Why the Average Age of Vehicles Keeps Getting Older

The average age of cars and pickup trucks in the United States has now reached 11.9 years.

By Scott Baker (CarEdge.com) | Posted on May 29th, 2019 | Last Updated on July 31st, 2020
By Scott Baker (CarEdge.com)
Posted on May 29th, 2019. Last Updated on July 31st, 2020.
Two Main Reasons Why the Average Age of Vehicles Keeps Getting Older

Average Vehicle Age Hits New Record

Automotive market research firm IHS Markit reported this week that the average age of cars and light duty trucks in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 11.9 years. This trend, as shown below, does not appear to be slowing anytime soon...

IHS Markit Average Age of Vehicles


Longer Warranties Reflect Better Quality

In years past, new vehicles (especially domestically-produced ones) started to encounter problems as early as 30,000-40,000 miles. Manufacturers at the time, were keenly aware of such, and as a result, appropriately placed the limits of their warranties at 3yrs/36,000 miles. Today, however, factories are producing vehicles with longer-lasting components and using better automotive manufacturing processes, resulting in cars that simply last longer. Consistent with this, the manufacturers too, have adjusted their warranties to cover new vehicles for a longer period, especially in the areas of powertrains and corrosion. The table below from Motor1.com provides a look at some of the longer manufacturer warranties available for new car purchasers.

Motor1.com Car Warranty Comparison


Used Listings Reflect Vehicles' Extended Longevity

Whereas used vehicles with 100,000 miles or more historically had one tire in the salvage yard, current data suggests that these cars have a lot more life left in them. At CarEdge.com, we have nearly 500,000 (15% of total listings) used vehicle listings with mileage greater than 100,000 miles, and a staggering 34,000 with over 200,000 miles. Unbelievably, we have almost 200 listings with over 400,000 miles. Click here to see the vehicle listings with the most mileage. Ten to fifteen years ago, the only vehicles likely to achieve these lofty milestones were German models equipped with diesel engines. In 2020, however, the tables have turned, and US-manufactured vehicles are holding their own on the global stage. Within CarEdge.com's 3.5 million vehicle listings, the manufacturers below have the greatest number of listings whose mileage exceeds 200,000.

Vehicle MakeListings w/ 200,000+ miles
Ford4,859
Chevrolet4,327
Toyota3,918
Honda2,143
Dodge1,571
* Notable mention to GMC with 1,534 listings above 200,000 miles

New Motivations for Selling Your Used Car

Whereas in the past, drivers sold their used vehicles basically because they became either too costly to maintain, were just too dangerous to drive, or essentially fell apart. In 2020, however, older vehicles are sold or traded in either because they don't have the latest technology bells and whistles, don't have the safety features that today's families desire, or they simply are ready for a change. For those motorists that are resistant to change, and like consistency in their respective lives, today's vehicles offer these folks the ability to spend decades together, traveling a half million miles or more.

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