Does the Odometer Have to Work?

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man


Bob,
I have a 1994 Saturn SL1 that I purchased new in May 1994. It has 237,000 miles on it. The odometer has been sticking. It works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't. Right now, it is not working, but it will start up again, go a few miles and quit.

I took it to the local Saturn dealer and they want $518 to fix it. Is it okay not to fix it? Am I violating a state law that a car has to have actual miles on it? I am afraid that if I spend $518 to fix it and then something serious comes along, I will not have the money to correct the serious problem. What do you recommend?
Susan in White Stone, Virginia

Susan,
Well, you are right and wrong. Well, right and wrong are not the correct terms to apply here. You should keep your odometer working for true vehicle mileage to report when you sell the car. However, at 230,000 miles, most DVMs will simply report "Beyond Design Limits" or "True Mileage Unknown" if you do decide to sell the car.

However, I would ensure that your speedometer is working. You don't want to get a ticket. In the long run, a speeding ticket could cost you a lot more than $518. You may want to shop that price around a bit. Maybe you can find a local shop to do it cheaper.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man


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