Mileage when buying a used conversion van


So when buying a used van how many miles is too much? talking with the dealership about the van I just made a post about the other day and it sounds like it has 152k instead of 52k. I am only going to be a part timer so I am thinking this will be okay but I am not sure.



Pre-computerized vans will run darned near forever with minimal maintenance and repairs, rust usually kills them before anything else. Many computerized vans have major problems before 100k miles. Maintenance and repair costs are more too, because there’s a lot more to go wrong with them.


"I can live like a king because I work like a dog." ~ An anonymous vandweller


It depends on how much money you have, how much you want to be driving, how skilled/willing to learn you are at repairs, how old the vehicle is, what kind of vehicle it is, etc.

Some people like precomputed, some like new stuff. I’ve always bought computerized and been happy. 260k on my 02 diesel bus and running strong. I’ve never bought a car with less than 125k but I’m not one for nice new things


I figure modern vehicles will go around 250,000 miles (a ball park figure) before the big stuff is used up. So I figure a vehicle with 150,000 miles on it would have 100,000 miles left.
How many miles will I drive it in a year? If I go 10,000 miles a year then I should be good (a ball park figure again) for another 10 years.

I remember the days (early 60’s) when someone hitting 100,000 miles on any car was a big deal… I remember my dad going down to look at an odometer that went over the magic 100,000… all the neighbors where there…


Mileage and age are the main things that affect price. The more miles it has the less it’s worth. So, the van you are looking at has 100,000 more miles than you thought, or 3X more than the 52,000 you thought it had. So, it’s worth a lot less than you thought is was worth.

When it comes to shopping for a vehicle (or anything else) patience pays off. If this van isn’t the right one, be patient and keep looking. Also, don’t be afraid to offer less than asking price. Each day their van doesn’t sell gives you more room to negotiate. Be sure to tell them you’re looking at some other vans too, and still trying to decide which one will be best. Always tell them it looks like a nice van, but you’re worried about the milegae, the age, the brand, etc.

You were hoping to buy a van with 52,000 miles on it. I’d keep trying to find it. A 52,000 mile van will last many many years longer than a 150,000 mile one will.



Condition and maintenance are much better indicators than age or mileage. My 1973 Dodge has over 450k miles on it, with the original engine and transmission and is still going strong. It has needed no major repairs in the 10+ years I’ve owned it, only typical maintenance.

Junk comes in all ages and milages, and older but well maintained ones are usually the better buy. Passenger vans are typically in much better shape than cargo vans, and have also been maintained much better. Fleet maintenance is frequently an outright fraud, created to improve the resale value, but since they are being sold “AS-IS”, the buyer has no recourse. Fleet maintenance usually consists of the cheapest, quickest fix possible to keep them on the road, and they are only sold off when the upcoming repairs would cost more than the vehicle is worth.

Under the condition category, be wary of rust. Structural rust like frames, suspension, and steering components are a major killer of vehicles, and not necessarily as obvious as body rust. Electrical is another major problematic area. The more complicated the electrical systems are, the more likely they are to have problems. Fancy is only attractive until it breaks, then it can become a nightmare. Simpler systems tend to be more reliable and less problematic. Portable amenities that can be repaired or replaced easily, can really improve life in the long run.


"I can live like a king because I work like a dog." ~ An anonymous vandweller


I’d agree in the modern vehicles getting higher mileage statistically. Yes older rigs can go higher miles but it tends to be rare. Generally the older carved engines, 100k-150k on E engines mostly. The online engines tend to last longer. I bought a 94 Dodge B250 with 175k and did 25k that summer selling it after with over 200k not using a drop of oil. Currently have an old Chinook on a Dodge chassis with 65k and leaks oil pretty bad, which brings me to the next thing…low miles can also be a bad thing depending on where the vehicle was stored. I’ve woke up low mile “barn finds” that ran perfect and others, not so much. There are so many things to look for when buying that sometimes it’s best to just get your mechanic friend to come along (I get asked all the time haha) or sit down and make up a list to follow. I always offer to help people go look at vans too though. More van lifers the better! Good luck! :v: