How Does High Mileage Affect the Value of a Classic Car?

Appraising the value of a classic car is tough. The factors that affect the value of most cars on the road do not affect classic vehicles in exactly the same ways. Mileage is one of those factors. While mileage can be a useful tool, it is not an end-all, be-all. If you are considering buying a classic car, it is essential to understand the role mileage should play in your appraisal.

How Does Mileage Affect the Value of a Classic Car?

Odometer mileage only detracts from value second hand. Mileage is used as a gauge to determine the condition of a car. In the mind of novice appraisers, high mileage equals restoration needed. However, many functioning classic cars are already restored, so the odometer does not paint the full picture.

For partially, fully, or even badly restored classic cars, odometer mileage won’t have much of an impact because it stops being a good gauge of a car’s condition. Obviously, the value of an unrestored original classic is heavily impacted by mileage.

Odometer mileage is not the only mileage that is taken into account. Estimates of mileage on specific parts of the car or the paint on the car should be considered when making an appraisal. Buyers should not be concerned about mileage itself, but think of it as a way to determine the wear and tear on parts.

Factors That Affect Classic Car Value

How High Is Too High When It Comes to Miles on a Classic Car?

Odometer mileage alone should not be solely considered when investing in a classic car no matter the number. Mileage is too high on a car when a prospective buyer believes the mileage is correctly indicating wear on the vehicle. If a vehicle was fully restored 500 miles ago and shows no signs of slowing down, then the odometer number should not dissuade a potential buyer. A well-maintained car is a well-maintained car regardless of mileage.

There is a reason why the importance of mileage is often exaggerated. While thinking of "the lower mileage, the better" is wrong-headed, mileage is one very easy way to assess the condition of a car. All else being equal, mileage does bring down the value of a classic vehicle.

Classic Car Insurance Mileage Restrictions & Limitations

Specialty insurance policies will vary from insurer to insurer. However, if you decide to purchase classic car insurance, the policy will likely impose an annual mileage policy and other restrictions.

As for the mileage restriction, don’t expect to put much more than 2500 miles on your classic per year. Other restrictions vary more but generally include things like restrictions on the use of the vehicle commercially, for racing, or for daily transportation.

Classic cars are exciting, not only because they are fun but also because they can be investment vehicles (pun intended). When appraising a classic car, it is important to avoid getting too hung up on odometer mileage. While odometer mileage is a great way to quickly form an opinion on the condition of a classic car, it is usually not the best way. Assessing the condition of key components of the car is a must do for an accurate appraisal.