By January 12, 20110 Comments Read More →

Should I Buy a High Mileage Used Car? Toyota?

Reader Question

Dear Austin,

I’m considering purchasing a used Toyota Rav4 with 185k miles on it. I have several friends who swear by Toyota longevity/reliability and they have the cars to prove it. I’m trying to get an idea of what I might have to replace in the next three years on a car like this, assuming it has been well cared-for until this point. Do you have (or know of) a maintenance guide for cars over 120k miles? Assuming that things like the timing and serpentine belts have been replaced long ago in this vehicle, what other expensive components should I worry about? What parts will probably wear out around 200k miles? For instance, will I need to look at another timing belt?


Hey there Chris,

I do NOT advise buying a vehicle with that high of mileage, it can certainly go much farther….but at what expense to you?? I would recommend you pay a qualified mechanic to perform a used car check out for you and give you a list of items that need to be done now, and what should be done in the near future. You could be in for some very costly maintenance and repair items.

I strongly suggest buying something else, preferably with less than 100K miles, better yet less than 50K miles.

There are a TON of really good deals on many small inexpensive new vehicles, or 2 year old lease trade in vehicles…..which I highly recommend.

KIA, and the Kia Rio are very much worth your time to test drive. Small yes, but lots of room especially in the trunk. Great fuel economy, great maintenance record, lots of power and fun to drive. You might be able to get a great deal on a 2 year old Kia trade in from a local dealer or via an internet site like ebay or craigslist.

Yes, you will have a monthly car payment, but will have no repair expenses and no break downs. if you took the price of all expected and Unexpected repairs you will have with the car you are considering, you will pretty much have paid a new car payment by the end of the year but you are still left with a used high mileage vehicle you will have trouble reselling.

Kia Sorento is similar to the Rav4, look for a 2 year old trade in on one of them…..great vehicles. Hyundai also is worth your time, great vehicles as well these days.

Austin Davis

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