How do I read a Passat odometer?
November 29, 2008 11:51 AM   Subscribe

How do I read a 2002 VW Passat odometer?

It currently reads 124776. The owner claims it has only 12,477 miles on it and that the 6 is tenths of a mile. Is this correct?

posted by KevinSkomsvold to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total)
Can you drive it for a 10th of a mile?
posted by troy at 11:58 AM on November 29, 2008

No, it's not correct. The owner is lying or misinformed.
posted by jon1270 at 11:59 AM on November 29, 2008

Best answer: The 2002 Passat has a digital odomotor like a photo in the ad seen here. There would be a decimal point to indicate if tenths of a mile were measured, and the format of the Passat does not do so. So yes, lying or misinformed. (If they are claiming to the original owner, then I'd put my money on lying.)
posted by Asherah at 12:02 PM on November 29, 2008

Response by poster: troy: "Can you drive it for a 10th of a mile?"

We will be later today. My wife just took a quick look at it while at the gym. The guy wants $4000 for it so we'll see.

Thanks for the pic. Thats what it looks like and yes, I was slightly suspicious but never having seen a Passat, I don't know.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:09 PM on November 29, 2008

I've only seen 1/10's of a mile on digital trip meters, not odometers - as shown in the lower portion of the picture that Asherah shows.

He's lying or stupid. Not misinformed - how can you not notice you are doing a tenth of the miles you thought you were while you owned the car?
posted by Brockles at 12:11 PM on November 29, 2008

Best answer: I own a 2002 Passat. There is no implied decimal point in the main odometer (the little trip meter does have a clearly present decimal). I'd say that car has 124,776 miles on it.

If it were me, I'd walk away from the deal. My Passat has required tons of work, and if the seller is willing to lie blatantly about the mileage, who knows what else he might be concealing from you?
posted by baltimoretim at 12:21 PM on November 29, 2008

My 2001 Passat odometer looks like the picture that Asherah pointed to, so I say high(er) mileage.

Assuming that the 2002 Passat is prey to the same issues that plague some 2001 Passats, I'd have a competent garage check the car out. In particular, check the motor mounts (which can be expensive to replace), and determine when the timing belt needs changing (If it's on the original, you're on a very short fuse to find yourself dead in traffic.)

I've been pretty happy with mine, but upkeep gets expensive the older they get. Fortunately, there are decent after-market parts (e.g., passenger cabin HEPA filters, which you can find on-line at various places).
posted by dws at 12:22 PM on November 29, 2008

He probably has to certify the number of miles when he signs over the title, under penalty of perjury. Invite the law to witness the ceremony.
posted by Wet Spot at 12:57 PM on November 29, 2008

I was going to answer saying that they are lying or misinformed, but it looks like that's been done to effect. I just can't believe someone would try to just outright lie like that. They have to be lying if they are the owner. Most people drive around 12k miles in one year. There is a huge difference between 12k+ and 124k+, obviously.

A 2002 Passat with only 12,000ish miles would go for WAY more than $4000. More like $12,000, depending on the trim level. $4000 even sounds low for a car with that mileage, although not that far off, since most 2002 Passats for sale seem to have less than 100k miles. However, I'd bet even with high mileage, it would be worth at least $2000 in salvage alone.
posted by fructose at 1:01 PM on November 29, 2008

I have an 02 Jetta, and there's no decimal point there either. He's misinformed.
posted by luriete at 1:29 PM on November 29, 2008

BEWARE. If he is lying, there may be other things that he hasn't told you.
posted by nel at 1:38 PM on November 29, 2008

Walk away. He's sees you as one of those people born every minute.
posted by Neiltupper at 3:02 PM on November 29, 2008

12,000 miles in 6 years of ownership?

That is 2,000 miles a year. Or 166 miles a month, or around 5 miles a day.

The only car I can think of that would have comparable mileage is my Aunt's first run BMW mini, which has something like 26,000 miles on it, is her second car, and used primarily for any driving in to downtown seattle. Unless the owner is a little old lady who drives it on sunday, he was lied to by the original owner, or he is lying to you.

And the odometer is actually reading 124,776 miles because that is how they display (no decimal points on the odometer, my 06 jetta is the same, but just in red led), so if the guy truly believed that his car only has 12k miles on it, he has missed around around 20+ service checks to get the oil changed, etc. I'd stay far away from that vehicle and the guy trying to sell it.

Even if he bought it used and thinks the odometer/10 is correct, he is extremely stupid, has missed some critical maintenance for the vehicle, and you don't know what other problems might exist from neglect on his 'low mileage' car.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:15 PM on November 29, 2008

That is absolutely not correct. The trip odometer does it in tenths but not the regular odometer. Do a Carfax or Autocheck on the car. $4000 for a car with those miles?! The ones on eBay with twice the mileage are going for twice the price. Careful now.
posted by luckypozzo at 6:12 PM on November 29, 2008

My 2003 Golf has about 97,000 miles on it. The odometer says 97000. It doesn't seem possible that someone could be that clueless about their own car, as there is a trip odometer right below the total odometer that ticks off tenths of a mile. Perhaps he thinks it measures in hundredths of a mile. Hopefully, he changed his oil every 300 miles.

I would be wary of buying a used car that the owner misrepresented the mileage by 5000 miles, 110,000 miles is completely ridiculous.
posted by knowles at 6:46 PM on November 29, 2008

Odometers that only give you five figures worth of total mileage (so that they wrap around every 100,000 miles instead of every million) are very, very rare. I had such a thing in an '81 Mazda diesel ute, but it only showed five figures total - there was no 0.1km figure.

The odo is supposed to show you how far the car has travelled in total, and obviously a 5 figure odo can't do that for a car with a design life of over 100,000 miles, which in this day and age is all of them.
posted by flabdablet at 6:50 PM on November 29, 2008

I know this has been said a million times, but I have a 2001 Jetta and there is no way that the odometer counts in tenths of a mile.

Either this guy is trying to pull a fast one on you or he's really dumb.
posted by Third at 10:52 PM on November 29, 2008

Response by poster: CarFax confirms the higher mileage. Thanks for all of your great feedback and insight.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:08 AM on November 30, 2008

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