How To Calibrate an Odometer

An odometer is a mechanical or electronic device that measures the distance in which a vehicle has traveled throughout its lifetime. This is a good way to gauge the performance of a vehicle, and to see how long it lasts, how efficient it is and how often it is used. It is also a way to monitor the distances you have actually traveled. The odometer, just like any measuring devices, should be checked for accuracy every so often. While there are shops that can accurately calibrate odometers at a certain fee, you can also calibrate it yourself, if you have the tools and know how. Here are some tips on how you can calibrate your car's odometer by yourself:

  • Check whether your odometer is still accurate. You can do this by driving on a straight, flat highway with mile markers. Stop at a mile marker and take note of the reading on your car's odometer and the number at the mile marker. Drive your car and stop at the next mile marker. Take note of the distance of the stretch that you drove on, and take note of the reading on your odometer. Check whether the difference between the odometer readings and the difference between the mile markers are the same, or close. If there is a significant difference of at least +/-3%, then you need to calibrate it already.
  • Locate your car's odometer. The odometer is also in the same gauge as the speedometer. If you are not familiar with cars, then it is best to ask for assistance from a mechanic.
  • Disassemble your car's odometer. Before doing this, disconnect the car's battery first. Then take the speedometer gauge from the dashboard carefully by using a flat screw driver. Make sure that none of the electrical wires get disconnected while pulling out the speedometer gauge. Take a good look at the connections and remember where each wire is attached, before disconnecting them to be able to open the gauge and take a look at the odometer. Carefully open the gauge and separate the odometer, taking care not to damage the speedometer needle. Work on a flat surface covered by a white cloth for convenience.
  • Do the necessary adjustments. Check the odometer gear, and if it is already worn out, you can replace it with a new one. Do not tamper with the odometer reading as it is an illegal act, and it may also damage the gauge. Put back the odometer to the gauge lid, and reconnect it at the dashboard. Place the connections to the battery back and start the car.
  • Check the odometer's accuracy again. Drive your car on a straight, flat road again and repeat the accuracy check using mile markers. If the reading from the odometer and the mile markers are almost accurate, then you have successfully repaired and adjusted your odometer. However, if there is no improvement, then it is time to bring your car to the repair shop to have an expert take care of it.

Always consult an expert mechanic if you yourself have no experience in car odometers.


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