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How Does The Odometer Work? – A Complete Guide

January 23, 2023

The system counts all wheel rotations and then multiplies the digits by tire circumference. The final number is the total covered distance. How does the odometer work? Using this method, it is easy to measure the miles that a vehicle has covered. The device can be mechanical (mostly in the past), electronic, or combined.

Although it may seem that you need an advanced device to do the same calculations, it started in the 1600s. More precisely, in 1645, Blaise Pascal created the Pascaline. It was the predecessor tool of what we use nowadays. So, how do odometers work, according to Pascal? Those old calculators used mechanical gear wheels instead of modern digital technologies to do quick arithmetical calculations. The gears were a chain of 10-toothed wheels. The rotation of the first gear automatically pushes the next one to start moving as well, and the process continues repeatedly.

After France, a similar development took place in the United States. The first real signs of an odometer can be found in the 1770s. How does an odometer work from this point on, and what was its major function? In the US, they used a small device inside a postal carriage. It was helpful to measure the distance of any postal route, and it was the main purpose. In the 1840s, Clayton and Pratt finished working on their previous mockups and advanced their work. Later, it was used in wagons to measure the distance traveled during a journey. Due to its effectiveness, it gradually became a more common practice all over the country.

How does the odometer work? Cars use computer sensors and the modern gearbox to track and precisely measure mileage. Thanks to new technologies, the system calculates everything instantly and displays the appropriate numbers on your dashboard.

How does the odometer work? – The importance of an Odometer

The digital odometer uses sensors and chips to measure the mileage. The mileage calculation formula is the following: Mileage = Tire Size x Wheel Rotation. Using electronic sensors, it counts the traveled distance (miles or km) by an automobile. The odometer uses the tire size times wheel rotation. The final result shows the total mileage.

Everyone knows what a speedometer is, and they can answer without a second hesitation. However, many still don’t know how odometers work and how important they are. That is why you need to answer the question: How do odometers work? Hence, an odometer is the one that is responsible for correctly measuring the distance by multiplying tire size and number of wheel rotations. Odometers are extremely important because if a car does not have a proper odometer, you will not be able to detect the mileage.

To make sure that everything works flawlessly, odometers work closely with the speedometers and the tachometers. Both of them have crucial roles as tachometers count the rotations and speedometers measure the speed. Gathering all the information makes it possible to calculate the distance. Since you already have an answer to the question of how does an odometer work, you may think that there cannot be an issue at all. On the contrary, there are several factors that can affect the correct mileage.

At first, brand-new vehicles have new tires. However, after a certain period, it gets worn out. It is important since the worn-out tires have less circumference, and the system will calculate the incorrect data. Moreover, people nowadays ask: how does the odometer work? The odometer uses a smart chip to monitor and record mileage information. But it’s more important to find out what happens to a vehicle if the odometer does not work properly. Mileage reading is useful in many things, one of which is the oil change. After covering a certain amount of mileage, you need to change the oil. It’s essential for the maintenance of any auto. So, if you don’t know exactly how much you have covered, you cannot say whether you need an oil change or not. Therefore, you have to always check the overall wear and tear to make sure that the odometer works flawlessly and avoid any misunderstanding or false information about the mileage.

What is an odometer Fraud?Everything about the odometer fraud

Odometer fraud is actions that cause odometer malfunction and make the system show incorrect mileage. You know how do odometers work and understand their importance. However, some decided to interfere with their normal functioning and force an automobile to display misleading mileage. This is becoming common day by day and has already become one of the most important challenges in the 21st century.

We pay too much attention to the mileage, and it influences our lives. Whenever you decide to buy a new auto the distance is one of the first things you will check. There is no doubt that it is important, but remember that odometers do not always show the correct data and people usually manipulate them to increase the resale price.

Odometer fraud, also known as “clocking”, is well-researched but still unsolved. Individuals roll back, freeze, reset, or remove mileage from the dashboards. They use various tools to achieve their goals, and all of them are illegal. That is why the German team of SKF has researched a common challenge of how does an odometer work and created an advanced product – Mileage Blocker. It simply stops counting up miles and does not change any system function or delete previously recorded data. This is why car manufacturers use them. But remember that it is only for testing or tuning purposes, and using it on freeways is illegal and unethical.

