Used Car Milestones

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For Buying or Selling, It Pays To Know Used Car Milestones
Whether you are thinking of selling your present car or buying a used car, it's important to know and understand the used car milestones that will affect what you can get for your trade-in and what you should pay for a quality used car. These auto milestones will tell you a lot about what dealerships are looking for mileage wise in your trade-in and also arm you with knowledge regarding the car you are thinking of buying, based on its mileage and condition. These milestones have a lot to do with what you will end up paying and understanding them can save you money. 

Used Car Milestones

The first major car milestone happens when you buy the car. When you drive a new car off the lot, you are looking at the car decreasing in value by 10 to 20 percent. You lose an additional 10-percent over the first year you own that new car. So that’s 20 to 30 percent depreciation in the first year. Many luxury cars lose even more value and at a faster rate due to their higher price tag when new.

During the first 15,000 miles, new cars are covered under warranty but you’ll still want to make sure the vehicle is properly maintained. Oil and filter changes are a must every 3,000 to 5,000 miles (depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations). Have all the fluids checked every time you take the car in for service and have the tire pressure checked. Tire rotation is important to add life to tire wear. You’ll also have to replace your wiper blades during this first milestone, but that’s about it. Your Lithia Auto Dealership will keep a record of all service but it is important for you to keep a backup of these records too to prove you have properly cared for the car. It will come in handy when you sell the vehicle.
Most cars today come with at least a 36,000-mile, three-year warranty. The resale value of the car will drop once the warranty expires. This is the second milestone. Many lease car contracts are also up after this same time period and most of those cars end up back on dealerships. So, for those who wish to turn their new car in for another car, know that your trade-in will be worth less after hitting the 36,000-mile mark.

As for maintenance, based on your automaker’s service schedule, your first major service other than the fore-mentioned oil changes and tire rotations, will happen at 30,000 miles. You’ll want your dealer to do a complete service, checking for any computer faults and service codes. The service will include a check of the brake rotors and brake pad wear, they will change the air filter, check all fluids and replace where needed. Depending on the make and model, some cars require other services at this milestone as well. The dealer will check everything on the vehicle, from light bulbs, to lubricating door joints to checking the suspension system. Expect to pay between $600 and $1,000 for this complete checkup.

Most automakers require that you carry out a similar service at 60,000 and 90,000 miles as well.
This third milestone marks the next major service for your vehicle, and as you might guess, it’s another benchmark for when the car drops in value to the dealership. The 60,000-mile service will check all the things that were serviced at the 30,000-mile mark but also includes checking and replacing other items as well. We are talking about things like hoses and belts. Many people trade in their car before having the 60,000-mile service because of the cost. Certain items, such as replacing a serpentine or timing belt, isn’t cheap.
A lot of people sell their car before it hits the fourth milestone of 90,000-miles on the odometer. That’s because they know that cars with over 90,000-miles on the clock aren’t worth very much at a dealership, or to a private sale, for that matter. Once a car reaches 100,000-miles, some dealers shy away from buying a car with a limited return. The thought is that high-mileage cars are just more prone to breakdowns that will be expensive. We’re talking about things like replacing a transmission or engine that can cost many thousands of dollars.

If you decide to keep the car, it will be time for another major service. This will again require a complete inspection and service of the vehicle from stem to stern.
Generally speaking, people who keep their cars over 100,000 miles do so because they really love that particular make and model of car. They enter the world of the collector car owner. The car has aged beyond the time of getting a reasonable amount for it in trade and it is paid off and owned free and clear. So now, rather than make monthly payments, the owner knows that he or she will be paying to keep the car in decent condition and on the road.

By this point the car may be showing signs of needing a paint job or minor body work for dings and dents. The interior upholstery will be worn at the least, and torn and need repair at the worst. Also, as the miles continue to mount, a major breakdown such as the motor or transmission would mean the repair would cost more than the value of the car.

The Road Ahead

Today's cars last a lot longer than their predecessors. Better manufacturing methods, materials and technology is changing traditional car milestones. For instance, most cars today will still be running with over 200,000 miles on the odometer. You don't generally even have to change the spark plugs or give the car a transmission service these days until it has reached the 100,000-mile mark. 

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No matter if you're looking to buy a new or used car, or want to trade or sell your current vehicle, Lithia Motors wants your car, and you might be surprised at how much your used car is worth. Find out right here and let's get started.