Buying a Car with Over 100,000 miles
Buying a High Mileage Car
Many collectors and non-collectors buy cars with over 100,000 miles on them because of economic reasons and there is nothing wrong with such cars. Cars with mileage between 100K and 150K are usually much cheaper initially than cars under 100K. The general perception is that car engine etc., is still new like.
There are many variables to any used car.if a car has been maintained well for the first 100K, then, its engine should be fine. Even so, most cars at this mileage do require new timing belts, other belts, water pump etc. The difficult thing for most buyers is determining what on the used car will need and costs. If this can be done, then, one can decide if buying low will pay off or should they buy higher to avoid the hassle of repairs.
All cars have wheel bearings, usually an inner and outer per wheel. These are steel bearings that allows the wheel to rotate on the axle. On most cars, these wear out at some point and it usually begins at the 100K mark. It may not happen until 120K. CV joints follow the same pattern. Any steady rumble metallic sound that is constant when driving is a clue it is going bad. If the noise is when you turn, it may be a CV joint.
The car you want to buy may have a rebuilt engine. That is a strong selling point for a 20 yr old car but if the wheel bearings are going out or the tranny's solenoid is going bad, the rebuilt new engine is not much help. Repairs are expensive unless you can do them yourself. For instance, changing the wheel bearings for one wheel at a shop may cost you $200-500 because of the labor, the part itself may only be $40. If you do it yourself, spend five hours, the cost is only the parts. Some bearings need to be pressed in by a 12 ton press.
Many automatic tranny's have a solenoid that regulates shifting. If this starts to go out, the car shifts but starts to do some odd things and greatly dislikes any sort of hill. Again, even if the car was a steal at $1500, fixing the tranny may run another $500-1000 to replace the part, unless you can do it yourself. Maybe it would have been smarter to simply buy a car costing $2000 with no tranny issue.
Other things needing replacing after 120K or more include shocks, springs, fuel injectors, mufflers and converters, fuel pump, turbo and more. The bottom line is that you want to find a car with the least wrong with it and items that you can repair yourself and when you find a car with issues, decide just how good of a deal it really is.
The kicker to all this is, even a good used car where everything works fine but has 120K on it and bought for $1500 is a temporary state. If the car is a daily driver, you just know things will start go wrong- it's just a question of when.