Not just collectors are interested to buy old cars. Due to economic reasons, many ordinary drivers are looking to buy used cars with over 100,000 miles on them as long as they are in good working condition. Cars with high mileage between 100K and 150K are quite cheaper compared to other cars under 100K miles. The general perception is that the car engine and other parts are subject to considerable wear and tear, hence more prone to failure.
There are many variables and things to look out for when buying any used car. Be careful when shopping for a high mileage used car. Bargain hunters know that if a car or truck is well maintained for its first 100,000 miles, then it will continue to work fine for the next 100K miles. Simply replace some miscellaneous parts such as clutch parts, wheel bearings, timing belts, water pump etc and you are good to go. Of course, the main difficulty for most used car buyers is to accurately determine how much these replacements will add up. If you pay too much for a high mileage used car and end up having to replace a lot of expensive parts, it will become a losing deal. If you are not willing to take the risk, go for a newer vehicle to avoid the hassle of repairs or frequent breakdown.
Check for any rumbling noise when you are test driving a used car for sale. All vehicles run on wheel bearings, located on the inner and outer wheels. These steel bearings which allows the wheel to freely rotate on the axle shaft tend to get worn out by the 100K miles mark, depending on the road conditions. The next to follow will be the CV joints, which generates a rumbling noise when you make a turn.
Check for rebuilt engines on high mileage cars for sale which may have been refurbished. These may be more expensive yet may not help much especially if the wheel bearings or the transmission’s solenoid are gone. Repairs for older cars and trucks are expensive because of the scarcity of parts and the lack of people experienced in such repairs. It may cost you $500 just for changing the wheel bearings at the shop. However, if you know how to replace wheel bearings yourself, the parts probably cost only $50. You still need the specialized tools such as a 12 ton press to fit in the wheel bearings, so usually only the real hobbyists or enthusiasts are interested.
The automatic tranny uses a solenoid to regulate gear shifting, and this is usually the first part to go. You can tell it is damaged when the car starts to behave strangely when shifting or you encounter problems driving uphill. Automatic tranny repairs can cost between $500 to $1000, so avoid any cheap used cars for sale with a problem transmission.
Other parts that may require repairs on high mileage vehicles include shocks, springs, fuel injectors, mufflers, converters, fuel pump etc. This can be a long list, which is why it takes time to find a used car in good working condition at a great discount price. If you want to buy a cheap used car and just pay cash, watch out for such after-purchase expenses that can burst your initial budget. OR you may like to see if you can get an online car loan instead.
Furthermore, buying a used car with 120K miles on it means going without any warranty. Things are more likely to go wrong and that will increase your expenses. You may think the car is cheap at $1500, but you may not be that happy after pouring another $5000 on repairs within 6 months of buying. Buying a high mileage car is best left for people who can troubleshoot vehicle problems and replace parts themselves.
For example, my friend has been buying older cars to fix up and resell. He sold me a 1988 Nissan D21 Pickup with 150,000 miles for $600. The body is good like new and it has no water damage ever. He told me used cars with over 100,000 miles offer the best value deals.