RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — After dropping a bit in the fall, used car prices are on the way back up again here in the Triangle.

In part, this is because the used car market is unable to provide good quality used cars at reasonable prices. 

Here in North Carolina, the average age of vehicles currently on our roads is about 12.2 years, according to stats compiled from various automotive sources.

“You definitely see people hanging on to cars longer, and you see cars that have far more mileage going for the same price that they would have gone for with half that mileage,” said Karl Brauer, an industry analyst with iSeeCars.

Why are people keeping their cars longer? It’s a combination of:  

  • Continuing supply chain shortages for new cars  
  • Higher gas prices  
  • Car prices for new vehicles 

CBS 17’s consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia asked Brauer what the inventory looks like right now for the used car market in our area, and if people are being forced to buy clunkers. 

“A lot of people wouldn’t consider a used car with maybe more than 100,000 miles,” he said. “Most people would probably like one under 50,000 (miles).”  

But those low mileage, later model cars are tougher to find these days — so buyers are forced to purchase higher mileage used vehicles. 

The question is, are those higher mileage cars reliable? 

“The good thing is, the newer more recent used cars, they’re more durable and they last longer,” said Brauer.

Before you buy a higher mileage used car, make sure a mechanic of your choice checks it out to make sure it’s in sound condition.

“Now we’re seeing vehicles hitting over 200,000 miles and a couple of them are heading toward 300,000,’’ said Brauer. “I personally have a 2001 BMW 325 convertible with 211,000 miles.” 

With inflation and higher interest rates for car loans still an issue, a used car may not be the best purchase right now. 

“There’s a lot of people who’ve been on the sidelines for the past two years, rightfully so, because of pricing and they’re waiting for prices to come down,” said Brauer. “I think the next 6 to 12 months will probably see prices getting better still.” 

Also, if you wait until the last four months of a year to buy that used car, you’re likely to find a bigger inventory of used vehicles.

This is because people who are looking at buying a newly-arrived 2024 model will most likely be trading in their used vehicles.