Maintenance Tips, Tricks And Hacks For Your Vehicle

Mileage Not Showing On Dashboard – Signs, Causes, and Fixes




Mileage not showing on the dashboard is a common problem experienced by car owners.

It can range from inconvenient to dangerous, as it can lead to inaccurate readings for important functions such as fuel consumption and oil changes.

Fortunately, there are some signs, causes, and fixes that you can use to diagnose and address this issue.

In this article, we’ll look at the common causes of mileage not showing on the dashboard, as well as tips to help you get your car back up and running.

Key Takeaway

  • An odometer works by counting the revolutions of the vehicle’s drive train, which are then translated into distance traveled using the known circumference of the wheel and tire combination.
  • Mileage may not show on the dashboard due to a variety of issues including a defective odometer, cracked solder joints, faulty dashboard lights, a dirty cluster, a dead digital display, or a defective car speed sensor.

How Does The Odometer Work?

An odometer primarily works by counting the rotations of the vehicle’s wheels and then multiplying it by the circumference of the tire to calculate the distance traveled.

In mechanical odometers, this is done through a flexible cable made from a tightly wound spring that turns the odometer.

In digital odometers, electronic signals are used to record wheel rotations and display the distance on the instrument cluster or dashboard.

The information is presented to the driver in terms of kilometers or miles.

What Causes Mileage Not To Show On The Dashboard

Mileage Not Showing On Dashboard - Signs, Causes, and Fixes

Here is what causes mileage not to show on the dashboard:

Faulty Odometer

A faulty or defective odometer is a common reason why mileage may not display on the dashboard. If the odometer malfunctions, it may fail to record and display the vehicle’s mileage accurately.

Cracked Solder Joints

Cracked solder joints can also cause mileage not to show on the dashboard. These joints are responsible for transmitting electrical signals; if they crack, the signals may get disrupted, leading to the dashboard not displaying mileage.

Dirty Cluster

The cluster, which houses the speedometer, tachometer, and odometer, may get dirty over time. This dirt can obstruct the visibility of the odometer reading or even interfere with its functioning, causing mileage not to show.

Faulty Dashboard Lights

Dashboard lights illuminate the instrument panel, including the odometer. If these lights are faulty, it may become difficult or impossible to see the odometer reading, especially in low-light conditions.

Dead Digital Display

In some modern vehicles equipped with digital odometers, a dead digital display could cause mileage not to show. This means the screen that displays the mileage has stopped working, perhaps due to a blown fuse or other electrical issue.

Faulty Car Speed Sensor

The car speed sensor plays a vital role in feeding speed data to the odometer. If this sensor is faulty, it may lead to incorrect or no readings being displayed on the odometer.

Faulty Wiring or Cables

Faulty wiring or cables can disrupt the transmission of signals from the car’s moving parts to the odometer, causing the mileage not to show on the dashboard.

Cruise Control Enabled

In some vehicles, when cruise control is enabled, the odometer reading might be hidden to show the target speed of cruise control. If cruise control is enabled but not set, this might result in a blank space where the odometer reading usually appears.

Signs That Your Odometer Is Not Working

  • The odometer display is blank or illegible.
  • The odometer reading doesn’t change even after you’ve driven a significant distance.
  • There are discrepancies between the mileage recorded on service records and the reading on the odometer.
  • The trip meter (which records the distance traveled in a single trip) doesn’t reset or change.
  • There are signs of tampering, such as loose screws or misaligned numbers.
  • The check engine light or other warning lights related to the vehicle’s electronics system are on.
  • The speedometer is not working correctly, as it often shares a connection with the odometer.
  • You notice erratic behavior of other gauges on the dashboard, which could indicate an underlying electrical issue affecting the odometer.

How To Get The Mileage Back On The Digital Odometer

When the mileage isn’t showing on your digital odometer, it can be a cause for concern. This could be due to a variety of issues, ranging from a simple glitch to more complex electrical problems.

However, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to attempt to restore the mileage display on your digital odometer.

Check the Dashboard Lights

Ensure that your dashboard lights are functioning correctly. If they’re not, it might be why you can’t see the mileage. Replace any faulty bulbs and check if the mileage display returns.

Reset the On-board Computer

Sometimes, a simple reset of the car’s on-board computer can solve the issue. This can be done by disconnecting the vehicle’s battery for a few minutes and then reconnecting it. The computer controls all the electronic systems in your car, including the digital odometer.