Other gadgets remove or roll back the digits from the dashboard. Hence, you will see the lower distance on the instrument cluster and may believe that the car is new. In fact, you will be yet another “victim” of a scam. 

How does the odometer work? Can I check if someone altered an odometer? These are the questions that a lot of auto owners ask.

What makes people reset an odometer?

We all know that mileage is important when we speak about automobiles. Its huge importance is exactly what pushes people to manipulate odometers. We have to discuss the main reasons behind the common fraud. Meanwhile, if you are wondering how do odometers work, we have an answer for you. It detects the rotation of the wheel and determines the exact distance that this vehicle has covered in miles. Knowing the exact mileage is essential, and it helps you keep your car in good condition. However, some still try to artificially adjust the original digits, and they have several reasons for this:

One of the most significant reasons is the price difference. Autos with less mileage have higher resale prices compared to the ones with higher kilometers. Hence, if the owner considers selling his or her vehicle soon, changing the numbers and making a better profit may be tempting.

Secondly, insurance companies charge people according to distance. The higher your mileage, the more you have to pay. To avoid high paychecks, people roll back odometers. Tampering odometers is illegal, but still, it is a common solution against high taxes.

Do car manufacturers and dealers know how does an odometer work? Yes, they know exactly how it works, and they usually halt an odometer reading during testing. It avoids extra miles and guarantees that everything goes smoothly at the same time. Plus, it would be very frustrating if you buy a brand-new vehicle and you find out that it has already covered some distance.

To sum up, there are three major reasons behind odometer fraud: 1. increasing resale price; 2. avoiding extra payments to insurance companies; 3. testing and tuning. 

Legal aspectsLegal aspects of the odometer

A lot of people reset odometers. But do local authorities know everything about this? How does the odometer work, and is it against the law? They should focus on these questions. An odometer always shows accurate information unless it is broken or someone manipulates its reading. If this happens, it’s a fraud, and the person responsible may face criminal charges.

In the United States, it is a federal crime, and depending on the state, anyone will face fines or jail time. It is illegal in most European countries as well. Everyone should avoid the following:

  • Altering mileage – disconnecting an odometer;
  • Using a car that has incorrect mileage;
  • Selling a vehicle with a misleading odometer;
  • Forging official documents, such as odometer disclosure;
  • Conspiracies about “clocking”.

To avoid legal disputes and prevent fraud, you should always follow recommendations from local authorities. It will also be beneficial to research more about legal aspects. Since you already know how do odometers work, it will be easier for you to detect fraud and cars with misleading speedometers

Mileage blocker

A lot of companies on the market tried to create a device that would change the mileage without a system malfunction. Despite numerous attempts, all of the existing methods use the same approach: rolling back, speedometer calibration, removing, deleting, or resetting the mileage. That is why a team of professionals from Germany have developed the Mileage Blocker. This advanced tool from the official Superkilometerfilter stops counting up new miles while a car is in motion. More importantly, it does not delete or roll back existing data (which is illegal). It has some additional unique characteristics:

  • Mileage blocker does not store information about the distance in ECUs. Hence, the real data is untraceable;
  • It consists of premium-quality, heat-resistant cables that guarantee a flawless driving experience in any weather condition;
  • DIY installation – this enables you to set up the device on your own. Hence, you no longer need to go to the professional for installation;
  • The device offers several modes you can choose from. Plus, you will be able to change the percentage while driving as well;
  • Mileage blockers only from the official SKF website have their mobile application, and you can control everything from your mobile phone.

You know that many people wonder how does an odometer work, and more individuals want to know how to avoid additional miles on a car while driving. However, always keep in mind that the mileage blocker is only for auto testing and tuning, and using it on free highways is unethical and illegal. If you have any questions, you can contact us through the official website.


How does the odometer work? It uses tire circumference and wheel rotations. Then, the odometer multiplies them and measures the mileage. This is the fastest way to measure distance, and all vehicles use it. However, people with fraudulent purposes use devices to manipulate odometers and display wrong numbers.

Fortunately, there is a tool called Mileage Blocker that does not remove or delete existing data. It simply halts the mileage recording process while a car is in motion. The Mileage Blocker is available online, and you can purchase it anytime. Its unique features make it prominent from other devices on the market. Remember that SKF created it for testing and tuning under a controlled environment, and you shouldn’t use it on free roads. If you need any additional information, please contact the support team.

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