My wife and I have just moved to USA, and we need a car immediately. This is my first time in US so I didn't know.

We have a budget around 7-8k for our first car.

I was looking at some Mercedes cars from year 2002-2003 that can be purchased for this amount or less. The mileage on those cars is really big, the average mileage is about 150.000 miles.

Since I've been born in Europe I have enormous respect for Mercedes car and I've seen these cars getting exported from Germany at 200-300k kilometers to other countries with no issues.

However my wife prefers more lower mileage type and since I don't know much about cars myself except when that light on a dashboard blinks I take it to the mechanics.

Can someone explain is the mileage really that important, if the car is in the good condition (or at least if it appears so) and can perhaps a Mercedes from year 2003 be a better deal than let's say some Nissan from 2008?

Is really age/mileage that important if the particular car has a good reputation?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Gabriel Mongeon, Nick C, Brian Knoblauch, Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2, mikes Feb 15 '14 at 10:50

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • As written, this question is open-ended and answers are going to be opinion-based. That makes it hard to answer definitively. If you'd like to have a discussion about these or related issues, a better place to ask would be in the chat room – Bob Cross Feb 13 '14 at 2:59

First of all welcome to the States. I hope you find it enjoyable here.

To me, mileage is the number one thing I consider when purchasing a used vehicle. One problem as of late is, there is a hand held device which can reset the mileage to whatever the unscrupulous person wants it set to. A Carfax (or the like) report can help with this.

I personally wouldn't go much past 100k miles for any used vehicle. This is just personal preference, but considering your budget, you may not have a choice. If you want to purchase a Mecedes, your choices are going to be slimmer. I would highly suggest you don't be brand loyal here and shop around.

If the plan is to get a vehicle which will be used for a couple of years, then replaced with a newer one, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Get your higher mileage Mercedes and don't worry too much about it. If you expect it to last you for many, many years to come, or expect to put a ton of mile on it before your next purchase, plan accordingly.

Any car depends on how it is maintained maintenance wise. If the original owner did not take care of it, it could break down tomorrow, and this pertains to all makes and models. The main problem with used cars is that you don't really know the maintenance history of it, even if they show you receipts. This is just one of those things you have to put up with.

To alleviate this somewhat, you can do a Carfax report (or the like), this isn't fool proof, but can provide some insight. You should also check the vehicle against edmunds.com or kbb.com (though I have found Edmunds a little more accurate). Vehicles bought from an individual can usually get you a better deal. Don't be afraid to work them over on the price no matter where you buy your vehicle. Download the KBB app and use it to get a ballpark. Go with knowledge to wherever you purchase a car, as knowledge is power.

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