Inspect the Fuses

A blown fuse could be responsible for your digital odometer not working. Locate the fuse box (usually under the dashboard or in the engine compartment) and check the relevant fuses. Replace any blown fuses and see if the issue is resolved.

Check the Wiring

Faulty wiring can cause the digital odometer to malfunction. Inspect the wiring for any signs of damage or wear and tear. If you find any issues, you may need to have the wiring repaired or replaced.

Consult a Professional

If you’ve tried the above steps and the mileage still isn’t displaying on the digital odometer, it might be time to consult a professional. A qualified mechanic or auto electrician should be able to diagnose and fix the problem.

Remember, tampering with the odometer is illegal in many places, so always ensure any work done is legal and ethical.

How To Check a Mileage If It’s Not Showing On The Odometer?

  1. Use a Mileage Tracker App: There are numerous apps available that can track your car’s mileage using GPS. After downloading and installing the app, you can use it to track the distance you’ve traveled.
  2. Travel a Known Distance: If you know the distance between two points (like two cities), you can drive that route and record the distance as your traveled mileage.
  3. Check the Vehicle’s Maintenance Records: Regular maintenance records often include the mileage at the time of service. By looking through these records, you could get an idea of the vehicle’s mileage.
  4. Look Up the Vehicle’s History Report: By entering the vehicle’s VIN number on certain websites, you could potentially access a full mileage history report which may indicate whether the odometer has been tampered with.
  5. Check the Trip Odometer: If the main odometer isn’t working but the trip odometer is, you could use the trip odometer to keep track of mileage. Remember to regularly record the trip mileage before resetting it.
  6. Consult a Professional: In some cases, a professional might be able to retrieve the mileage from the vehicle’s memory by accessing the Onboard Diagnostics.

Where Is The Mileage Located In a Car?

The mileage of a car is typically displayed on the odometer, which is located within the vehicle’s dashboard.

The dashboard is the control panel located directly ahead of a vehicle’s driver, displaying instrumentation and controls for the vehicle’s operation.

In modern cars, the odometer is usually part of a digital or analog display that also includes the speedometer (showing the current speed of the vehicle), and other important vehicle status indicators.

The exact location can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle, but it is generally centrally located where the driver can easily see it.

Is There a Fuse For The Odometer?

Yes, there is typically a fuse for the odometer in most vehicles. The odometer is an electronic component and it, along with other parts of the dashboard, is often protected by a fuse.

This fuse is usually located in the fuse box, which can be found either under the dashboard or in the engine compartment, depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

If the odometer stops functioning, one of the first troubleshooting steps is to check this fuse and replace it if necessary.

However, the exact location and specification of the fuse can vary greatly from one vehicle to another, so it’s best to consult the vehicle’s manual or a professional mechanic for specifics.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace an Odometer?

For mechanical odometers, the repair might involve replacing gears, which could cost around $100 to $200 in parts and labor.

If you have a digital odometer, the cost could be significantly higher, as it may require replacing the entire instrument cluster.

This could potentially cost several hundred dollars, with some estimates ranging from $200 to $600, or even more for high-end vehicles.

It’s always best to get a quote from a trusted mechanic or dealership to understand the exact cost of your specific vehicle.

Can OBD2 Read The Odometer?

While it is primarily used to identify issues with the engine, emissions, and other systems, some advanced OBD2 scanners can indeed read the odometer reading.

However, this capability is not standard across all OBD2 devices and may also depend on the specific make and model of the vehicle.

It’s important to note that the primary function of OBD2 is to monitor and report on vehicle diagnostics, not to provide an odometer reading.

Therefore, for accurate odometer information, the vehicle’s dashboard display remains the most reliable source.

Can The Digital Odometer of a Car Be Tampered?

Yes, a digital odometer in a car can indeed be tampered with. Although it might seem like a digital device would be more secure, it’s actually possible for professionals to manipulate the readings.

This often involves using special devices or coding techniques to alter the displayed mileage.

While it’s easier to manipulate digital odometers, it’s also harder to detect such tampering compared to traditional mechanical odometers.

This is due to the lack of visible moving parts in a digital odometer. Therefore, potential buyers of used cars should be cautious and look for signs of odometer rollback, which is a form of fraud.

Does a Broken Speedometer Affect the Odometer?

Yes, a broken speedometer can affect the odometer. In most vehicles, the speedometer and odometer are linked as they both rely on the same distance sensor.

Therefore, if your speedometer is off or broken, it could also impact the accuracy of your odometer.

