Does the Car Mileage Increase When You Drive in Reverse?

Every driver must have had this question popped into their mind but very few dare to spill it out. Well, it may seem to be a ridiculous question, or is it? It is legit for a car enthusiast to have loads of queries about automobiles. It makes more sense when it is related to car mileage as it indicates the performance and longevity of a car.

What Is Car Mileage?

Mileage refers to the total distance a car has covered. You can know how many miles a vehicle has been driven by looking at the odometer reading. The mileage reading is important at the time of purchasing a used car. An average of 12,000 miles per year is the standard although there are many models that can drive more miles without derogating the performance. However, the fewer miles it has been driven, the better. Car mileage does not stand for fuel economy.

Does Reverse Driving Make the Car Mileage Go Up?

Yes, but only slightly. Only a highly skilled driver can drive in reverse some distance. Otherwise, no one can do it for more than several hundred feet. However, the effect on the odometer reading will slightly vary depending on whether you are driving an old or new model of vehicle.

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Reverse driving only slightly increase the mileage in new cars. Credit: Getty Images

When you are driving an old car.

If your car dates back to the pre-70s, chances are high that most of its measuring components including odometer, speedometer, tachometer, and others are mechanically linked. These instruments are unlikely to yield accurate reading when you are driving reverse. Most possibly, the speedometer will stay at zero but the odometer will roll back when you drive an old car in the reverse gear.

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When you are driving a new car.

If you are driving a relatively newer model, something that is manufactured in the 90s or later, chances are higher that all the measuring instruments are digital and electronically linked. In that case, the speedometer will show the speed when you drive in reverse and the odometer will display the increased mileage reading after sensing that the car is moving.

How to Stop Cheating with Car Mileage?

car mileage
You can only slightly decrease the mileage by driving reverse. Source: Autotrader

The car mileage will go up (only slightly) in a new car when you drive it in reverse gear. However, how to detect if someone wants to show less mileage in an old car?

First of all, no one drives in reverse unless it is for parking or some emergency situations. So, there’s no chance that the odometer reading is decreasing a lot. Even if someone drives a car a lot in reverse, it is not possible to roll back the odometer reading from 50,000 to 40,000 km because the change is slow and almost ignorable.