The Truth About Mileage
When purchasing a mechanical part like an engine or transmission, a common question people ask is “How many miles are on it? Mileage gives the buyer a sense of the life remaining for a particular engine and helps determine who they are going to purchase the part from. Common sense needs to be used, and some understanding of how things work.
The average mileage for an automobile in the USA is 12,000 miles per year. Remember, this is an average while the vehicle was on the road. A red flag for the buyer is when you ask the mileage on a 10 year old engine and you are told 30,000-50,000 miles. Unless it is a JDM (Japanese Direct Market) part, it is more than likely too good to be true. There are reasons this happens. First, you are being lied to. Second, the odometer showed this mileage when the vehicle came in but does not match the actual mileage on the engine.
IF YOU QUESTION THE MILEAGE YOU ARE QUOTED, ALWAYS ASK FOR A CARFAX REPORT
An indicator of mileage can be better determined by requesting a Carfax (or similar) report from the supplier. However, there can be some issues with Carfax reported mileage and the actual mileage on a mechanical part:
- Carfax usually does not record any maintenance history on a vehicle. You do not know if the engine has ever been short blocked, long blocked, had oil changes or even replace with a new, rebuilt or used engine.
- Most engines do not have a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on the block. This means you could get a Carfax for an engine but unless you contact the dealer with the block number and request the VIN for that block you really have no way to prove anything. Same goes for other mechanical parts.
- ** BEWARE **. Some unscrupulous salespeople will get a VIN from a site like www.autotrader.com. They can look your vehicle up and run a Carfax on a low mileage vehicle listed on the site and supply you with this report. Keep in mind, in many cases (but not all), an accurate Carfax report will show where the vehicle was salvaged.
If the vehicle you need a part for is less than 5 years old, chances are the parts being sold from the donor vehicle are original equipment and have not been replaced. If it is an older vehicle you are buying for then application and condition are most important along with the warranty offered on that part.
Never wire transfer funds
Sending a wire transfer is not reversible in most cases, if ever. If a person insists on a wire transfer it is likely they have no intention of doing what they promise. Use a credit card or PayPal if possible.