How Many Miles Does a Car Last? [And When is it Considered Junk?]

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Marc Skirvin

Quick Tip

Most cars last between 200,000 to 300,000 miles with proper maintenance, though this can vary based on factors like make, model, and driving conditions. A car is typically considered "junk" when repair costs exceed its value or it becomes unreliable and unsafe. To maximize a car's lifespan, prioritize regular maintenance, use quality parts, and address issues promptly.

When you’re thinking about selling or trading your car, it’s important to know how many miles it has on it. The more miles a car has, the less it’s worth. But when does a car become considered “junk?” And what should you do if you have a high-mileage vehicle?

This article will answer questions and more about how many miles a car last. We’ll also provide tips on what to do if you have a junk car or a car with many miles on it.

Today’s Cars

Manufacturers today tend to produce durable cars that are made to last compared to cars made even 20 years ago. Car parts, too, have become more durable and long-lasting. That means fewer maintenance and repair costs for you as the owner.

When in the market for a car, buyers highly consider a car’s mileage. But, other factors such as how the car was driven and maintained, the make and model of the car, and even where the car was driven (city streets vs. highways) all play a role in how long a car will last.

On average, a car’s annual mileage is playing between 12,000 and 15,000 miles. That means a 5-year-old car would have somewhere between 60,000 to 75,000 miles.

How Many Miles Does a Car Last?

The answer to this question is complicated because so many variables affect a car’s lifespan. This includes (but is not limited to), as mentioned above, the make and model of the car, how it’s driven, where it’s driven, and how well it’s maintained.

In general, though,  most cars will last between 200,000 and 300,000 miles. Of course, there are always outliers to this rule. For example, some people have driven their car for over 400,000 miles! According to Autotrader, vehicles on the road are just over 11 years old on average and approaching 12 years.

Keeping a car for over 12 years seems to have a lot of benefits on your pocket, even if it means ignoring all the car commercials which tell you that you need a new car every three years or so. It is estimated to save as much as $30,000 when driving the same car for 15 years which is the average lifespan of a car these days. However, driving habits,  weather conditions, and maintaining your vehicle will all play a role in just how long it lasts.

The car makes and model plays a big role in how long a vehicle lasts as well. Many car manufacturers produce vehicles known to last for over 200,000 miles. These include (but are not limited to) Honda, Toyota, Subaru, and Volvo. Of course, there will always be lemons no matter the make or model. But if you’re looking for a car built to last, you can’t go wrong with these brands. More importantly, make sure to research a car before you buy it to ensure that it has a good track record for lasting a long time.

Tips On How Making Your Car Last Longer

There are many proven ways to help make your car last longer. Perhaps the most important tip is to take good care of it simply. This includes changing the oil regularly, getting tune-ups, and rotating the tires.

Here are some of the most important tips for making your car last longer:

Get yourself an advanced safety systems

When you are looking for your next car, consider getting one that has advanced safety features. This is not just for your safety but also to help avoid accidents. Cars with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, and lane departure warnings are less likely to be in accidents. And, as you know, accidents can cause a lot of damage to your car.

With an advanced safety system, you are not just protecting your car but also yourself and other people on the road.

Pay attention to the vehicle management system

Many newer cars come with a vehicle management system. This is a great feature that can help you keep track of your car’s performance and maintenance. It is a powerful tool that can help to implement fleet efficiency, manage the driver’s performance, and track vehicle data. VMS is also designed to monitor and control fuel consumption.

That being said,  you should still keep track of your car’s maintenance and performance even if it doesn’t have a VMS. This is because no system is perfect, and things can still go wrong.

Scheduling routine maintenance

One of the best ways to make your car last longer is to simply take good care of it. This includes things like changing the oil regularly, getting tune-ups, and rotating the tires. Changing oil differs for every car, but you should generally do it every 5,000 miles or so.

Tune-ups are also important, and you should get one every 30,000 miles or so. This is to ensure that your car is running smoothly and efficiently. Rotating your tires is also important as it helps to distribute the wear and tear evenly.

Address problems

Being aware of potential problems with your car is also important. If you notice something that doesn’t seem right, don’t ignore it. Get it checked out by a professional. Ignoring a problem will not make it go away, and it could end up costing you a lot of money in the long run.

Get a good mechanic

Having a trusted mechanic that you can go to is also important. Knowing that you have someone, you can trust to take care of your car is important. They should be someone who is honest and doesn’t try to upsell you on things that you don’t need. Consider experience, reputation, and cost when looking for a mechanic.

Keeping your engine clean

One way to help extend the life of your car is to keep the engine clean. This can be done by using a quality engine cleaner. There are several brands on the market, so be sure to read reviews to find one that is right for you.

Your car’s engine is the heart of the vehicle, and keeping it clean will help to ensure that it lasts a long time.

Invest in parts that are built to last

There are some aftermarket parts that you can buy for your car. But, not all of them are created equal. Some are made with cheaper materials and construction, which won’t last as long. When buying aftermarket parts, be sure to invest in ones that are built to last. This will save you money in the long run as you won’t have to replace them often. Original parts are always the best, but if you can’t find them or can’t afford them, be sure to get aftermarket parts of good quality.

When it comes to making your car last longer, there are many things that you can do. Be sure to take good care of it and invest in quality parts. This will

Watching for indicator lights

It is important to be aware of the indicator lights on your dashboard. These lights are there for a reason, and ignoring them can lead to serious problems. If you see the light come on, be sure to take your car to a mechanic to have it checked out.

Some of the parts that these lights indicate include the battery, oil, and brakes. As soon as you see the indicator light come on, take action. Don’t wait until it is too late.

Make sure you are driving safely at all times

This may seem like common sense, but it is important to drive safely if you want your car to last. This means things like obeying the speed limit, not tailgating, and using your turn signals. All of these things will help avoid accidents that can cause a lot of damage to your car.

Accidents are not the only thing that can damage your car. Poor driving habits can also lead to unnecessary wear and tear.

Final Thoughts

Making your car last longer is not that difficult if you are willing to put in the effort. By following the tips above, you can be sure that your car will serve you well for many years to come. Ensure to keep track of your car’s maintenance, get regular tune-ups, and be aware of potential problems. Investing in quality parts will improve your car’s performance and make it last longer.

The most important thing is to drive safely. Be aware of your surroundings and your car’s performance. If you feel something is wrong, don’t hesitate to get it checked. Your car is a major investment, and you should do everything you can to protect it.

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About the Author

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Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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