One of the most important instruments that can be found on your car’s instrument cluster or dashboard is the odometer.
That is where you will know how much distance the car has already traveled so that you can easily tell how often the car has been used.
But, if you are buying a new car or if you already have one, how can you tell whether your odometer is showing the values in miles or in kilometers?
Here’s How To Tell If Your Odometer Is Showing The Values In Miles Or In Kilometers
Cars that are made and sold in the US and in the UK have odometers that are usually calibrated in miles because that is the unit of measurement followed in those countries. Meanwhile, cars that are made and sold in most of the other places in the world will odometers that are in kilometers instead.
The fact is that different places around the world actually follow different units of measurement when it comes to everyday objects such as cars.
That means that the odometers in cars will follow whatever unit of measurement is used in that place as long as it was made to be sold in that region.
So, in that regard, let us get to know more about the odometer and the units of measurement used in most odometers.
- What Is Current Odometer Reading? (Why’s It Important?)
- Difference Between Speedometer & Odometer (Including Trip Meter)
- What is a Digital or Electronic Odometer? (Explained For Beginners)
What is an odometer?
You know very well how important your instrument cluster is whenever you are driving.
After all, the instruments located on your instrument cluster or on the dashboard of your car allow you to see the status of the car.
And among those different instruments, one of the most important ones is the odometer.
But what does the odometer do to make it one of the most important instruments on your car’s dashboard?
Unlike the speedometer or your car’s fuel gauge, the odometer isn’t something that you would have to regularly look at while you are driving for you to know the status of your car.
That’s because the purpose of the odometer is to measure the total distance that your car has already traveled from the very start.
In that sense, the odometer will allow you to tell how far the car has already gone from the moment it started running.
The numbers on the odometer will tell you the exact distance it has traveled, and this is important for you to know if you want to know how often the car is being used.
This is usually one of the most important instruments to look at when buying a used car as even a car that has only been used for a few years can get banged up if it has traveled a lot of distances already.
Is the odometer in kilometers?
So, now that you know what the odometer is for, you might be wondering what unit of measurement is used in the odometer.
After all, the odometer only shows the numbers without telling you the unit of measurement.
This is unlike the speedometer, which usually shows the speed of your car in both miles per hour and kilometers per hour.
As such, you are probably asking whether odometers are calibrated in kilometers.
If you are asking in general, then no, odometers are not calibrated in kilometers in a general sense.
That’s because it really depends on the make and model of the car and where it was manufactured and made to be sold.
So, in other words, odometers really depend on where the car was made and sold because that is what determines whether or not it should be calibrated in kilometers or in miles.
What is the odometer measured in?
At this point, you already know that odometers are not generally calibrated in kilometers.
So, if that is the case, what is the unit of measurement that is often used for odometers? If it is not in kilometers, is it in miles?
Again, let us go back to what we talked about before we asked this question.
As we have mentioned, odometers are calibrated depending on where it was made to be sold because how different countries have different units of measurement that they tend to follow without even showing the unit of measurement.
So, for example, if you said 100 degrees in the US, everyone will know that you are talking about it in Fahrenheit.
However, if you said the same in Japan, then the entire place would be scorched already because they follow Celsius instead of Fahrenheit.
It’s the same concept when it comes to the unit of measurement used for the odometer because it really depends on where the car is supposed to be used.
So, if you bought a car in the US, which is supposed to be used in the US, then the odometer would be calibrated in miles instead of kilometers. However, buying a car in Japan, Canada, or the majority of Europe would mean that it would be calibrated in kilometers instead of miles.
In other words, countries that make use of the imperial system of measurements such as the US and the UK have cars with odometers that are calibrated in miles.
Meanwhile, if you were to go to a country that uses the metric system, then it would follow that the cars that are bought and made to be used in those countries use kilometers.
How to read the odometer?
Reading the odometer is actually the easiest thing you can do when you are using any of the instruments on the instrument cluster.
That’s because the odometer will simply read out the numbers for you.
So, if you see that the odometer reads 10,000, that means that the car has already traveled a distance of 10,000 miles or kilometers, whichever of the two is being used by your odometer.
How to tell if the odometer is miles or kilometers?
Let’s say you don’t know where you bought your car from and in which country it was manufactured, how would you even tell if the odometer is calibrated in miles or in kilometers in the quickest way possible?
Well, it can be quite easy for you to do so. And you can tell whether it reads in miles or in kilometers by looking at the speedometer.
Unlike the odometer, the speedometer shows both miles per hour and kilometers per hour regardless of where it was manufactured or where the car is sold or supposed to be sold.
However, what will change is that cars that are made and sold in countries that use the imperial system will have miles per hour on the outer side of the speedometer while kilometers per hour will be in the inner part.
And when the car is made for a country that uses the metric system, then the kilometers per hour will be on the outer part of the speedometer.
So, going back to the odometer, if you see that the speedometer has miles per hour on the outside, then it follows that the odometer is following the imperial system and is calibrated in miles.
Meanwhile, if kilometers per hour is on the outer ring of the speedometer, then it follows that the odometer is using kilometers instead of miles.