The Saturday Ramble #1: The 100k mile question.

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So, it's Saturday morning again, having completed the weekly trip to our excellent local butcher and a quick dash round Tesco's with a trolly, it's time to put the feet up for five minutes and enjoy a nice cup of coffee. As with anyone with a passion for the automotive in many shapes and forms I often find myself musing over various questions, conundrums and of course cars - last night it was Lotus Elise's particularly the Mk2 variety - but I'm digressing...

One thing that has been on my mind this week , and admittedly brought into sharper focus by the revelation of a 231k mile Trophy on this very forum, is mileage when it comes to cars and at what point it begins to become immaterial really. I've always been one to judge a car on condition and in the case of rarer, more collectable stuff - provenance/history. I was visiting another forum recently, I won't say which but you can probably all make an educated guess, and there was a thread about buying something with over 100k miles on the clock and what folk thought about that, would they buy one? Would they find it off-putting? Would they not see it as such a big issue? What really hit me was the general reaction of clutching of pearls and handbags at the very notion of being seen in or purchasing anything with a odometer reading anywhere near that figure. But then the demographic of that particular forum hasn't half altered since I joined up back in the early 00's.

It didn't half make me laugh, with the engineering in more modern vehicles, not to mention the advances in quality of consumables such as oils, 100k is in my mind really not that big a deal and the Trophy on here is the perfect illustration of that. So long as the cars are maintained well, that number on the odometer somehow becomes less and less important. In the collectors car market for proper historically important classics, mileage is rarely mentioned, as I think we all know, these cars have been rebuilt/restorted innumerable times now, so it doesn't really matter anymore, but then we have the more modern stuff which folk seem to really get off on having as little miles as possible, to be treated like some sort of objets d'art. As someone whose former life revolved around Art, I find the notion of a car just as a display object a little bit odd, the beauty of these machines for me is when you see, experience or drive them in motion - they come alive in that state. But I'm getting away from myself here on another tangent.

The nub of my ramble is; if a car has over 100k on the clock, does it put you off or in some cases stop you buying it? It does seem to be a psycological sticking point when it comes to selling and buying a car from what I can see. Thoughts and contributions welcome, as always...

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Mike256

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For a long time I use to only buy diesel cars that had over 100k miles on them as the allure of a full service history, mainly motorway miles, a new clutch, flywheel and probably a new timing belt meant I could do another 100k miles before worrying about anything big going.

On the whole I'm not worried about a cars mileage and I am more concerned about how it's been looked after. With cars becoming more reliable when they are used constantly, looked after through proper servicing my concerns have moved on to cars that barely get used or have time to warm up. As the cars get older they're normally the ones with rotten exhausts, perished rubber seals and in need of a lot of small but expensive things needing renewing.
 
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Great question Ed, and lovely photo.

It's perhaps complex on one had, and yet isn't on the other. For me, condition and servicing are by far the two most important priorities. I do think the quality of cars in recent years has got worse, perhaps the German makes have become the most unreliable? Did someone say Mercedes and Porsche? The explosion of car leasing hasn't helped. Keep it for 2-3 years, treat it like it's not really yours and give it back when the warranty expires. Then move onto a new car, and repeat. Is this sustainable?
 

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For a long time I use to only buy diesel cars that had over 100k miles on them as the allure of a full service history, mainly motorway miles, a new clutch, flywheel and probably a new timing belt meant I could do another 100k miles before worrying about anything big going.

On the whole I'm not worried about a cars mileage and I am more concerned about how it's been looked after. With cars becoming more reliable when they are used constantly, looked after through proper servicing my concerns have moved on to cars that barely get used or have time to warm up. As the cars get older they're normally the ones with rotten exhausts, perished rubber seals and in need of a lot of small but expensive things needing renewing.
That's a really interesting and good point there Mike, by 100k as you say, a lot of stuff will have been renewed or refreshed which makes them good to go again as it were.
 

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Great question Ed, and lovely photo.

It's perhaps complex on one had, and yet isn't on the other. For me, condition and servicing are by far the two most important priorities. I do think the quality of cars in recent years has got worse, perhaps the German makes have become the most unreliable? Did someone say Mercedes and Porsche? The explosion of car leasing hasn't helped. Keep it for 2-3 years, treat it like it's not really yours and give it back when the warranty expires. Then move onto a new car, and repeat. Is this sustainable?
Thanks for your thoughts Mark, it's heartening to find others judging cars on condition and record of upkeep as I tend to myself. I agree about the hamster wheel of leasing and finance too has changed people's perception of vehicle ownership, but hand in hand that ends up the cars becoming a somewhat throwaway commodity - which in my view isn't sustainable for the future. But how you get folk away from this model I've no idea, seems a big part of human nature/our society is having something new (and round where I live undoubtedly German) on the drive , the main reason seemingly being to impress or feel superior to the neighbours, it's a really odd mindset and one which I can't really get my head around, but I'm off on another tangent here again though... :LOL:
 
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Some very good points there by everyone.

I think the obsession with mileage has been very much made worse and
made out to be something that is one of the most important ways to judge
if a car is good enough and how if it dares to cross over the 100k mile mark,
it basically becomes unsellable and somehow worthless (I'm paraphrasing here).

The boom in online auction sites and car forums, to some extent has also made
purely judging a car on its mileage, seem even more important, which as you
have all already said, is the wrong way to look at a car I think.

But on the other hand, if a car reaches a higher mileage, that should give you
a greater opportunity to maybe buy said car, at a much cheaper price.

That probably seems like a lot of rambling on my part, and is hard to make
clear what I'm trying to say...basically, if the car has been well minded, serviced etc.
there should be no reason, not to see plenty more life and enjoyment in a higher
mileage car.
 
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As an owner, life is too short to worry. I'd rather have the adventures in the memory bank. I've never understood the pride in having the lowest mileage car in the owners club or on the forum. In my experience, a super low mileage car is just as likely - if not more - than a car in constant use. Alas, each to their own.

As a potential purchaser, I pay more attention to the provenance and condition than the odometer. And although this might potentially come across as snobby - the owner themselves
 
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