Need a part or service found for you?
Call our experts on 1800 595 454

Buying Used Cars: How Old Is Too Old

Educational  ·  January 24, 2023

Buying Used Cars: How Old Is Too Old

The used car market is full of excellent deals, just waiting for you to snatch. If you find a used car that's relatively old, perhaps five years or more, should you ignore them? Or do they still have plenty of value to offer you at a much lower price?

It’s generally a good idea to buy a 3-year-old car with a mileage of between 48,000 to 64,000 kilometres. That doesn’t mean that buying an older vehicle in excellent condition is wrong because many car owners dutifully maintain their vehicles. 

So, what should you look for if you want to score an excellent deal?

In this guide, you’ll learn our tips for buying a used car regardless of age and mileage and know when it's safe to buy an older car.

How Old a Car and How High the Mileage Is Considered Safe to Buy?

Generally, the ideal used car to buy should be about 3 years of age, with around 48,000 to 64,000 kilometres on its odometer.

A used car that satisfies those requirements is typically considered a safe bet because most components are expected to still be in good condition.

Of course, that’s just a general rule of thumb. You'll find plenty of used cars that are only a couple of years old that were neglected and even abused. At the same time, there are old cars over 10 years old that are in excellent condition. 

The latter are well-maintained, with a service record to show for it! The owner might have even replaced old parts with high-quality spares that last a long time.

So, while a car’s age and mileage are useful indicators on the outset, you shouldn’t be limited by those. Knowing what aspects to check when buying a used car will be to your advantage.

What Should You Check When Buying Used Cars?

As mentioned, a used car’s age and mileage are helpful indicators of it’s worth, but they don’t give you a definitive answer about the vehicle’s condition.

So, here’s a checklist for buying a used car that you can use to help you figure out whether it’s worth your hard-earned money, regardless of age or mileage:

1. Check the Paperwork

First and foremost, check the used car’s paperwork. More specifically, you’ll want to check the following:

Unfortunately, your ability to confirm some of the above information will depend on how cooperative and transparent the seller is. Unwillingness to share these pieces of information is a red flag.

A consistent service record will give you a more accurate sense of the car’s condition and how well the owner cared for it.

Still, remember the old saying: “Don’t trust, verify”. So, don’t just take the seller’s word for how well-maintained the vehicle is. Instead, verify it yourself by looking at whatever records are available.

You may also inspect the car for signs that it had been in an accident.

2. Check the Body

Aside from the paperwork, you must also check the condition of the vehicle’s body. 

More specifically, the parts you’ll want to check are the body panels (e.g., the doors, the hood, etc.), the car’s frame, and the undercarriage.

You're looking for corrosion, rust, dents, and other visible signs of damage.

On top of that, you should ensure that there aren’t any signs of DIY repairs like bad welding to the car’s frame.

3. Check the Interior

The vehicle’s exterior isn’t the only thing you should check. Checking the interior is as crucial. 

That’s especially true if you’re buying a passenger vehicle that you’ll use to drive yourself and your family around town.

Firstly, you’re checking to ensure that the car’s interior is to your liking. On top of that, you’re also checking to ensure that the seats, upholstery, flooring, and headliner are all in good condition.

Remember: Checking these things isn’t just about getting your money’s worth. It also tells a story about how well the owner cared for the car and indicates whether you’ll have to spend extra later to fix existing issues.

4. Test the Electricals and Electronics

As you might already know, cars rely heavily on electrical and electronic accessories these days. That’s especially true if you’re buying a used late-model vehicle that undoubtedly has more accessories than older cars.

Regardless of the car’s age and mileage, you must ensure everything works correctly. The in-car entertainment system, driver-assist features, and air-conditioning are just a few of the accessories you need to test first-hand before buying a used car.

5. Check How It Drives

Last, you'll want to check how the vehicle performs when you drive it. A used car might seem like the perfect buy when it's stationary on a lot, but hidden issues will only start acting up when it’s on the road.

So, always be sure to ask the seller for a test drive. As you do that, you can listen for any unusual noises coming from the car’s components (e.g., knocking, squealing, etc.) and from its body (e.g., creaking, especially when turning corners). 

Did you know you can use your senses to diagnose trouble in a car?

What Is a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

Whether it's a one- or 10-year-old used car you're buying, you don't need to do the inspection yourself. Instead, you can request a mechanic or an automotive technician to perform the pre-purchase inspection

It assures you of a thorough inspection done by a professional who knows what and how to look for faults in a vehicle.

So, while you can inspect a used car yourself, you can let a professional do it for you instead.

Whether buying a used car in NSW, VIC, SA, or wherever in Australia, you can learn plenty of helpful information at CarpartAU’s Blog. You’ll know what to look for when choosing a used car to buy and how to use pre-purchase inspections to make better buying decisions.


By Ray Hasbollah

More from the Blog

Explore the Opportunity of Owning!

For Sale: - Your Gateway to the Automotive World

Are you ready to own a premium domain in the automotive industry? is now available for purchase, offering you an exclusive chance to step into the driver’s seat of this established online platform.

What’s Included in the Package?

  • Domain Name: Secure the highly sought-after, a single-word domain that speaks volumes in the automotive realm.
  • Website: Acquire the entire website, featuring the single largest directory of automotive suppliers. Benefit from top-notch Google rankings, providing instant exposure to a vast audience.
  • Instagram Page: Take over the Instagram page (@carpartdotcom) with a whopping 240,000 real car enthusiasts following. Become an instant influencer and leverage years of engaging content.
  • Carpedia: Dive into a treasure trove of automotive information. includes Carpedia, a comprehensive resource that draws daily traffic seeking valuable insights into vehicles.


  • Instant Exposure: With thousands of top-ten Google rankings, you can own the next car parts marketplace and enjoy instant visibility in a competitive market.
  • Endless Possibilities: The opportunities are boundless with a domain like In a time where single-word domains are rare, secure your place as a key player in the automotive industry.

Price: $1.45 Million AUD

How to Inquire: For inquiries or to express your interest, call the number at the top of the page telling us your interested in the sale of the website. Leave a message with our office, and expect a prompt call back.