I teleported to work today
June 7, 2005 2:19 PM   Subscribe

I own a 1994 850 Volvo Wagon with approximately 168,910 miles on it. Last night, I reset the odometer to show zero miles after filling the gas tank. This morning, on the way to work, I noticed that the odometer never budged. Still sitting at zero. So, the car is still showing 168,910 miles despite having gone an additional 20 miles or so. What do I check to get the count going again? Do I need to take my car to the shop? Is this something I can fix myself (read: have my handy-dandy husband fix for me)?
posted by onhazier to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
I don't have your answer, but the guys over at Brickboard certainly will.

Good luck!
posted by saladin at 2:26 PM on June 7, 2005

Sounds like the reset linkage is stuck. Are you sure the main odometer (not the one you reset) is not registering added miles? Try pushing and pulling the reset button. If that doesn't work, you may have to go to the dealer, if it's important to you.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:42 PM on June 7, 2005

Kirth: what kind of trip odometer has 168,910 miles on it? Get this taken care of as quickly as you can, because you don't want to be (wrongly!) accused of odometer fraud, which is a $2000 federal penalty, and maybe something from your state.
posted by boo_radley at 2:55 PM on June 7, 2005

My dad is a recently retired Volvo mechanic. He agreed with the reset linkage post above. This is apparently a common problem. He said it could also just need a new odometer.
posted by moosedogtoo at 3:05 PM on June 7, 2005

If your spedometer is still working this is likely just sticky. Smack it a few times. If it's not, you've got a broken spedo cable. I wouldn't fall all over myself to get it fixed but you don't want to wait too long.

The odds of you being charged with fraud is near 0, particularly if you don't wait over a year to fix it and even then the statute specifies "with intent to defraud." If you don't have safety inspections in your area you'd likely never have a problem if you didn't attempt to sell it.

My 86 Bronco has a sporadically sticky trip meter, repeatedly jabbing the reset button eventually clears it up. Thankfully, since the gas gauge is broke so it's the only way I know when to gas it up some more :)
posted by phearlez at 3:07 PM on June 7, 2005

Best answer: Usenet to the rescue!
a detailed account of how to repair it.
posted by Neiltupper at 3:13 PM on June 7, 2005

Boo Radley wrote:
what kind of trip odometer has 168,910 miles on it?

No kind. onhazier wrote: I reset the odometer to show zero miles . . . She was obviously talking about the trip odo.

I'd say the chances of her being accused of fraud are exactly zero, provided she tells any buyer that the odo is broken, and provides the date when it broke. (I have been there.) Fraud charges result from odos that have been somehow rewound to falsify mileage, not to broken ones.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:25 PM on June 7, 2005

You may want to drop the removed instrument cluster (removed per the usenet post) at a local speedometer shop (most major cities will have a few). It will probably cost you about $100.

Never, ever reset a mechanical odometer while the car is moving.
posted by Kwantsar at 6:50 PM on June 7, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice guys! I greatly appreciate it.

I don't reset the odometer when the car's in motion. I do it while I'm still sitting at the gas pump. Yes, I reset the trip odometer and yes, I'm sure the main odometer is not moving. I also noticed that there is no resistance when I push the button to do the reset now.

After reading the instructions you provided links to above, my husband went out and tried some of the simple steps. When he returned and started describing how he'd have to pull the dash apart, I stopped him there, deciding to have my mechanics fix it when I take it in for an oil change this month.

Thank you again. You directed us to some great infomation.
posted by onhazier at 7:55 AM on June 8, 2005

As soon as I read "Volvo" and "odometer," I thought of my mom's '87 240 DL, which was on its third odometer by 45,000 miles or so. I guess they still have problems.
posted by oaf at 9:34 AM on June 8, 2005

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