How to Reset Car Mileage: Step-by-Step Guide!

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To reset the mileage on a car, you need to use a diagnostic tool that is compatible with your vehicle’s make and model. Doing this will let you clear the mileage stored in the car’s electronic control unit (ecu), but this is not recommended as it is illegal in many places and can be viewed as a form of odometer fraud.

The mileage on a car is an important indicator of how much it has been used, and can impact its resale value or reliability. However, sometimes people may want to reset the mileage on their car for various reasons such as hiding the fact that it has been driven excessively, or because they have replaced the instrument cluster.

Regardless of the reason, resetting the mileage can be illegal and pose ethical concerns. If you need to reset your car’s mileage, it is best to consult with a professional mechanic or dealer.

How to Reset the Mileage on a Car?


Understanding Car Mileage

Resetting car mileage is a topic of much debate among car owners. While it may seem like an appealing way to increase the value of your vehicle, resetting car mileage is illegal and can have severe legal repercussions. However, understanding car mileage is an essential aspect of vehicle ownership, and it is crucial to have a good grasp of how it is recorded and displayed.

In this post, we will delve into the intricacies of car mileage, including the difference between actual and perceived mileage and the importance of accurate mileage for resale value.

Explanation Of How Car Mileage Is Recorded And Displayed

Car mileage, or the number of miles a vehicle has traveled, is one of the essential factors in determining the resale value of a vehicle. For this reason, car manufacturers take accurate mileages very seriously and have developed sophisticated methods of recording and displaying this information.

Some of the most common ways to measure car mileage are:

  • Odometer: An odometer is a device mounted on the dashboard of a car that records the number of miles a vehicle has traveled. It typically displays mileage in miles or kilometers, depending on the region.
  • Engine control module (ecm): An ecm is a computer that controls various functions of a vehicle, including the engine’s performance. It also continuously records the car’s mileage.
  • Service history: Many car owners keep detailed service records that include mileage information.

Discussion Of The Difference Between Actual And Perceived Mileage

Actual mileage refers to the precise number of miles a vehicle has traveled over the course of its lifetime, while perceived mileage refers to the number of miles that a car’s odometer shows. The difference between these two figures can be significant in terms of resale value, as it can signify issues such as tampering or wear and tear.

Common factors that can lead to differences between actual and perceived mileage include:

  • Mechanical issues: If a car has been poorly maintained or serviced, it can lead to the odometer showing a lower mileage than the car has actually traveled.
  • Tampering: Unscrupulous sellers may tamper with a car’s odometer to make it appear as if the vehicle has traveled fewer miles.
  • Excessive wear and tear: A well-used car that has been driven aggressively or on poor road surfaces can have significantly more wear and tear than is typical for its age.

Importance Of Accurate Mileage For Resale Value

For car owners looking to sell their vehicle, accurate mileage records can make a significant difference in the final sale price. A car with low mileage that has been well-maintained is typically more valuable than a car with high mileage that has not been serviced or has been subject to tampering.

Accurate mileage records can also offer peace of mind for prospective buyers, as they can verify that a car has not been subject to excessive wear and tear or tampering. It is an essential aspect of the car buying experience, and buyers should always verify the accuracy of a car’s mileage records before making a purchase.

Reasons To Reset Car Mileage

Discussion Of The Legitimate Reasons To Reset Car Mileage

There are several legitimate reasons why a car owner may need to reset the car mileage. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Selling the car: One of the main reasons to reset the car mileage is to make it more marketable to potential buyers. A lower mileage may attract more customers and increase the car’s resale value.
  • Maintenance purposes: Sometimes, car owners may need to reset the car mileage after performing maintenance or repairs. This helps keep an accurate record of the vehicle’s mileage and maintenance history.
  • Replacing a faulty odometer: If the odometer malfunctions, it may need to be replaced, and resetting the mileage is a necessary step in this process.
  • Personal reasons: In some cases, car owners may want to reset the mileage for personal reasons, like starting fresh with a new odometer reading.

It’s important to note that any of the above reasons are legitimate, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with resetting car mileage in these situations.

Warning Against Illegal Or Unethical Practices

While there are legitimate reasons to reset car mileage, there are also illegal and unethical practices to be aware of. Here’s a look at some of the warning signs:

  • Tampering with the odometer: The most illegal and unethical practice is tampering with the odometer to change the mileage reading. This is a federal crime and can result in fines and even imprisonment.
  • False advertising: If you sell a car with a rolled back odometer, it’s considered false advertising. This can lead to legal ramifications and damage your reputation.
  • Dishonesty: Resetting the mileage to deceive potential buyers or misrepresent the car’s history is dishonest and unethical.

There are legitimate reasons to reset car mileage, but it’s crucial to be aware of the illegal and unethical practices that can cause harm to you and others. Always practice honesty and integrity when dealing with car mileage, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Step-By-Step Guide To Resetting Car Mileage

Resetting car mileage is not an easy job. But, there are times when we have to reset the car mileage in situations like selling a car or in situations when a mechanic does some repair work on the car. We will provide you with a step-by-step guide on resetting car mileage in an understandable manner.

So, let’s dive right in.

