Is it a good idea to buy used cars that have done over 100,000 km?

Most used cars that have over 1 lakh km on the odometer usually have much lower resale value. The 1 lakh km mark is like some sort of psychological barrier for buyers, although well-maintained cars these days can easily cross this mileage figure in good condition. Still, many owners try and sell their cars before it reaches this mark to get better resale value.

used car tips

Is it a good idea to look for a car that has over 100,000 km? Yes and no. A lot depends on the type of car and the maintenance, as well as driving conditions it has been subject to. This also decides how much the car can be sold for. Generally cars that have larger engine capacities, tend to last longer (someone once said – there’s no replacement for displacement), and similarly cars with larger wheels have tyres and suspension systems that last longer. Of course, these also are more expensive in the resale market as well. Also read: Five reasons to buy a used car instead of a new one

Here are some general pointers when buying cars that have crossed over 100,000 km.

Type of car

Small hatchbacks that have crossed 100,000 km could either be good buys, as they come really cheap or would probably eat out of your pocket. Cars like the Maruti Alto, Hyundai Santro and Maruti Wagon-R for instance are good even at 100k km if they have been maintained diligently. All these cars would have probably seen one clutch replacement and should ideally be on their third set of tyres at this mileage mark.

However, some cars like the older Tata Indica, Maruti Omni, Chevrolet Aveo and Ford Ikon are cars that you should really take a hard look at before picking up in the used car market at over 1 lakh km. These cars, tend to start becoming expensive to run at this mileage point and will ask for plenty of maintenance – ranging from engine overhaul, to clutch changes, to suspension and complete body work repairs, which can be expensive. Of course, there are exceptions.

Bigger cars like SUVs and sedans should probably have only reached mid-life at this point, and if they have impeccable service records, there isn’t any big issue buying them. Also read: How to buy a used sedan under Rs. 8 lakhs

Service record

If you are looking at an older car and are on a tight budget, insist on a detailed service record for the car. Many owners would have continued to get the car serviced at regular intervals at the authorized service centre and these are usually the better maintained cars. Some owners, though, may have shifted to servicing the car at a local garage – if so, do insist on seeing a complete record of the work done, as some local garages are also as good or better than authorized service centres, while some are not. Always check to see if genuine replacement parts have been used. Also read: How to buy a used SUV

Fuel used

If you are buying a car that runs on diesel, you need to take even more care at looking at the car’s health and service record. Diesel engines need to be pampered in their early years for the long life of things like the turbocharger and engine in general. The car’s service history should give you some idea of its life, but also physically check the car – and listen for any unusual sounds, emission of smoke etc. Stay away from such cars at even the slightest hint of trouble – as repairs can be expensive.

Petrol cars with larger engine capacities (over 1.2 litres) tend to be relatively more trouble-free even with some hard use. Also petrol cars are more likely to have been used as single-owner, single-driver, private vehicles rather than diesel cars (although this depends on the type of car). Still check the service record and look for any unusual part changes.

Cars that run on after-market CNG kits need to be examined even more closely. Not all cars take kindly to CNG kits. Check if the kit is a venturi-type or sequential kit. The latter are better. Check the service history for oil changes especially, and any part changes that look out of place. CNG cars that are not looked after properly will wear out much faster. If you can, avoid buying a used CNG car – it’s better to buy one that runs on petrol and install a CNG kit yourself. Also read: Can you convert a petrol automatic to CNG or LPG? 

Age of car

Any car that has crossed 100,000 km in less than five years is a car that has been used a lot. Take a look at the history of the car to see what kind of usage it has been put through. Make sure it’s a car that has been owner driven if possible and not driver driven. Also this depends on the city in which the car is based. For instance 15,000 km a year is a healthy average for a car used in the Delhi-NCR region, while it would be less that 10,000 km for a car that is in a city like Bangalore. Also make sure the car is not more than 15-years old – as these cars will need to be re-registered and you have to get a fitness certificate. This can be quite a hassle.

Read more about used cars!

Share any other thoughts or pointers you have about buying cars that have crossed over 100,000 km, and we’ll add them to this list.