how can a 10 year old car have 0 miles on it?

Asked by Mar 10, 2015 at 10:40 PM

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

how can a 10 year old car have 0 miles on it? Does that mean the engine is new? I don't understand the very low mileage on some on the old cars I'm looking at.

17 Answers


Well, if it had been in a "museum", maybe it's possible, but, it would still have a few miles on it. You don't think someone rolled the odometer back, but, why would they choose zero? It's just too obvious. Where did you find this car?


Even if the engine were "new", they still can't label this as zero miles. There's a lot of other systems on the car.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Basically it can't.


the mileage is probably high and they are waiting for your interest or phone call to give you the details.


In my software and systems (I'm a used-car manager at a Chevy dealership), we have to enter "0" if the vehicle is TMU (True Mileage Unknown). I'm thinking that's the most likely explanation of why you're seeing this.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

J CLARK, that's interesting. I've never heard that, but, do know that if you sell a car and don't know the exact mileage due to a malfunctioning speedometer, then you have to declared that when you sell the car.


I'm just talking about the way we have to enter mileage into our systems: they all require a numeric entry; "TMU" or "N/A" simply won't work. Of course, any odometer discrepancy is disclosed at our wholesale auction (I can't imagine a scenario in which we would retail a vehicle with an odometer discrepancy).


J CLARKE, I understand. In private sales of used cars, you have to put the mileage down of the current odometer and state whether this is the true mileage, of course you cannot put zero. All I can say about the initial posting is that it's a clever way to get people interested in inquiries for this car.

Possible that you have a corrupt EEPROM chip in the cluster. Some Cadillac vehicles in particular will show "0" in the odometer with loss of driver information when the EEPROM becomes corrupt.


Gavin, are you suggesting that a technology problem reset the mileage to zero? In any case,. NO, I would not believe nor do I think anyone else would believe that a "ten years old car" would have zero miles. It's not reasonable.

I rebuild instrument clusters and had two Cadillac clusters, both of which had reset themselves to 0 miles on the odometer. The EEPROM data (stores mileage, VIN and configuration info) was corrupt. Most clusters would show "error" or all 9's. However, the Cadillac model and year I had displayed a zero. So that is my two cents on what could cause a cluster to read zero. Chances are it will stay at zero too. Many clusters, zero miles is stored as hexidecimal array of "FF" and counts down in reverse as miles add up. A damaged EEPROM will often output all FF. So primitive odometer software (older cars) sees all FF and as a result shows "0". But because the software cannot write to the damaged EEPROM, it can never add miles. Always stays at zero.


Gavin, OK, I see, but, would you buy a 10 year old car without any validated mileage?

The car auction is selling several cars that's reading 0 miles on them. The year is averaging between 2003-2006


This is VERY MISLEADING.... I wouldn't purchase a car that is 10 years old with invalidated mileage and zero is the most egregious example of this.


Sorry, meant " UNVALIDATED". Ugh, spell check.


As it is an auction it is buyer beware, they don't have to validate mileage, the condition, or even if it runs or not. It's up to you to look over the units there before the auction and make your decisions or go home if your not willing to take the risk.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Buying a car at an auction is "risky business". My advice is UNLESS you know exactly what you are doing, avoid it.

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