Basic Precautions To Take Before Starting

Before resetting your car mileage, it is essential to take some basic precautions to avoid any unwanted consequences. Here are some precautions you should take:

  • Make sure that you have the appropriate tool to reset the mileage of your car.
  • Ensure that you have disconnected the car’s battery before starting the process.
  • Ensure that the key is not in the ignition while resetting the mileage.
  • Always reset the mileage from zero and not to a higher number.

Overview Of The Steps Involved

Resetting car mileage is a relatively simple task that requires basic knowledge and attention to detail. Here is an overview of the step-by-step process:

  • The first step is to locate the odometer reset button or gauge depending on the car model.
  • Next, turn on the ignition key without starting the car.
  • Then, press and hold the odometer reset button until the mileage is cleared from the screen.
  • After that, turn off the ignition key and wait for a few seconds.
  • Finally, turn on the car again and verify that the mileage has been reset to zero.

It is crucial to follow these steps carefully to ensure that the car’s mileage is reset to zero.

Final Thoughts

Resetting car mileage is a simple task that requires you to take some precautions and attention to detail. By following the steps mentioned above, you can easily reset your car mileage to zero. Remember not to tamper with the car’s mileage for negative purposes as it can lead to severe legal consequences.

Other Ways To Reset Car Mileage

Resetting car mileage is a tricky business, and it’s vital to know the right way to do it. While an obd-ii scanner tool is the easiest and safest way to reset car mileage, not everyone has access to one. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry, as there are several other options available to you.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to reset car mileage using alternative methods without an obd-ii scanner tool.

Alternative Methods For Resetting Mileage Without An Obd-Ii Scanner Tool

Method 1: Disassemble The Dashboard And Reset The Odometer Manually

  • Check your car’s manual to see whether the dashboard can be easily disassembled.
  • Carefully remove the dashboard and locate the odometer.
  • Use a drill to reverse the odometer’s count or replace the instrument panel with one with a lower mileage count.

Method 2: Using A Diagnostic Tool

  • Purchase an electronic mileage correction tool, which is available online and at various auto parts stores.
  • Connect the tool to your car’s diagnostic port.
  • Follow the instructions to reset the mileage, which may include entering the correct mileage or selecting the appropriate make and model.

Pros And Cons Of Each Method

Method 1: Disassemble The Dashboard And Reset The Odometer Manually


  • No need for an obd-ii scanner tool.
  • Can be done at home.


  • Requires technical expertise and knowledge of car mechanics.
  • Risk of damaging the car’s dashboard or other components.
  • Illegal in many countries.

Method 2: Using A Diagnostic Tool


  • Easier and faster than manually resetting the odometer.
  • May be legal in some cases if used appropriately.
  • Relatively affordable.


  • Can be more expensive than other methods.
  • Requires purchasing a separate electronic device.
  • May not work with all car models or makes.

Risks And Potential Damage To The Car

  • Resetting a car’s odometer is illegal in most cases and can lead to legal consequences.
  • Tampering with the dashboard or any other component can result in permanent damage to the car or voiding the warranty.
  • Altering the car’s mileage can also affect its resale value, as buyers will question the car’s condition and history.

Resetting car mileage without an obd-ii scanner tool is possible, but it’s important to consider the risks and potential damage to the vehicle. Always consult with a trusted mechanic or auto specialist before attempting to reset your car’s mileage manually or with a diagnostic tool.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Reset The Mileage On A Car?

How Do You Reset The Mileage On A Car?

To reset the mileage on a car, you need to disconnect the battery for about 30 minutes to an hour. After that, reconnect the battery and start the car. The odometer reading should be reset to zero.

Can You Reset The Mileage On A Car Yourself?

Yes, you can reset the mileage on a car yourself by disconnecting the battery for a period of time. You could also use specialized tools to reprogram the odometer or seek professional help to do this.

Is Resetting Mileage On A Car Legal?

No, resetting mileage on a car is illegal according to federal law. This is because the odometer reading is used to gauge the value of the car and resetting it can alter the car’s current perceived value, leading to fraudulent practices.

How Do Dealerships Reset Car Mileage?

Dealerships may use specialized equipment to reset car mileage. They do this mainly for testing purposes or if they need to change the instrument cluster. The process involves connecting the equipment to the car’s system and reprogramming the odometer.

What Happens If You Buy A Car With Rolled Back Mileage?

If you unknowingly buy a car with rolled back mileage, you may end up paying more than the actual value of the car. This could also lead to mechanical issues, which could be costly to fix. You may even be liable for fines or face legal action for committing fraud.


Resetting mileage on a car is a controversial topic with several different opinions. While some people believe it’s unethical, others believe it’s harmless. However, before considering resetting mileage on your vehicle, it’s essential to understand the laws regulating such actions within your location.

Fortunately, resetting mileage on a car can be done easily without much technical knowledge. It’s as simple as following the steps we have discussed in this article. We have established that the most comfortable and quickest way to reset mileage on your vehicle is through professional help.

However, suppose you have a few technical skills and feel comfortable going the diy route. In that case, this article provides you with the necessary steps to do it yourself. Whichever route you choose to take, remember to adhere to the law and only reset mileage to correct inaccuracies.

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