Used Car Price Per Mile: Understanding What's Exceptional

January 27, 2012
odometer mileage reading

Before you decide to buy a used car, you should be aware of its used car price per mile. Used cars are less expensive than new ones because the previous owner's use of the vehicle may have resulted in problems that lower the car's quality of condition, such as a lower number of miles per gallon, scratches on the exterior or problems with the internal machinery of the vehicle. Because of this, used car pricing is at least partially based on how many miles the car has been driven, and as the number of miles on the car increases, the price of the car decreases. This relation between how far a used car has been driven and the price it can be sold for leads to the question of how much the price of a used car should drop after it has gone a given number of miles.

Price Drop in Used Cars Per Mile

Since the value of a car drops much faster in a short time after you buy it (about $3,000 dollars right after you drive it off the lot!) and much slower as time goes on, the actual price drop for a used car after each mile it has been driven is not constant. For the first three thousand miles or so, cars usually drop about $5,000-$10,000, so it averages out to around $1.50 to $3 per mile. After that, the price drop is lower, and can go from around $.25 to $.5 per mile. These are only estimates, and the actual price drop also depends on the model of car you are looking at and where you are buying it.

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