What Is Considered High Mileage For A Diesel Truck?
January 24, 2023

What Is Considered High Mileage For A Diesel Truck?

Written By: ProSource Diesel

Diesel engines are known for durability, and that durability translates to greater mileage. Powerstroke, Cummins and Duramax diesel trucks are all capable of lasting more than 100,000 miles, even if they’ve been regularly used for towing and other demanding applications. It’s not unheard of for diesel pickups to last up to 200,000 miles –or even 300,000 miles and beyond.

The diesel engine’s long lifespan gives these trucks good resale value on the used truck market. If you find a used diesel truck with high mileage, you may still get plenty of use out of it. The rules are different for diesel engines, so if you find a used pickup, how will you know whether or not the truck is considered a high-mileage vehicle?

The Lifespan of Diesel Trucks vs Gas Trucks

These days, trucks last longer than ever. It’s not difficult to find a gas truck with over 200,000 miles on it. But diesel trucks are in a league of their own and can last up to 500,000 miles and beyond.

These trucks aren’t solely benefitting from a diesel engine’s increased durability. The trucks themselves are also built to be tougher and more durable. Because diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, the body of a diesel truck needs to be tough enough to hold it.

There’s No Set Standard for “High Mileage”

You’ll find that durability varies among gas cars and trucks, and the same is true of diesel vehicles. Usage is one of the factors that determine a diesel engine’s lifespan. For example, a diesel truck used extensively for towing might need major repairs by the time it hits 100,000 miles –but a lightly-used pickup might be able to reach 200,000 miles without any major problems.

Taking a truck’s usage into account is only scratching the surface. There are plenty of other factors that determine a diesel truck’s life expectancy:

  • Whether it received regular maintenance
  • Number of previous owners
  • Primary use (ie. was it a work truck, or was it driven casually?)
  • Accident history

For example, a diesel pickup that has over 200,000 miles on it, but only one or two owners and good maintenance records, will probably last longer than a 100,000 truck that’s had four owners and poor maintenance. There’s plenty to take into account other than what the odometer says.

You should also consider a truck’s overall condition. It stands to reason that a diesel truck that has been well-maintained inside and out is more likely to be well-maintained under the hood as well.

What Is Considered High Mileage for a Duramax Diesel Pickup Truck?

Duramax is General Motors’ brand of diesel engines for GMC and Chevy trucks. They’re well-known for their reliability. Duramax trucks above 300,000 miles are usually considered high mileage. Ultimately, it depends on the truck’s condition. A truck with a properly maintained Duramax Diesel engine can reach up to as much as 500,000 miles.

What Is Considered High Mileage For A Diesel Truck?

2004 GMC Sierra 2500HD Duramax 4×4 – Image courtesy of and copyright of Bring a Trailer

What Is Considered High Mileage for a Cummins Diesel Pickup Truck?

Cummins engines are found in the Dodge and Ram diesel truck lines. Like Duramax engines, Cummins engines have a reputation for being long-lasting.

So what’s high mileage for a Cummins diesel engine? These engines can typically last 300,000 to 350,000 miles, which is considered high mileage –but a well-maintained Cummins engine can reach up to 500,000 miles.

It’s important to keep a truck with a Cummins engine well-serviced because the truck’s other parts might run down far before its engine does.

What Is Considered High Mileage For A Diesel Truck?

2006 Dodge Ram 2500 SLT Quad Cab Cummins 4×4 – Image courtesy of and copyright of Bring a Trailer


What Is Considered High Mileage for a Powerstroke Diesel Pickup Truck?

Finally, we have Powerstroke engines. The Powerstroke engine is found in Ford trucks. Ford’s F-Series pickups are the most popular truck in America, and Ford trucks have a reputation for reliability. Like with the Duramax and Cummins engines, these engines can often last up to 500,000 miles.

However, anything over 350,000 miles is usually considered high mileage for a Powerstroke engine. As with all trucks, regular maintenance is key to getting the most miles out of your engine.

What Is Considered High Mileage For A Diesel Truck?

