Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

4 Essential Things to Know About Your Car’s Odometer

Car Odometer

The odometer on a car tells how far the vehicle has traveled. It can be mechanical, electrical, or a combination of the two. Part of the odometer includes a trip meter. A trip meter indicates how far the car has traveled during a certain period of time. For modern vehicles, these are mostly electronic.

Odometer Tampering

Odometer tampering is a type of fraud that happens when the incorrect number of miles is presented to the potential buyer. It makes the car look like it has been driven less than it really has, so the buyer can sell it at a higher price.

Signs of Odometer Tampering

One of the easiest ways to see if the odometer has been tampered is to look at the vehicle’s service history. Every time the car was brought to the shop, the mileage should have been recorded. This includes oil changes, or any other service the vehicle has had throughout its lifetime. Another way to tell if an odometer has been tampered with is if there are switches that don’t seem to belong on the dashboard. While taking the car for a test drive, play with these switches and if one turns off the speedometer, you know it has been tampered with.

Signs of a Replaced Odometer

Sometimes an odometer fails and needs to be replaced by a mechanic. One sign to show that it has been replaced legally is the garage will have a replacement sticker inside the vehicle. The sticker is normally located in a noticeable area, such as the driver’s door jamb or near the VIN number. The sticker should have the original mileage written on it.

If You Suspect Tampering

If you suspect odometer tampering, you should try to get as much proof as you can. Once you have proof, contact a consumer law attorney. The attorney will advise you on what steps need to be taken, as well as let you know how you can protect yourself.

The odometer is an instrument in your vehicle that tells how many miles your car has been driven. This is important information to have so you know when to get oil changes or provide the data to prospective buyers. Odometer tampering does happen, so keep on the lookout for it when purchasing a used vehicle. If you do suspect tampering, contact a lawyer right away. For more information about odometers or to have your odometer replaced, contact YourMechanic.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...


Related questions

Q: When starting truck, odometer disappears

Hello. I don’t believe the radio installation would have anything to do with your issue because it did not occur until long after installation. I think the issue likely is with the instrument cluster itself. The instrument cluster should always...

Q: How do I display the miles to empty feature?

There is a Base Message Center that logs the functions of your vehicle. You can use this message center to display your vehicle's information and features. The Miles to Empty feature will tell you how long it will be before...

Q: Odometer malfunctioning, ABS light on constantly

On the Volvo 850, there is a plastic gear on the odometer/trip meter unit inside the instrument cluster that is known to wear out. The instrument cluster will have to be removed, disassembled, and the gear replaced to correct the...