Don't Let Milage Be the Definitive Metric When Buying a Used Car
Buying a used car is something of a crapshoot because you can't be absolutely positive that you're getting a good one. You can check mileage, maintenance records, and even have it looked over by a mechanic, but one of the most important pieces of information on the car is one no one will have at the ready. Instead of using mileage to judge a car's worth, what you really need to know is engine hours. Mileage only tells you how far the car has traveled. It does not tell you that, in addition to 80,000 miles with the tires rolling, the car spent countless hours idling in rush hour traffic. Idle time still causes wear and tear, but there's no way to know how much of that wear and tear a used car has collected. RELATED: Save Money and Lease a Used Car
Cars have an engine life. According to our friends at BestRide, that number is hard to find. It's not in your owner's manual, and even if it was, there's no way to find out how long that engine has been running while the car was sitting still. This is a problem.
The exception to the rule is police cars and heavy-duty trucks, which may be equipped with a meter to measure engine hours. This gives a much better idea of how much longer a car will be in service and it allows for more accurately scheduled maintenance. If you're buying a used car and relying on that odometer to tell you if a car has life in it yet, you might be in for a surprise.
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