My speedometer is out of whack and it's racking the miles up on my odometer.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

I own a 1985 308 GTSI Ferrari. The speedometer needle is on 10 mph when the car is standing still. I've checked out the mileage on the interstate mile markers, and it's exactly ten percent over. The mileage shows 18,300 on the odometer, but it's actually 16,470 after deducting the ten percent. I've been told electronic speedometers aren't accurate and are hard to calibrate. After confirming it is not correct, is it against the law to reset the mileage back to what it actually is. It's also very frustrating to think you're doing 140 miles and hour when you're really doing only 126.

RAY: Just tell me one thing, Bob. When you deducted the excess mileage, did you take the standard deduction, or did you itemize?

TOM: Actually, Bob, under no circumstances are you allowed to turn back an odometer, even if you HAVE a used car dealer's license. I mean, how do you know the odometer has been inaccurate since day one? Maybe it's just been off for a couple of months? There's no way to tell.

RAY: That's why federal law prohibits you from changing the odometer, and requires you to reveal to a buyer that the odometer is inaccurate when you sell the car.

TOM: Since your concern is resale value, I'd get the speedometer recalibrated so it's accurate from here on in, and get some detailed documentation along with it. That way, you'll be able to prove the mileage on the odometer is higher than actual mileage when you sell the car. You won't be able prove how much higher, but if you do a good song and dance, and don't talk about going 126, you ought to be able to unload this thing without too much trouble.

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