Gunners Garage

Low mileage?

I recently ran across a discussion of whether it is proper to roll the odometer on a car back after restoring the vehicle.  A lot of restorers do this. Some people even do it if they do a partial restoration or an engine rebuild.  There are several things to think about in regards to this practice.  First and foremost, it might be illegal.  Some states have strict laws governing any change in odometer readings.  But even if the laws permit a rollback on a restored vehicle, is it really the proper thing to do? Personally, I don’t think so.  The engine, drivetrain and suspension may all be rebuilt and the interior and other soft trim may be redone, but the car still isn’t “new.”  The frame rails haven’t changed, the sheet metal is all or mostly original, most or all of the glass is orignal. In short, it’s a restored car, but not a new car.  To represent it as having zero miles just doesn’t seem like the honest picture. But that’s only my opinion. What do you think?

4 thoughts on “Low mileage?

  1. Dave Hanson

    The rebuilder of the odometer on my last restoration rolled back the reading to zero automatically. Because the car was purchased as a basket case we were not sure if the milage shown was correct or not. On the restoration I’m working on now I am requesting the odometer be set at the same milage when the unit is checked and rebuilt. The car is low milage for its age and I want to show its total miles to date even though it has not moved under its own power for 33 years now.

  2. Dave Hanson

    The rebuilder of the odometer on my last restoration rolled back the reading to zero automatically. Because the car was purchased as a basket case we were not sure if the milage shown was correct or not. On the restoration I’m working on now I am requesting the odometer be set at the same milage when the unit is checked and rebuilt. The car is low milage for its age and I want to show its total miles to date even though it has not moved under its own power for 33 years now.

  3. John Gunnell

    I think you did the right thing requesting that the odometer be set at the same mileage. The MG TD I’m driving in the column header is just an old car, but it does have a low odometer reading. If I knew it was the "real" reading since the car was new, it would make an unimpressive little car a bit more impressive as a collectible (value doesn’t mater to me). — John Gunnell

  4. John Gunnell

    I think you did the right thing requesting that the odometer be set at the same mileage. The MG TD I’m driving in the column header is just an old car, but it does have a low odometer reading. If I knew it was the "real" reading since the car was new, it would make an unimpressive little car a bit more impressive as a collectible (value doesn’t mater to me). — John Gunnell

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