How many miles should a 2004 car have?

How many miles are typically on a 2004 car? I’m thinking about buying an older car because it’s a lot cheaper but I’m not sure how many miles it should have on it.

Liz Jenson · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Typically, cars from 2004 will have around 204,000 miles on them. Generally, you can assume that a car’s previous owner has driven the car 12,000 miles for each year that they owned the vehicle. While a high mileage may not necessarily mean that the car is a bad choice, it does come with certain risks that you should evaluate before purchasing.
Some problems that you might encounter with a high mileage car include:
  • The engine might burn oil. If the oil looks gritty, discolored, or burnt, you may want to look elsewhere for your new ride.
  • There’s a higher risk of water pump leaks. If you see steam coming from the radiator or rust under the hood, those are indicators of a leaky water pump.
  • You have an increased risk of transmission failure. If you notice any banging or groaning noises coming from the transmission, that’s a good sign that the car has a faulty transmission.
  • The timing belt may fail. If you hear a ticking noise when driving or see oil leaking from the front of the motor, that could indicate an issue with the timing belt. Most mechanics recommend that the timing belt be replaced every 100,000 miles, so ask the seller if they have replaced the timing belt recently; failure to replace the timing belt can cause serious engine problems.
If you’re unsure about your purchase, ask the seller for a
CARFAX report
or something similar to tell you more about the car’s history. If you’re buying from a dealership, you can also ask about warranty or protection plan options for your car of choice.
Regardless of what kind of car you choose to buy, you’ll need to purchase a new insurance policy to keep it protected. Fortunately, the
app makes it quick and easy to find the best rates available on the insurance coverage you want! Just download the app and answer a few questions to see a comprehensive cross-analysis of the best car insurance policies from top providers!
View full answer 
Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

Join 4M+ members in lowering their car insurance

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings