how to reset miles on a car

How To Reset Miles On A Car


August 10, 2022

How to reset miles on a car?

All automobiles have an odometer, which is usually a digital display placed in the instrument club on the dash.

Keeping track of your car’s miles allows you to better schedule tire replacements, oil changes, and service maintenance by keeping track of how far you have driven.

The odometer is crucial, and any tampering should be avoided.

In fact, you might be wondering if it is possible to reset the miles on a vehicle and whether it is illegal to reset the odometer.

Do not wonder anymore; we have got all of the answers to this post. 

How Do You Know If Your Car’s Odometer Has Been Reset?

For decades, car thieves have used a devious trick to restore the miles on their vehicles.

For most vehicles equipped with an analog old-style mechanical odometer, reducing the mileage has been rather straightforward.

Driving a car in reverse or using a power tool to turn the components backward was all it took to reduce its mileage by thousands of miles.

The method of resetting the mileage has improved with the introduction of sophisticated automobile computers and digital odometers (you’ll need specific software), but it is not completely unfeasible.

black and gray car instrument panel cluster

Of all the second-hand automobiles sold in the United States, around 3% are believed to have had their mileage altered.

The NHTSA conducted an investigation in which it was revealed that 452,000 vehicles were marketed each year with wrong odometer readings. 

With these facts in mind, it is important to understand the symptoms of odometer fraud.

It is critical to be vigilant when purchasing a used vehicle:

Worn tires

When it comes to how far a car has traveled, the tires will tell their own tale.

If the odometer shows a low reading but the tires are worn, there is something amiss.

Also, examine the tire’s manufacturing date.

When the odometer reads low despite the fact that the tires are old, you know there is foul play going on.

You should not have old and worn tires if your automobile has only done 7,000 miles. 

Scratches On The Instrument Cluster

Scratches and damage to the screws and casing may be found in vehicles with an odometer in the instrument cluster – and not in the computer.

Criminals will need to pry into it through the plastic seal to reverse the odometer, which is difficult because of visible harm. 

Wear And Tear

If the automobile has low mileage, it usually implies a newer vehicle.

If any wear and tear are present, it will be minimal.

The padding on the steering wheel should not be worn down; foot pedals that have been utilized a lot are not in good shape, and the seats are rundown, there is a good chance the car isn’t as new as advertised. 

Look for damaged components and spare parts

Unless something has gone very wrong, new cars do not need to have their parts replaced.

If the car has 10,000 miles on the odometer but a look under the hood reveals a new alternator, a replacement battery, or corrosion in the engine and lots of built-up debris, it would not be far-fetched to conclude that the mileage was tampered with. 

Is It Illegal To Reset The Car Miles?

Car miles may be reset or “farmed” in order to fraudulently make it appear as if your car was driven a certain distance.

It is both a state and federal crime.

A fault might harm your odometer, resulting in an incorrect reading, and you may wish to reset it.

However, faulty odometers are uncommon; in most situations, car owners ask if they can reset the miles since they desire a higher sales price.

The fact is that tampering with a vehicle’s odometer is a felony.

You should never be thinking about how to reset a car’s odometer unless you have been given express permission from the authorities. 

black and silver steering wheel

Odometer fraud has been linked to between $4 and $10 billion of consumer losses, so while it is a crime that comes with a jail sentence, some sellers do not stop reducing the miles in order to get a better deal. 

Odometer fraud is considered a criminal misdemeanor in most states.

The typical prison term for odometer fraud ranges from 18 months to 3 years.

In certain cases, however, certain travelers with some serious convictions of odometer fraud vehicles have been sentenced to lengthy jail terms, generally around 7 years. 

Can You Reset Miles On The Car?

It is illegal to reverse the miles on a vehicle odometer, but this is nonetheless possible.

If you have a car in your garage that you never plan on selling or driving, and it is just there for you to practice your mechanical abilities on, you can try to reset the odometer.

Tampering with a vehicle’s mileage, on the other hand, is a felony that should never be forgotten.

Over the years, car odometers have gone from analog to digital, and mechanics have developed techniques to reduce the likelihood of tampering and odometer fraud.

black vehicle cluster instrument panel

In modern cars, the instrument cluster may have an anti-tampering seal around the odometer, making it difficult to access and reset the mileage. 

There are instructional videos on the web if you want to know how to reset your car’s odometer.

However, as changing a vehicle’s mileage is a misdemeanor, we will not provide the methods in this post. Instead, we have provided some of the most frequently asked questions about resetting an odometer, hoping that they will be useful. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it against the law to reset the odometer?

It is a crime to tamper with the odometer in any way.

If you buy a vehicle with an altered odometer, the seller will have misled you into believing that it is still under its original mileage.

The most frequent reason for odometers to be inflated is in order to make a car seem newer than it is and to be able to charge more for the clock’s phony low mileage.

Additionally, as automobiles grow older and accumulate miles, they require greater attention to keep them safe and roadworthy.

If a car’s odometer shows an incorrect mileage count, new owners may delay routine maintenance because they believe the automobile has not achieved the required amount of kilometers between tune-ups. 

What happens if you reset your mileage?

Resetting or tampering with a vehicle’s odometer is a serious violation of both state and federal law.

The loss of between 4 and 10 billion dollars due to odometer fraud has been discovered!

If you are discovered to have rolled back the miles in your automobile, you could end up behind bars.

It is wrong to mislead customers into thinking your vehicle was driven fewer miles than it really was.

Is it possible to reverse an odometer?

The reverse is the only way to wind the mechanical odometers back in many cars.

These traditional style odometers are powered by springs, cables, and pegs that turn as the miles go by and can also be reversed.

Although odometers with a dial have not been used by manufacturers for many years, digital odometers only add miles regardless of whether you are going forward or backward.  

How can I tell whether my vehicle’s mileage is accurate?

If you have not purchased your vehicle from a reputable dealer, you might be concerned about the mileage.

There are several easy methods to determine if your car’s mileage is genuine.

Examine the overall condition of the automobile and the engine, and see whether it appears to be in good working order.

There is a chance that the mileage was altered if the state of the vehicle does not appear to match its low mileage on the odometer.

If the steering wheel, gear stick, and pedals appear to be worn and well used but the vehicle mileage is low, something does not seem to fit together, and your miles may be phony. 

Is it true that replacing the engine resets the mileage?

The mileage on a new car engine does not reset the odometer.

An odometer is a measure of all of a vehicle’s components, not just the engine.

The distance your automobile has traveled throughout its entire ‘lifetime’ is recorded on the odometer, regardless of whether any components are replaced or repaired. 

Final Words

Is it legal to reset the odometer in a vehicle?

We hope that after reading this essay, you will understand that the answer to this question is yes.

Resetting the miles on a motor vehicle is both a state and federal offense, as well as an instance of odometer tampering. 

Despite the fact that there is a possibility of jail time, people in the United States today are still selling automobiles with their miles rescinded.

We have provided some hints to look for if you are buying a second hand vehicle, and we hope this post has helped you recognize odometer fraud if you plan to do so in the future.


Jeffrey Bryce is an experienced motorcycle rider with years of experience caring for motorcycles. His natural fondness for motorcycles have made him come up with, which is dedicated to answering and teaching you how to care for your bike with the care it requires. LetsGoForARide is the one of his important lifework in reaching out to communities of motorcycle enthusiasts on how to take care of their bike and choosing the correct spare part.