Love that new engine smell, purrrr. No more tow trucks, no more calls to work – I’m running late, no more borrowed cars… it’s all giggles now. But it does make you question if the mileage readout should reflect that new engine.
A car’s odometer does not reset with a new engine. The odometer is a record of all the components of a car, not just the engine.
In this post, you’ll learn why resetting an odometer with a replacement engine is an inaccurate and misleading reflection of the car’s history.
Odometer For All Components
It’s understandable to want to reset the odometer with a new engine. The growling is gone, been replaced with a sweet-sounding purr.
Changing the mileage readout, however, wouldn’t reflect the true story. Your car is made up of hundreds of components, and the mileage record is a record of their life too.
Sure, you could argue that the engine is the main and most expensive component. But there are only so many miles in any component, and as a purchaser, wouldn’t you want to know the true mileage on other expensive parts of a car?
Many components are mechanical with electronic assistance requiring routine maintenance at set intervals. Inaccurate mileage reading could cause these components to miss out on some critical mileage-sensitive repairs.
Component damage or failure is a real risk. Maintenance such as transmission oil & filter change, Brake fluid change and flush, differential oil change, power steering fluid change.
Illegal To Wind Clock Back
Besides, it has been plain wrong. It’s illegal to tamper with the mileage reading of a motor car. Doing so with the intention to deceive a buyer could land you in trouble with the police.
Modern car dash clocks are digital, and that makes them easy to manipulate. You won’t need to look too far in the classifieds to find a vendor offering “Mileage correction services.”
It is, of course, dishonest and not at all cool. What most of these guys don’t know is that their deception can be traced. Many cars keep more than one record of miles traveled. Although the dash clock may have been manipulated, the PCM and TCM may also have a record and their records aren’t as easily manipulated.
In addition, a full record of a car, including its mileage, is stored at main dealers. Whenever they are brought in for service, recalls, or repairs, the mileage is recorded and entered into a database. This type of info is pretty easy to check. Cloud computing has made all this info available to all network dealers.
The service history of a car is important, it affects the value big-time, no service history, and most buyers will assume the worst.
Turning the mileage back will be at odds with the service records of the car and so will cause either suspicion or confusion. Neither is good.
I’ve bought a ton of cars over the years, and assuming a seller was straight with me and told me the clock was turned back…. I wouldn’t buy the car. It’s unusual activity and creates a cloud of doubt. It will negatively affect the resale price.
Do dealerships do engine swaps? Most dealerships will do an engine swap so long as the replacement engine is identical to the old unit. Fabricating brackets, modifying firewalls, manufacturing bespoke components like exhaust systems, etc., are not dealerships workshops’ strengths, and it’s not likely they’d undertake such work.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.