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Can You Reset The Mileage on Your Car if You Replace The Engine

As a car owner, the routine maintenance of your car is necessary for its upkeep and to increase its longevity. To keep your car in a healthy condition and avoid expensive repairs, you should ensure that you regularly check the engine oil, brakes, battery, tires, and fluids in the car. More so, it is also necessary to keep an eye out for any warning lights, particularly the engine light, as ignoring the problem could result in a much more serious issue to develop and may potentially cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars at the mechanic.

Sometimes, however, you may find yourself in a situation where you absolutely need to replace the entire engine of the car. This may be due to several reasons, such as engine failure, a higher cost of repairing the engine as opposed to replacing it, or even because you want to shift to a more fuel-efficient engine.

In this case, it is critical that you are aware of all the important considerations that are likely to impact your car. Usually, one of the most common questions that car owners tend to ask is whether replacing the engine and a car mileage reset are related and how it affects the performance of the car. If you have similar concerns, you are in the right place!

Read on to learn everything you need to know about whether you can or should reset the vehicle mileage as you replace the engine.

Does a New Engine Reset the Mileage?

Image by LoggaWiggler from Pixabay

If you find yourself asking, “does the odometer reset with a new engine”, it is useful to first understand a bit about the overall dynamics of a car mileage reset.

So what is a car’s mileage? It refers to the number of miles that a car has traveled and is commonly seen as an important indicator of the health and condition of a car. This is because the resale value of a car is dependent on the number of miles it has on it since it determines how much the car has been driven. Generally, the fewer the miles, the greater would be the expected price it can fetch on the market.

A car’s mileage is displayed on the odometer, which is a device in the dashboard of a car that shows the distance traveled by a vehicle. Nowadays, it is common to find digital odometers as opposed to mechanical odometers, and these can also provide information about a car’s fuel efficiency in addition to mileage readings.

Keep in mind that the mileage of a car is impacted by three important factors related to fuel economy and efficiency. These include:

  • The type of vehicle. Fuel-efficient cars tend to have better overall car mileage.

  • Terrain or landscape. Rough and uneven landscapes consume more fuel as opposed to paved roads or highways.

  • Driving habits. Aggressive driving such as speeding, rapid acceleration, and sudden brakes consumes more fuel.

Now, suppose you find yourself in a situation where you plan on swapping your old engine either by buying a used engine or a brand new one. So does the odometer reset with a new engine? The short answer is no, the car mileage reset does not take place in this instance. This is because the odometer is connected to the wheel hub of the car rather than the engine. As a result, the odometer is able to display the reading for when the wheel hub rotates during a car’s motion, and therefore, has no relation to the engine of the car.

A new engine, however, can affect the overall performance of your car. This includes, but is not limited to improving the fuel efficiency of the vehicle and reducing your carbon footprint, extending the lifespan of the motor vehicle, and increasing the capabilities and performance of the car such as power and acceleration.

Can You Reset Your Car's Mileage?

Since swapping the engine of a car doesn’t affect the car’s mileage, it is only natural to wonder “can you reset the mileage on a car yourself or can a mechanic do it for you?”. As a rule of thumb, you should know that resetting the car’s mileage is illegal and a federal offense that can result in hefty fines or in some cases, even imprisonment.

The reason it is illegal to rest your car’s mileage is because doing so means that you are not truthful regarding the true mileage of your car and are deceiving potential buyers. This can become a serious problem if you were ever to sell your car since the buyer will not have the complete picture of the actual mileage of the car or the mileage history and all the legal documents pertaining to the car will have an incorrect car mileage figure. Such falsification can result in legal charges against the offender.

For further information, you can check the U.S. Code Title 49, Subtitle VI, Part C, Chapter 327, clauses 32703 and 32704, which clearly state that a car mileage reset or alteration is illegal. Remember that odometer fraud is a legal offense under both state and federal laws.

However, the answer to can you reset car mileage is not an unequivocal no. You may be able to tinker around with the car mileage if you want the odometer readings to display the original miles or current mileage differently. For example, this may involve converting the units in which the distance traveled by car is shown on the odometer display, such as from miles to kilometers or vice versa. Since this doesn’t affect the car mileage figure, it is legal and permissible.

When Is It Necessary To Reset The Odometer?

While it is important to know the legal implications of a car mileage reset, there are situations where it might be necessary to reset the odometer of your car. One obvious situation is if your odometer is malfunctioning or stops functioning altogether. In this case, the answer to can you reset the mileage on a car would be a resounding yes, provided that you reset the odometer in a manner to reflect accurate information. This means that you repair or replace the odometer and ensure that it reflects the same mileage prior to its repair or replacement. While this can be done yourself, it is always best to seek help from a professional and trusted mechanic.

There might be some situations where the odometer cannot be fixed at all. This requires a complete reset, which means that the odometer reflects zero mileage. However, remember that in this case, you need to not only disclose this information if and when you plan to sell the car but also put up a sticker on the left car door indicating that the car mileage has been reset.

When Should You Replace the Engine of Your Car

So what are some situations that would require you to replace your car engine? While a trusted car mechanic is in the best position to give you advice on this matter, the following are some cases where you might seriously want to consider replacing your engine.

Unusual noises

If your car is making strange noises, such as ticking or clicking, knocking, or squealing noises, you should be alerted to check your engine by taking it to your local repair shop. These noises can occur due to any number of reasons, such as below minimum oil level, low oil pressure, incorrect fuel, faulty sensors, or lack of regular maintenance. Whatever the case, getting a proper diagnosis from the mechanic is crucial before you decide to change your engine.

Lack of fuel efficiency

If you find yourself consuming way more fuel than normal, you may want to inspect whether your car is fuel efficient or not. Generally, engines have a lifetime of 10-12 years, after which they tend to require more fuel to perform. While regular tuning and car maintenance can certainly help, it is only natural that the fuel economy of the car will decrease with time. In this case, calculating how many miles your car can travel per gallon of fuel will be an important estimate to determine whether you want to swap your engine.

Stalling engine

If you find that your engine is stuttering and stalling, or smoke is coming out of your engine, there is a high chance that you will need to replace your engine. It is better to look into the matter sooner rather than later since there is a high risk of your car completely stopping on busy roads or highways.

Additionally, another situation where you may need to definitely replace your engine is if you have been in an accident and the total cost of repairing the engine is similar to or higher than replacing it.

Generally, the cost of engine repairs depends on the make and model of the car, and whether you want a brand-new engine from your car’s official retailer or are looking for used auto parts from trusted sellers. Buying used parts can not only be cost-effective but also environmentally friendly as they reduce the risk of car parts being dumped in landfills.

If you decide to buy a used engine, make sure you do your due diligence. This includes knowing the service history of the vehicle and obtaining a verified vehicle history report, testing the oil quality of the engine, and checking the compression of the engine by conducting a compression test.

The Bottom Line

Engine replacement is a fairly common practice among car owners who want to avoid the exorbitant cost of buying a brand-new car or want to extend the life of their current car. Replacing the engine can also be necessary in case it ends up making strange or unusual noises or fails to perform at an optimal level.

When it comes to the question of can you reset car mileage with an engine swap, the simple answer is no, you cannot. More so, remember the legal ramifications of odometer mileage rests until and unless it is absolutely necessary.


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