It is still unclear whether silent brain infarct (SBI) and white-matter hyperintensities (WMHs) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are associated with cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI), a novel parameter of arterial stiffness. We studied 220 consecutive patients (mean age, 69 years) without a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack. Patients were assessed for the presence of SBI, WMHs and risk factors. Arterial stiffness was evaluated using CAVI. Patients were categorized into one of two groups according to the presence or absence of SBI and WMHs, and clinical characteristics were compared between the two groups. CAVI was significantly higher in patients with SBI or in patients with WMHs than in those without those respective findings. The CAVI cutoff values for detection of SBI and WMHs were 9.2 and 8.9, respectively. On multivariable analyses, CAVI, a one point increase in CAVI: odds ratio (OR), 1.25; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.01–1.56; CAVI⩾9.2: OR, 2.34; 95% CI, 1.16–5.02, was independently associated with SBI, however, CAVI was not independently associated with WMHs. Patients with CAVI ⩾9.2 had higher OR for the presence of both SBI and WMHs (OR, 2.57; 95% CI, 1.15–5.98) when compared with patients with CAVI <9.2 after adjustment for age and sex. SBI is independently associated with arterial stiffness indicated by CAVI.