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Odometer or age: Which is most important when buying used?

There are two numbers most Kiwis look at long and hard before buying a used car: odometer and age. How old the car may tell you what condition it’s in, how much maintenance it’ll need and what kind of technology it’ll have. The odometer should tell you how much it was driven and the amount wear and tear it should have.

With that said, which one is more important when buying a used car? Low Ks or a recent model?

Looking beyond the numbers

Even if two used cars are the exact same model, same age, and with the same amount of Ks on the clock, they can be in completely different condition. While age and odometer are both important you need to look past those numbers and try to find out more about how the car was treated in its past life:

  • Does it have a proven service history?
  • Did the owner live near the sea or use it to launch the boat?
  • Was it used occasionally to travel long distance or as an everyday runabout?

If the car was regularly serviced, the components in it will last longer and it will generally give you fewer problems than a car that wasn’t serviced (even if it’s older and has more Ks on the clock).

If a car’s been properly cared for it’ll last for far longer and do more Ks.

On the other hand, if the previous owner lived near the sea or launched his boat with the car, there’s a good chance it’ll have some corrosion on the brake pads and on hard-to-see areas like the hinge and latch panels and roof gutters. In this case, it might be better to buy an older car with high ks that wasn’t exposed to corrosive salt air and sea.

Last of all, it’s not necessarily a good thing if an older car has low Ks. This may indicate that it was left unused for long periods of time, which can cause just as much damage as heavy use. Over time, brake calipers may seize and degrade, rubber hoses and pipes may harden and crack. All this can cause trouble when you start driving the car and may lead to expensive repair bills.

 

If a used car’s been used to launch the boat it might not last long.

Choosing the right used vehicle

A car’s age is important to a certain degree. So is its odometer. If everything else is the same, usually a newer used car with fewer Ks on the clock is your best option.

But if you only look at the odometer and the car’s age, you risk missing a host of other signs that may indicate the car is in poor condition.

To make it easier on yourself, drop into your nearest Nicholson Auto and take a look at our used stock. The majority of cars we sell have a full service history and are in great condition regardless of their age – plus it doesn’t hurt having one of our experts on hand to help you pick a car in the best possible condition.

 

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