’s almost impossible to find a single unbiased source that can provide you with the information you need to make your own decisions.

For the sake of this article, however, we’re going to make a bit of an assumption and take for granted that you know exactly why you’re buying a used car in Toronto rather than one of the newer models on the lot. Of course, taking this liberty is taking a whole bunch of other parts of the question for granted, and we’re aware of that. But we’ve lately been seeing an influx of questions about some of the finer points of buying a used car, including how to deal with the car salesman himself, which kinds of problems are best to watch out for, and which makes of car produce the most reliable used cars.

On The Day

We’ve all been there. It’s been a few days since you finally made the decision, and now you’re double-checking that you’ve got everything you need before you make it over to the dealership in order to buy a used car in Toronto. As well as the list of documents you need to bring, you made a checklist the night before just to ensure that you wouldn’t forget anything important in the heady rush of buying a used car. However, are you sure you’ve done enough research that you won’t be left floundering in front of the salesman?

Car salesmen are known for being excellent at their jobs. Not only are they adept at negotiating and past masters at realizing what, exactly, the person in front of them may be looking for in an automobile, they also know the vehicles themselves inside out. While this is a good thing, because it proves they know their product (and when it comes to such a serious purchase as a car, you’d like to be handled by somebody who knows what they’re doing), it can also be a less good thing for you, the customer, because the dealer knows much better than you which figures to highlight and which to fudge over in the hope you’ll drop the ball.

Yep, you guessed it. We’re talking about mileage.

Mileage Matters

A collection of futuristic instrument gauges.

Mileage is the single most important statistic that people look at when they’re buying a used car in Toronto. Registered by an instrument known as an odometer, it’s a way to tell more or less how far the car has been. From that information, the savvy customer can then deduce whether or not it’s a good purchase for them. It’s so ubiquitous, this reliance on the odometer, that it’s often the first question prospective buyers of used cars in Toronto will ask, as well as one of the first pieces of information the used car salesmen in question will bring up.

Having said that, not everybody has a stellar understanding of what exactly mileage means in practical terms when it comes to buying a used car. We certainly didn’t when we started out on our automobile-owning journey, all those years ago. So how can you be sure how much mileage is a workable amount, and how much is indicative of a tired old machine which is ready to conk out just about whenever, leaving you stranded wherever that unfortunate event happens to take place?

Here at, we know how important mileage is. We also know how baffling it can be to come face to face with the array of different demographics that are presented to any potential buyer who steps foot on a lot.

Buyers interested in used cars are targeted even more heavily, because the products themselves are harder to sell. It’s not just mileage that you need to book yourself up on before you leave the house, but we’d be doing you a disservice if we told you that mileage wasn’t the most important thing by a long stretch.

That’s why we decided to come up with a handy guide to mileage in used cars, as a way to hopefully steer you down the correct path as you prepare yourself to make this important financial decision. It’s worth bearing in mind that just like every other source on the internet, this is not a be-all, end-all guide. It’s simply what we’ve learned from experience as well as from conducting our own research; and it’s that last point which we really want to drive home to you, as well as to anybody else interested in purchasing a used car in Toronto.

The benefits of doing your own research when it comes to serious milestone purchases like that of a used car are hard to overstate. Unfortunately, researching itself is becoming something of a dying art. But that’s a story for another time, we think. With that in mind, let’s break down the hard facts about mileage and used cars, and why exactly you should opt for one choice over another.

Some Rough Guidelines

A general rule of thumb to keep in mind (but not to put too much stock in, given that it is, after all, a generalization), is that 12,000 miles per year is about a standard amount of driving for your average citizen. With that in mind, we can work out that a ten-year-old car wouldn’t want to have many more than 120,000 miles on it.

Whether or not a ten-year-old car is too old for you is another question entirely: this piece is going to focus completely on the topic of mileage, because we feel sure that once you can get mileage under your belt, the rest of the deal isn’t going to present anywhere near the same amount of difficulty.

Raw miles, averaged out over hundreds of makes and tens of thousands of models, however, aren’t going to be enough to tell you the full story. That’s why the brand of car itself is such a big deal, as well as when the car was made. Does that sound a little confusing? You may be thinking ‘Obviously it has to do with when the car was made: it’s a used car!’ Well, yes, but what we’re referring to is the fact that there was a major leap forward in terms of car technology between 2005 and 2015.

Used Cars Since 2005

After 2005, for example, there were many more computer processing parts added to the vehicles than had been present at any other point. As well as the addition of automated controls like ABS, cruise control, and a host of other features that wouldn’t have been present in used cars in Toronto before that time, the general mileage of cars shot up as well, increasing drastically the typical average mileage each model could expect to get.

Nowadays it’s possible, as long as you’re driving safely and within the guidelines recommended for the most mileage, it’s more than possible to squeeze up to 150,000 miles out of your vehicle, and even as much as 200,000 when it comes to some particular makes of cars, like some of the more recent Toyotas. Granted, these typically won’t be available to purchase as used cars in Toronto, but you never know what you might find on the lot, and it’s a good general figure to keep in mind as you’re adding up the calculations that will determine what kind of used car in Toronto will prove to be the best option for your particular situation.


In conclusion, whether or not the used car you’re looking at purchasing in Toronto has too much mileage under its belt is going to depend largely on when the car was manufactured. For cars made later than 2005, and especially later than 2015, the typical amount of 120,000 simply isn’t an applicable figure any more, and as long as it’s got less than around 160 or 170 thousand, you can assume that you’ll get a serious amount of life out of it still—even more if the car itself is a Toyota.

By the way, if you’re having trouble securing a car loan because of your poor credit score, consider giving us here at a call. We have a look at every application for a loan we receive, regardless of credit score, and we’d love to find out exactly how we can help you in your particular set of circumstances.

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