How to Legally Reset the Odometer | 4 Simple Steps with Details


The contents of this web page are for informational and educational purposes only, and nothing you read is intended to be legal advice. Please review our disclaimer before taking action based upon anything you read or see.

Every car has an odometer on the dashboard. It is a gadget that calculates your automobile’s total distance, often expressed as miles. Your odometer reading is important when recording the mileage for upcoming oil changes, routine maintenance, or tire replacements. How to legally reset the odometer is another common question. To help you, we have created this post.

The distance your car has traveled since you acquired it from the dealer is recorded on the odometer. The engine is not the only factor in the meter readings being manipulated.

The whole mechanical block, on the other hand, does! The history of the whole automobile, not just the engine, is shown by the odometer, to put it another way.

For example, a younger person may donate their heart. That doesn’t mean the receiver would become younger; instead, he would stay the same age. The same applies to an odometer and the engine. Additionally, you would be subject to prosecution if you manually reset the odometer.

This is due to the necessity to compute and display the mileage difference and record the engine replacement status. You will be forced to deal with terrible repercussions if none of that occurs. Come along as we elaborate more on this below.

  • Gather Necessary Documents
  • Notarizing the Documents
  • Submitting the Documents to the DMV
  • Completing the Title Transfer

How to Legally Reset the Odometer

How to Legally Reset the Odometer

The fact is that meddling with a car’s odometer is illegal for all kinds of reasons. Only think about how to reset a vehicle odometer if the authorities have given you explicit authorization to do so. The following steps will aid you immensely:

Gather Necessary Documents

It’s against the law to reset the odometer without completing any documentation. As you surely have seen in the highlight above, resetting an odometer is illegal in the U.S. Before replacement, the original mileage from the old cluster must be transposed to reset the odometer legally.

The kind of transaction and the state impact the needed documents. Here is a summary of the kinds of documentation you could need; for details about your particular circumstance, see the DMV website for your state:

A valid photo I.D., a marriage certificate or divorce decree as proof of a name change, a duly completed title and enrollment application, a signed and notarized car title (with the odometer reading included), and a lien release are all required (if necessary)

Title and registration costs, additional paperwork (such as a power of attorney or representative legal papers), and buyer insurance evidence

For any further information relevant to your circumstance, you should also visit the DMV page for your state.

Notarizing the Documents

Notarize the documents after that. A database of public notaries is available at The Notary Rotary, accessible by zip code.

Bring the necessary paperwork with you to your notary session. You will need the title, a state-issued picture I.D. (“I.D.”), and the notary fee, at the very least.

The ID must include a picture and be issued by the government, like a driver’s license, or by the military, like a military I.D. card.

Allow the Notary to sign, seal, and stamp the title. The Notary will check that the signatures are legitimate before signing, stamping, or sealing the title.

Pay the notary fee since it may be a little cost for the Notary’s services.

Submitting the Documents to the DMV

Any time a vehicle or vessel’s registered owner or lienholder changes, the DMV must update its records within 10 days.

Also, deliver your title transfer documentation and any applicable fees to a DMV office. If the car is less than ten years old, keeping track of the miles on the odometer is crucial.

Completing the Title Transfer

A car title serves as proof of ownership of a vehicle. When you sell your automobile, the title must be properly given to the new owner so they may finish the registration procedure.

Two processes are involved in transferring an automobile title: one for the vendor and one for the buyer. The seller must first sign the title to transfer ownership of the vehicle. The state then provides a new registration and title once the buyer brings the signed title to the DMV. For example, a bill of sale or transference of ownership document may be needed in certain jurisdictions to complete the procedure.

Laws & Regulations Regarding Odometer Resetting

Laws & Regulations Regarding Odometer Resetting

The car’s odometer has to be correct before you sell it. The value of the car rises with lower mileage. As a result, some automobile owners could reduce the mileage before selling their vehicles. As per the federal code 49 U.S. Code 32703, it is unlawful. To modify the distance recorded by the odometer, one cannot “disconnect, reset, or manipulate an odometer of a motor vehicle.”

If someone is aware that the vehicle’s odometer is disconnected or not working, they are not allowed to drive on a street, road, or highway to deceive.

Odometer fraud is against the law. In addition to paying attorney’s costs, you would be required to pay a $1,500 fine or quadruple your losses if the law found that you had engaged in odometer fraud. It’s a rather significant infraction.

Reasons for Resetting the Odometer

Some Reasons for resetting the odometer include the following:

Making the vehicle seem newer

Making your car seem newer is the most frequent reason people change their odometers. Usually, this is done to commit fraud. Resetting the odometer increases the value and makes the automobile look newer if you want to sell it. It would help if you remembered that such fraudulent conduct is punishable by law.

For individual use

Although it is forbidden, reversing the miles on a car’s odometer is feasible. For instance, you have a vehicle in your carport that you never plan to sell or drive. You may use this to hone your mechanical abilities. Therefore, doing so won’t result in any legal repercussions.

To rectify a problem

You can reset the odometer if it becomes damaged due to a malfunction and displays erroneous mileage.

Though defective odometer problems are uncommon, vehicle owners sometimes wonder if they can also reset the mileage.

What to Look out for When Resetting the Odometer

Some things to look out for when resetting the odometer include the following:

Changing the instrument cluster 

Some automakers display the vehicle’s mileage on the instrument panel rather than the car computer. The mileage on the odometer will read zero after you replace the instrument cluster. If you choose to utilize a used instrument cluster from another automobile to replace yours, the used cluster will display the mileage of the original car.

Turning the handle

The easiest approach to reset the odometer is in this manner. On the instrument cluster, look for a knob. This knob performs some functions, including displaying the percentage of fuel left and temperature readings.

Surprisingly, this knob can reset the trip miles on a vehicle if you’re looking for a way. Press and hold down the lever briefly to reset the mileage. Your odometer will reset to zero whenever the fuel efficiency increases.

Put the odometer back together

Older vehicle odometer resets are simple and uncomplicated if you are knowledgeable about auto parts and processes. All you need to do is get some simple hand tools for mechanics, including pliers and a screwdriver. Disconnect the instrument cluster after that, manually reset the mile values, and then put it back together.

What if the vehicle does not have an odometer?

The odometer is a device that displays how far the associated automobile has gone. Drivers may have trouble determining the miles of an automobile if it lacks an odometer. The odometer is often found on the display meter panel, making it extremely convenient for drivers to check.

When purchasing a used automobile, it is crucial to check the odometer as a reference. An automobile with a high mileage will undoubtedly be in poorer shape than one with a lesser mileage.

My Opinion

An automobile’s odometer is crucial and should never be interfered with. According to both federal and state law, this is a severe felony. The U.S. federal authorities prohibit dismantling, resetting, or illegally manipulating the odometer to change the mileage displayed on a car’s dashboard.

If you lie to potential buyers to help your automobile seem better and resell it for more money, you run the danger of going to prison. The above tips will aid you greatly too.

Comments are closed.