Car News:  Oversteer

Why Are There So Many Used Cars With Less Than 5,000 Miles?

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 BMW 2 Series Coupe
Used 2015 BMW 2 Series
$21,991
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2015 BMW 3 Series Sedan
Certified 2015 BMW 3 Series
$24,750
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2015 BMW X1 xDrive28i
Certified 2015 BMW X1
$24,500
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2015 BMW 3 Series Sedan
Certified 2015 BMW 3 Series
$26,966
RELATED READING
See all BMW any articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2016

Image byMcMike

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this week's Ask Doug, wherein you -- wait for it -- ask Doug something about automobiles, and he then rises from browsing used-car listings on the couch long enough to string together a response.

If you want to participate in Ask Doug, you can! Send me an email at OversteerDoug@gmail.com, or send me a message on my Facebook page with your question. I cannot promise that I'll answer your question, though I can promise that I'll change your name in case you ask something stupid like, "I'm locked inside my car. How do I get out?"

Anyway, this week's question comes to us from a reader I've named Henry. Henry writes:

Hi Doug,

I'm in the market for a BMW 335/340i, and I have come across an abundance of used 340i models with 2,000 to 3,000 miles. On a car that has yet to be on the market for a whole year, can you give me an explanation as to why there are so many of these low-mileage, basically new cars for sale?

Thanks,

-Henry

Henry's question is interesting, because it's something that a lot of people have asked me about over the years. You go on Autotrader and you browse the listings, and there are tons of 1- or 2-year-old cars with only 3,000, 5,000 or 8,000 miles on them. So just where do all these super-low-mileage used cars come from? Do people really trade in their cars after driving them a few thousand miles?

The answer is: Yes, they do. There are people who get bored with cars very quickly, and they swap them out constantly, frequently, several times a year. My friend Jordan is like this -- He'll text me and ask me what I think of the BMW X3, and then 4 days later we're driving it to dinner. I am in awe of this individual. He also has a boat.

And then there are people who trade out a brand-new car for other reasons. Some people buy a car and quickly discover that they can't afford the payments. Then it goes back to the dealer -- either voluntarily or in one of those "Operation Repo" situations in which the repo guy is loading it on his truck and the car's owner is angrily pelting him with a barrage of objects such as toothpaste.

Still other people buy a car and don't really like it. This happens more often than you think. Someone gets in a car, takes it for a test drive, does all the paperwork, then gets home and realizes that the radio buttons just don't feel right -- and no, this is not something that can be just ignored. Three thousand miles later, they've got a brand-new car with brand-new radio buttons. Of course, this could all be avoided by taking the car home on an extra-long test drive.

But an ultra-low-mile used car can also come from a few other spots besides customer trade-ins.

One such place where dealers get ultra-low-mileage used cars is their own dealer demo or service loaner program. Think about it: Every time you show up for a service, they have a nice, freshly washed, brand-new loaner car sitting there waiting for you. You'll notice that you never see 7-year-old loaner cars with a bunch of curb rash on the wheels and mustard residue on the dashboard. So where do you think those new cars go? The abyss? No! They're washed and placed on dealer lots once their time is up.

Another surprisingly fruitful source of low-mileage used cars: company vehicles. Many automakers offer free or heavily discounted cars to their employees, and most automakers cycle through these vehicles at the rate of two or three per employee per year in order to minimize depreciation. Some automakers even offer these programs to dealership employees, which brings thousands more cars into the fold. When they're finished, they go to the same place as everything else mentioned in this column: right back on dealer lots.

And so, Henry, you might be surprised to learn that these cars aren't to be avoided. They're part of normal business for an automaker and a dealer, and they're surprisingly common -- and I strongly urge you to consider one of these if you're looking for a great used car. I also urge you to test out the radio buttons before you buy.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 BMW 2 Series Coupe
Used 2015 BMW 2 Series
$21,991
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2015 BMW 3 Series Sedan
Certified 2015 BMW 3 Series
$24,750
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2015 BMW X1 xDrive28i
Certified 2015 BMW X1
$24,500
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2015 BMW 3 Series Sedan
Certified 2015 BMW 3 Series
$26,966
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Why Are There So Many Used Cars With Less Than 5,000 Miles? - Autotrader