Back to the topic at hand. I would like to think I was getting a great deal on the low mile car, but I know better. The thing was not driven enough to balance out entropy, so there will be more damage to the engine from moisture not getting burnt off, rubber rotting, mold growing, mice, age and general decline from just sitting there. To make it right, I know I would need to tear the whole thing down and rebuild much of it to get the sludge, crud and muck out of lines and hoses. Fresh rubber seals and wheels, fresh grease, oil and lube, filters and other fluids. as well as electronics that have aged out because the plastic just… rotted.
The high mile car will most likely have been well cared for over the years. Repairs made on in a timely manner so the car could remain on the road. There would be records and a story of the life it had lived and if the cars are for all intents the same inside and out cosmetically, the one that has lived life will have more reliability than the garage queen.
Just my $0.02
So he is talking about cars that are 30-47 years old in 2015.
- What is the minimum miles per year that would be acceptable?
- What is the longest acceptable service gap with little-to-no miles?
- would you even consider a 35 year old car (~1980 model) that has about 200,000 miles on it, runs well, but has no service records? It could have gotten about 10,000 miles per year for the first 20 years, and then sat for the last 15 before getting just recently out back on the road to sell. Or a 300,000 mile car that say for the last five years?
I think the point I'm trying to make is that, you simply want a car that drives well. If it happens to have lower miles, that's a bonus in my opinion. With these old cars, you don't go looking for a car with low or high miles. You simply take that into consideration as another POSSIBLE data point, because with anything older than 1981-82, there are no history reports available, and roll-backs and odometer swaps are VERY easy to do. You might simply look for the whole story to not look very deceptive, or know if it looks deceptive. Does the brake pedal wear match the mileage? Know that high mileage cars might have been well maintained mechanically, but the interiors are VERY likely to be all worn out, with soft seat springs, horrible carpets, torn seats, busted or worn out hinges, etc.
Above all, make sure it's a good driver and a car you want to sit in.
350,000 miles of farts on the drivers seat? Yuck.