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How Many Miles Should A New Car Have? (Before Considered Used)

So, you’re getting a new car, how exciting.

Nothing will ever beat that new car smell and feel.

But have you ever thought to have a look at the odometer reading? 

It’s pretty easy to miss with all the excitement of owning a new vehicle.

However, new car mileage is something you must look at before leaving the dealership. 

We’re looking into how many miles are too many for new cars and what to consider as a smart car buyer. 

What Should The Mileage Of A New Car Be?

buying new car and getting keys

A new car straight off the factory floor should have at most 200 miles on the clock.

No car will ever have a reading on the odometer of zero miles because it has to get from point A to point B, which could be a few miles or 100. 

But here we’re talking about a brand new car, not a new, used car, which can change things quite a bit.

But we’ll get to this shortly. 

If your brand-new car has over 200 miles, it’s best to ask the business or person you’ve bought it from why there is high mileage. 

It might be as simple as being test driven for a few months, racking up the miles.

But it’s always best to find out to ease your mind.

Because nobody wants a new car that feels used.

Firstly, it’s not the same feeling; more importantly, you pay a premium price for new cars. 

Delivery Mileage —What It Is and What It Should Be

Delivery mileage refers to the miles accumulated to deliver new cars.

For example, if a vehicle arrives at the dealership via a truck, it will need to drive to the designated showroom spot. 

Cars can also be driven from one dealership to another, which will pretty quickly up the mileage from double digits range to 100.

This is often seen with demo cars.

Delivery mileage can also include the miles it takes for the dealership to deliver your car to your home if that’s what you’ve chosen rather than picking it up yourself. 

The new car is still unregistered, so anything under 200 miles you shouldn’t be concerned about.

But if it’s over, there are differences in warranty and price which we’ll tell you about soon. 

Test Driving and Car Mileage

Taking the car for an initial spin is part and parcel with buying a new car, and you can’t expect the vehicle not to have at least one or two test drives. 

Firstly, the dealership will often take the car for a spin to ensure everything is working as it should be. 

Secondly, you might be one of many buyers to enquire about the car.

So, it’s likely they test-drive the car too. 

But these are all good things; because a car needs to be broken in. 

A test-driven car makes the break-in process a little quicker.

But it’s always best to take things slow.

The first few hundred miles shouldn’t be over 50mph to ensure the engine gets a smooth and clear break-in. 

How Much Mileage Is Too Much for a New Car?

There isn’t a definite number, but anywhere between 180-230 miles is cause for you to enquire about the mileage. 

But no car has zero miles on the odometer.

If the car is over the 250 miles mark, it might as well be a used car.

And no amount of test driving or delivery mileage will get to that point unless you’ve requested the particular car from a different dealership that isn’t in your area. 

But, if your new car has over 200 miles, you can ask for a discounted price.

Some dealerships offer as much as 10% off on high-mileage vehicles. 

However, this all changes when you buy a used car.

This is usually a high-mileage vehicle that has been previously owned. 

Some used cars could have very low mileage if the owner wasn’t using the vehicle regularly, and this often happens if someone has two or more cars. 

But in general, a new, used car can have as much as 1000 miles or more on the odometer.

But the car will be much cheaper than if you bought it first hand from a dealer. 

One thing to look out for is demo cars.

These are like dealership show cars that are technically “new” because they haven’t had a registered owner; however, the mileage on a demo car can be extremely high compared to a new car. 

But there is a pro to demo cars – they are usually significantly discounted. 

At What Point Is a New Car Considered Used?

Here’s where things can get a little tricky.

A new car ceases to be new as soon as someone registers to own it. 

It doesn’t matter how much the car has been driven; it has to have a registered owner for it not to be considered new. 

This can lead to two things if a car stays in a dealership for ten years, it is still considered new because nobody has registered to own it. 

Also note that if someone registers to buy a car and then leaves it at the dealership, the car isn’t new anymore, even though it hasn’t been driven out of the lot. 

Are There Any Pros to Having a New Car With Higher Mileage?

Here are a few advantages to getting a car with higher mileage:

  • The price may be discounted.
  • The car has started the breaking-in process. 
  • The dealership has tested the car, ensuring everything works. 
  • There may be a better deal for an extended warranty. 
  • You might get some added amenities. 

New Car Mileage Facts

How many miles should a new car have?

There is no specific number, but your car shouldn’t have more than 180-230 miles.

If it does, you need to enquire about it with the dealership. 

What is delivery millage?

Delivery mileage is how many miles from new cars being delivered to the dealership and possibly to the owner. 

Should I pay less for higher mileage on a new car?

Technically, if your car has over 200 miles, dealerships are more than happy to wiggle on the price.