Sometimes the higher-mileage vehicles don't work out. For example, retailing a car with bad brakes is definitely a no-go, Wallace said. A couple of paint chips are one thing, but problems with airbags or antilock braking systems render a car unsellable, Morse said.
Higher-mileage vehicles with glaring safety issues can get the boot if they are too expensive to remedy or can't be fixed in the service shop.
And what works for some dealers doesn't work for all. Some firmly believe that a high odometer is a red flag.
Zeigler Auto Group, of Kalamazoo, Mich., dramatically increased its used-vehicle inventory last year, but that didn't include adding vehicles with 150,000 miles or more. If one such vehicle gets traded in, the group usually takes it to auction.
"The risk is that the vehicle breaks and customers are not happy," said Aaron Zeigler, the group's president.
Other dealers who obtain higher-mileage vehicles via trade-ins may opt to put them on their lots "as is" — without reconditioning — with a heads-up to potential buyers.
Said Allen Turner, owner of his namesake auto group based in Pensacola, Fla.: "We try to retail everything that we trade in, unless we know that it's got some major, major problem."