Advantages of low-mileage pre-owned vehicles

Why buying a low mileage pre-owned car is a good idea

It is a well-known fact that new cars depreciate the moment they are driven off the showroom floor. This depreciation can be as much as 20 percent in the first year and 10 to 15 percent in subsequent years.

This depreciation allows motorists who don't mind driving a car that is a few years old, to drive their car of choice at a significantly reduced price.

Pre-owned vehicle prices are based on a variety of factors including demand, condition, mileage and age.

While age is one of the biggest factors in determining price, mileage also has a significant bearing on price and while not as crucial it can have a big effect on how sought after a pre-owned car is. 

The average yearly mileage for a car in South Africa is around 15 000km, maybe slightly less in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread work from home policies, so anything less than that is considered low mileage.

When shopping for your next pre-owned vehicle it is worthwhile looking out for a low mileage example as they do offer a number of advantages.

There is less chance of something going wrong

Components wear out over time and at a more rapid rate as the mileage accumulates. As components wear the chances of possible mechanical failure or reliability increase. The lower the mileage, the lower the risk in this regard and the lower the maintenance costs in the short term.

The car will be in a better condition

While the condition of a car mostly depends on how it was treated and looked after every kilometre that a car drives adds wear and tear to its general equipment as well as maintenance items and tyres. It is therefore easy to see why in most cases the lower the mileage, the better.

Maintenance costs will be lower

While service or maintenance plans will cover regular maintenance, very often consumable items like shock absorbers, brakes and tyres are not covered under these plans. The lower the mileage of a vehicle, the less chance that items such as these will need replacing, which will mean lower maintenance costs in the short to medium term.

You are covered for the entire period of your maintenance plan

Most maintenance or service plans that are sold with new vehicles are time and mileage based, meaning that they will expire when the first of these parameters are met. The balance of these plans are transferred to the new owner when a car is sold in the pre-owned market, so a lower mileage vehicle will be covered for the full period of the remaining time.

There is a sweet spot

Regardless of mileage the sweet spot when it comes to pre-owned cars remains and this is normally between two and three years. At this point most of the depreciation has already occurred, the vehicle will have a maximum of between 30 000 and 45 0 000km on the odometer and there will still be a few years of the manufacturers warranty and service or maintenance plan in place.