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Check out our guide on buying used vehicles with high kilometres

One of the very first things that is inspected in a used vehicle is the number of kilometres (kms) on the dashboard. And while kilometres can generally represent how many good years a vehicle has operated, it isn’t always an indication of how many years they have left. Kilometres don’t give the best insight into the quality and longevity of a used car purchase, so why are they so important? And how can you navigate used car purchases to make sure you’re getting a quality vehicle that can go the distance?

Pickles plays host to one of Australia’s largest collections of quality used vehicles, so we understand that kilometres don’t necessarily determine worth. However, it can still be daunting for buyers to navigate shopping for high-kilometre used cars. To help we’ve assembled our top tips for browsing well-loved used vehicles.

Model trumps metres

As a general rule, most buyers are hesitant about cars nearing 200,000kms on the clock. While this can be a useful general rule, a car with a high kilometre count doesn’t need to be dismissed if the make and model of the car is known for its reliability. There are some models that are destined for the junk yard at 100,000kms, while some reliable cars can push into 400,000kms territory.

The internet has a wealth of information available about the reliability of all vehicle makes and models. When considering a purchase, spend some time researching the car you are eyeing off in particular, to see if it’s a workhorse that can stand the test of time, or if the model is one known for needing mechanical assistance.

Kilometres/years old

Generally speaking, cars can be expected to accumulate 10,000 to 20,000kms per year of use. This can help you determine if a car has been used excessively and may be in need of some upkeep once bought. If you’re looking at a 2-year-old car with 100,000kms on the odometer, the vehicle has likely been extremely well used and may need maintenance sooner than desirable.


Kilometres can mean very little if the vehicle has been meticulously contained. If a used vehicle has high kilometres but a service history that indicates frequent upkeep and maintenance, then the car may be more mechanically sound than most. Cars with over 200,000kms with an immaculate service history can potentially be a fortuitous purchase, if the price is right and the car is in a good condition.

A vehicle’s condition is a much bigger indicator than kilometres. For instance, a car with a lot of rust is much more concerning than a car with high kilometres. Only one of these factors indicates serious work needed immediately. Detailed condition reports are the best way to determine if a vehicle is in good nick for its age and kilometre range.

The magic number

The magic number that buyers look for on an odometer is 200,000kms. Once a car hits this number, it is significantly reduced in value. However, many vehicles around this number still have 5 good years of operation left in them. This could mean a jackpot for buyers if you can source a quality car with a high kilometre count.. You may have years of use out of a car at a drastically lower budget than one featuring 100,000kms.


The key to purchasing a used car with high kilometres is to get it for the right price. There are plenty of vehicles with 200,000+kms with life left in them, however to buy it for a good price means finding an asset that will need limited or affordable repairs in the years to come. This makes shopping easier for buyers with mechanical understanding, and harder for those with limited knowledge. To circumvent buying a car that will cost you in the long run, be sure to do your research on the vehicle to determine if parts and repairs are affordable for that particular make before signing the dotted line.

There are simply no hard and fast rules for buying a used car, but you can shop with confidence by being informed and vigilant. Cars with over 200,000kms can be excellent purchases if you keep an eye out for:

  • Thorough logbooks
  • No rust
  • No obvious body damage
  • Models with reliable/affordable maintenance reputations

Click here to check out all of the well-loved used cars available at Pickles!

28 Feb