It’s National Odometer Day! What Is It?

National Odometer day

It’s National Odometer Day! 

May is usually associated with its bank holiday, not to mention the force-sensitive celebration of a particularly well-known space opera. However, there’s another day (May the 12th) which you’ve perhaps overlooked, commemorating the invention of one of the most useful gadgets on a car’s dashboard – the odometer. The odometer of course, measures the distance traveled by a vehicle. Although it was invented by William Clayton in the mid 19th century, its origins can actually be traced back to ancient Rome. Regardless of its history, in terms of practicality, the odometer can prove rather helpful.  Here are few reasons why. 


All vehicles need an oil change on a regular basis. This is because oil gets contaminated with dirt and metal shavings which can wear down an engine’s internal parts. Oil also loses its viscosity over time and becomes too thin which can have a major impact on lubrication. Most, if not all vehicles have oil lights which become illuminated when it’s time for a change. But these aren’t always reliable so it’s worth having a backup plan. The simple act of writing down the date and odometer reading of your last oil change, as well as your vehicle’s last service, could save you a great deal of money. 

Fuel Efficiency

Have you ever wondered how fuel efficient your car is? Well, it’s pretty straightforward to calculate. Use the odometer to make a note of your mileage before filling up completely and then record how many gallons you put in the tank. Then drive your car until the tank is nearly empty. You can calculate MPG without running to empty, but you’ll get a far more accurate reading by doing it this way. Divide your mileage by fuel usage to come up with the miles driven per gallon of fuel. So, if you drove 300 miles before refueling and you filled your car with 12 gallons of fuel, the vehicle’s fuel consumption will be 25 miles per gallon.

Indicator of Value

When buying a car, the odometer is one of the first things to make a note of. The further a vehicle travels, the more wear and tear placed on its working parts. So it follows that its value will decline according to its mileage. Therefore, if you find a car that takes your fancy but the odometer indicates a number something akin to the Global national debt then it’s reasonable to assume that you’re going to have numerous mechanical problems with said vehicle.

Indicator of Fraud

In an effort to increase value, some people ‘roll back’ the mileage. Although this practice is nowhere near as common as it used to be, it still goes on. An estimated 1 in 10 cars have had their odometers tampered with at some point. Odometers that look crooked or jagged can be indicative of underhanded practices. And if it jiggles when striking the dashboard you may well have a problem. To protect yourself, check the vehicle’s maintenance records to see if the mileage tallies up properly.

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