Some people wouldn’t touch a high mileage used car in a hundred years whereas others see the fact that a car has driven around the earth a couple of times a great reason for buying a bargain. A quick look at the odometer is the best way to know exactly how many miles your motor has covered in its previous life, but before parting with any cash you also need to look out for a few other signs.
Is the odometer showing a genuine reading? Some unscrupulous car dealers and private people will go to great lengths to try and unwind a few miles from the odometer to make it appear that the car has driven fewer miles than it actually has. If the vehicle shows a relatively high number of miles after it has been tampered with, who knows how far it may have driven in real terms? It is more difficult to pull this sort of trick since the advent of digital odometers but it is still possible to do so.
One great way to determine whether the reading is genuine is to check on the vehicle history. If the motor you are thinking of buying comes with service history that can be a real bonus.
Has the engine got a few more miles left in it? Any potential engine problems can soon be identified with a compression test. If you don’t know how to do this yourself it is certainly worth calling upon the services of a professional service mechanic or a friend who happens to be a petrol head. It’s quite a simple procedure which involves replacing a spark plug with a compression gauge, cranking up the motor and reading the numbers recorded on the gauge. Low compression could be a sign of a leaking gasket, perhaps a damaged exhaust valve or just that the engine is in need of major surgery before it can be expected to ever run sweetly again.
How many rust spots can you find on the bodywork? Rust is usually quite easy to spot if it is left to its own devices but some people are guilty of trying to disguise the fact that the bodywork is suffering. If the car you are looking at has the original paint job you may be able to find small bubbled areas where the rust is beginning to grow. If the car has a few patches which are a slightly different shade then they have almost certainly tried to hide signs of rust. On the other hand you can’t expect a car which has high mileage to be bright and shiny like it was the first day it drove out of the car lot, not unless the previous owner admits that it has been re-sprayed.
Turning your attention to the inside? Think about this for a second, for every mile that a car drives someone must have been sitting in the driving seat with their foot on the gas. This wear and tear will be a good indicator about the mileage of the car, and if the odometer has been tampered with to show fewer miles the interior could help to give the game away.
If a car has got high mileage but has been regularly serviced and well maintained it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will let you down. Modern cars can be expected to last for 250,000 miles or more without any problems at all.