For instance, if the speedometer gears in the transmission are off, both the speedometer and odometer readings will be incorrect.

Additionally, a faulty speed sensor can result in an inability to measure tire speed, which would affect the information given to the engine control unit, potentially impacting both the speedometer and odometer.

However, there are instances where the odometer may still function even if the speedometer is broken, but this isn’t typically the norm.


Q: Why isn’t the mileage showing on my dashboard?

A: There could be several reasons why the mileage is not showing on your dashboard. Some common causes include a faulty odometer, a broken odometer sensor, a blown fuse, or a problem with the digital odometer display.

Q: What is a digital odometer?

A: A digital odometer is a type of odometer that uses electronic signals to display the mileage on a digital screen. It is commonly found in modern vehicles.

Q: What is the difference between an odometer and a speedometer?

A: While both the odometer and speedometer are components of your car’s dashboard, they serve different purposes. The odometer measures the distance your vehicle has traveled, while the speedometer measures the current speed of your vehicle.

Q: How can I fix a faulty odometer?

A: Fixing a faulty odometer depends on the specific cause of the issue. Some possible solutions include checking the odometer sensor, replacing a blown fuse, or repairing the digital odometer display. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult a professional mechanic who can diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate fix.

Q: Can a broken odometer affect the accuracy of mileage stored in the car’s computer?

A: Yes, a broken odometer can affect the accuracy of the mileage stored in the car’s computer. If the odometer is not working properly, the mileage recorded by the car’s computer may not be accurate. It’s important to address any issues with the odometer to ensure the correct mileage is recorded.

Q: What should I do if the speedometer works but the odometer doesn’t?

A: If the speedometer is working but the odometer is not, it’s likely that there is a problem with the odometer sensor. This sensor is responsible for sending the necessary signals to the odometer to record the mileage. It will need to be inspected and possibly replaced by a qualified mechanic.

Q: Can a faulty odometer be caused by a blown fuse?

A: Yes, a blown fuse can cause the odometer to stop working. The fuse is responsible for providing power to the various components of the dashboard, including the odometer. If the fuse is blown, it will need to be replaced to restore functionality to the odometer.

Q: Are cracked solder joints a common cause of a faulty odometer?

A: Yes, cracked solder joints are a common cause of a faulty odometer. Over time, the solder joints that connect the components of the odometer can become weak or cracked, resulting in a loss of connection and malfunctioning of the odometer. In such cases, the solder joints will need to be repaired or resoldered.

Q: Can a faulty light bulb behind the dashboard affect the odometer display?

A: Yes, a faulty light bulb behind the dashboard can affect the odometer display. The light bulb provides illumination for the dashboard. If it is not working, it can prevent the odometer display from being visible. Replacing the light bulb should resolve the issue.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, if the mileage is not showing on your dashboard, it could be caused by one of many issues.

These issues range from a simple fuse blowout to more complex problems like faulty wiring or software glitches.

However, with careful troubleshooting and some patience, most of these problems can be fixed relatively quickly.



Vide Polowenski, Senior Mechanic

The information in this article is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest mechanic SOPs.

Please take the time to leave a comment if this article has helped you in any way, you need additional help, or you have a suggestion.

Latest Posts

  • Crankshaft Position Sensor Lifespan

    Crankshaft Position Sensor Lifespan

    Crankshaft Position Sensor (CPS), is a pivotal component in your vehicle’s engine. Often referred to as the engine’s heartbeat monitor, the CPS plays a crucial role in ensuring optimal engine performance and efficiency. In this blog post, we delve into the intricacies of the Crankshaft Position Sensor’s lifespan, exploring the factors that influence its durability…

    Read more

  • Crankshaft Position Sensor Fuse Location

    Crankshaft Position Sensor Fuse Location

    This tiny component plays a significant role in the smooth operation of your vehicle’s engine, influencing everything from ignition timing to fuel efficiency. In this post, we delve into the often-overlooked but crucial aspect of vehicle maintenance and repair – locating and understanding the crankshaft position sensor fuse. The crankshaft position sensor fuse in cars…

    Read more

  • How to Replace Your Crankshaft Position Sensor

    How to Replace Your Crankshaft Position Sensor

    Replacing a crankshaft position sensor might seem like a daunting task, reserved only for seasoned mechanics, but with the right guidance, it can be an achievable challenge for even the most novice of car enthusiasts. This crucial component, often hidden within the intricate labyrinth of your engine, plays a pivotal role in the smooth operation…

    Read more