I've found a local listing for a 2007 Honda Civic with 40,000 miles. It's a standard-shift.

I'm not looking for any recommendations, specifically, but I want to know - this is a very low number of miles for the age of the vehicle - well under the average number I'd expect; this car has been driven less than 5,000 miles per year (the US average is 12,000).

So, a few questions (which I hope will be relevant to a larger audience):

  1. What potential pitfalls should one be aware of when looking at a car of this age with such a low mile count (For instance, rubber gaskets and seals, engine sludge, etc.)?

  2. Are there ways to know whether the car has been sitting for a long time (via inspection, etc)? Are

  3. Are there any warning signs that I should look out for?

  • If the mileage is suspiciously low, try and get as much info about the car as possible. Why the low miles? Does it really look like a low mileage car (inside and out)?
    – JPhi1618
    Oct 29, 2015 at 14:57
  • 2
    You've lumped 4 questions into 1. I'd prefer it if you could break these out into questions of their own,
    – Zaid
    Oct 29, 2015 at 15:22
  • I think this basic question has already been answered at least once. Oct 29, 2015 at 16:51
  • I have removed the last question, as it is too broad. For maintenance, if I were you, I would check the service history, and if there isn't any, have a full service done. This will keep the engine running well
    – George
    Oct 30, 2015 at 20:10

3 Answers 3


Re 2: One tell-tale sign that a car has been sitting for a while is a pad-shaped mark on the brake rotors (disks). This mark tends to last for quite a while even if the car has been driven again.


Dont discount your nose. If the car smells musty there may have been a water issue keeping it off the road.

But it could just be that it wasnt driven all that much. In 2006 I bought a 2001 with 17K miles on it. We are now up to 180K and still going strong.


One way to ensure the mileage is accurate is to check how worn the driver's seat is (compare it to the passenger's or back seats). If the car doesn't have a lot of miles, the seat shouldn't be too worn.