2003 Ford F-250 Super Duty King Ranch Crew Cab Powerstroke 4×4 – Image courtesy of and copyright of Bring a Trailer

What to Consider When Buying a High-Mileage Truck

If you’re buying a used diesel pickup truck, a truck with 250,000 miles on it might be a great deal. A brand-new diesel truck is typically more expensive than its gas counterpart so a used diesel truck with more than 100,000 left on it may make more sense financially.

Prior to buying a used diesel truck, there’s plenty you need to inspect before you hand over your money. Additionally, after you buy a used diesel truck, you’ll want to follow the guidelines below to ensure your truck will be on the road for years to come.

  • Check over the vehicle maintenance records to see what has been recently serviced and what is due for service.
  • Perform an engine and transmission service immediately after purchasing
  • If the engine checks out, thoroughly inspect the chassis
  • Service the truck’s drivetrain
  • Switch to synthetic oil for your engine and gears
  • Inspect the truck’s cooling system
  • Remember that certain engines have problems specific to their model. The articles below cover those.

6.4 Powerstroke Problems
6.7 Powerstroke Problems
Duramax Problems By Year

Should You Worry About Oil Leaks?

Engines that have high mileage are more prone to oil leaks. This isn’t typically a huge problem; small leaks around your gaskets and seals are common issues with well-used engines. In fact, you should probably expect small oil leaks around your front and rear main seals. You should only start to worry if you notice a heavy coating of oil around a seal or gasket.

Nobody likes an oil leak, but small leaks shouldn’t be a deal-breaker if you notice them on a high-mileage diesel engine.

What Is Considered High Mileage For A Diesel Truck?

Diesel Truck Fuel Additives

If you’ve recently bought an older diesel truck, then it’s a good idea to start a diesel fuel additive regimen. Older engines need help with additional lubrication, or else you might experience premature injection pump failure. Additives aren’t just great for older trucks; they can be used on modern diesel engines too. Diesel engine additives can help improve your truck’s gas mileage, regardless of how many miles the engine has on it.

Every Diesel Engine is Unique

Each diesel truck and diesel engine has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. You might be persuaded to go with a diesel engine known for being more reliable, but a reliable engine means nothing if it’s attached to a truck that has its own issues. Maintenance records are an invaluable tool for staying on top of your vehicle’s potential problems.

Here’s an example: let’s say you found a great truck, but it has issues with the water pump failing every 100,000 miles. So you might find this truck with 300,000 miles on it and in great condition, but its water pump hasn’t been replaced for over 150,000 miles. So while this truck looks great, you may soon be looking at costly repairs for the water pump.

Why Use Synthetic Oil?

Synthetic gear oil and engine oil offer plenty of benefits for high-mileage diesel trucks. It’s never too late to make the switch. By using synthetic oil, you’ll get:

  • Better performance under extreme low and high-temperature performance
  • Improved chemical stability
  • Resistance to mechanical force breakdown
  • Resistance to oil breakdown from heat
  • Greater resistance against oxidation and sludge buildup

Oil becomes unstable when exposed to heat, repetitive mechanical forces, and chemical breakdown caused by fuel dilution. And if your engine is high-mileage, it’s even more susceptible to these. Synthetic oil helps protect your engine against these forces, which may extend its lifespan and make it more efficient too. An oil change kit provides the proper amount of oil and the correct oil filter.

Synthetic oils are also better at reducing friction than regular oil. As diesel parts wear out in high-mileage engines, there may be more friction between parts. More friction means more heat, and that heat further breaks down both your oil and your diesel truck parts.

What Is Considered High Mileage For A Diesel Truck?


In conclusion, there is no single number for what is considered high mileage for a diesel pickup truck; however, in general, anything over 300,000 is a good “mile marker” to use as a rule. But the number of miles on a diesel truck isn’t the only thing to take into consideration.

Diesel truck maintenance is key, and a well-maintained, high-mileage Powerstroke, Cummins or Duramax diesel pickup truck is usually a safer bet than a poorly-maintained and heavily-used diesel pickup with lower mileage.

Do you own a high-mileage truck? Then you can count on ProSource Diesel for all your diesel truck parts and accessories. You can find Cummins diesel parts, Duramax parts, and Ford diesel parts available on our website. ProSource is where repair shops shop for reliable and hard-to-find diesel parts and kits.

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