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Identifying approximate mileage.


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Hi. My latest Manta is displaying 5,000 miles on the clock and it's clearly been around, so I'd have assumed the mileage is 105,000. I'm now a little concerned I may have bought a car that's done 205,000 miles. The engine sounds like a bag of spanners, very rattley and it's particularly noisy to drive. The rear axle has some kind of bearing worn out, I'm really hoping it's a wheel bearing and not the pinion. The steering rack has terminal arthritis. All four springs and shocks have been recently replaced. Finally just the other day I noticed the heater blower has stopped working and some of the electrics are failing.

I'm usually quite good at judging how the wear corresponds to the displayed or assumed mileage, but with this car, I'm stumped. The pedal wear is what I usually go on and they're quite good, the steering wheel edge has worn but again, not that badly to think it's done mega miles. The gearknob on the other hand (no pun intended) is really worn out, super shiny and even the 1 2 3 4 5 R on the top has practically disappeared.

I'm going to be replacing the head eventually and also have a refurbed steering rack on it's way to me, any suggestions on what I could look out for either mechanically or cosmetically that could indicate very high mileage?


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Nothing in your description shouts 200K plus, in fact I'm not sure what your issue is exactly, are you concerned about the value?  

I buy old cars on condition, a working 200K is better than a rattly bleeding to death 80K.

Engines are a throw away item and all the other maladies could happen anywhere from 60K upwards.  Being a Manta, a good floor is worth more than any running gear.


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Thanks Doc. My only real issue with it would be the level of restoration it requires at that mileage. The amount of worn out parts that I can't reuse increases with the miles it's done and the list is stacking up, items that seem to wear through mileage, rather than lack of service and maintenance. Even with the 5 figure odometre, I should really know what mileage my car has done, it's not really just provenance. So I'm hoping to at least be able to identify a difference of 100,000 miles, just could do with some pointers to know what to look for.

Once I've got the head off, will the cylinder bores tell me anything? Is a timing chain likely to be overstreched at 200k+? Even with regular oil changes, there must be something that I can go on..

Thanks Wayne too. Yes, I'm hoping to get one of mantasrme's heater mods before long if he still does 'em :)

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 Your Manta could have been driven hard for 105k or actually doing well for 205k.

 the gear change, as for having a shiney knob the last owner could have driven everywhere with it tightly in his grasp.....

Exactly, the engine in mine has done a quarter of a million miles, probably the last 100K after spending 2 years outside full of water.

It was on 48K or 58K wrapped in a another car when I got it in 1992 and has been a heavy breather and rattling at idle for a decade.


There is no rhyme or reason to when most wearing parts go. One side will go and the other will outlast 2 or 3 more replacements, in fact I believe people needlessly changing things in pairs aren't increasing the quality or life or reliability of their car just pushing the TCO up.

To put it in perspective my 206K miles '95 328 has more original parts than my wife's 170K miles '94 325.

3 of the 328 wheel beatings are on 206K and the replaced one 30K ago. Clutch is original and just just changed clutch in my wife's.

Hers I have fitted shocks, struts, top mounts all around and rear springs and mine has had rear shocks and second hand rear springs.

Mine has had 6 bushes in the rear, hers 10. Actually thinking on mine had had 8 as I have destroyed my RTABs twice :)

I have fitted Meyle HD lower front arms to both, on mine they replaced OEM probably original, on hers replaced some cheap ones fitted just before it was bought.


After a while stuff just goes when it has had enough.








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Have you tried looking on the VOSA site and doing an MOT history search, it'll at least give you the mileage increases over the years since they brought in electronic mot records.

After all the dash clocks could have been changed along the way because they were faulty, so what they display isn't always a reliable record of that cars mileage.

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 ..as for having a shiney knob the last owner could have driven everywhere with it tightly in his grasp.....

Oh I love it when you talk like this! :lol: Cheers Ian, I hope you're well mate.

I have the electronic type MOTs from 2011, they show approx 1,000 mile increases each year from then. When this car was someone's commuter. I imagine it's done most of it's leg work in the first 15 years of it's life.

I'm thinking I should have just made the question more hypothetical, but thanks for the replies gents :thumbup

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