There are a million different criteria to consider when looking into the purchase of a pre-owned or BMW certified vehicle here at BMW of El Cajon, but one of the things that isn’t always so easy to read is the odometer. Yes, mileage matters when buying a pre-owned model, but the mileage doesn’t always mean the same thing across all vehicles.

So what does the mileage mean? The short answer is, it depends.

Let’s say you’re considering a vehicle that has 80,000 miles on the odometer. Knowing how long today’s vehicles last, buying a vehicle with 80,000 miles could easily mean you’ve got another 120,000 miles or more left before having to invest in a new vehicle. But the miles here aren’t what matters so much as how the previous owner drove that vehicle. For example, 80,000 highway miles are a lot easier on a car than 80,000 miles of stop-and-go traffic.

Another consideration is that low mileage sometimes can mean that a vehicle hasn’t been driven very much, and sometimes that actually can be worse for a car’s parts than if that vehicle had been driven more consistently, as infrequent use can make certain auto parts dry and brittle.

Frankly, the age of the vehicle is probably a better indicator of overall condition than the miles. Yes, lower mileage is usually better, especially if it’s a newer model, but the miles don’t tell the whole story. Instead, consider the build quality, the brand name, and the model year. Your BMW dealer in San Diego can help you find a good match, and mileage can be one data point by which you make your decision.