1985 Chevy cavalier odometer confusion

I’m going today to check out a 4 door 1985 Chevy cavalier. Its advertised as having 77k original miles but the odometer only goes up to 99k miles so how can I tell if its actually 177k miles or more?

If the odometer legit only goes up to 99,999- then I’m not sure you can. I had an old van that actually had more digits in the odometer, but you had to take the dash off to see the hundred thousands place. Perhaps peek in there and see if there is more hiding to the side?

beyond that- this car is 34 years old, and not a collectors car. Does it really matter that much? If they are asking for more than $1,000, I’d keep shopping…


Why are you even looking at this thing ? Sorry , but they were not great vehicles new . Are you not the person who asked about an old Chevette ? All I can say is it had better be real cheap at 34 years old and zero collectability status.


The only way I know is if they can produce a complete maintenance/repair record with miles recorded each time.

But I’m also curious - why?


I’d say you are a glutton for punishment . You have asked about two of the most unreliable cars GM has made .


The state DMV may have a record of previous times it was sold, with the odometer reading at each sale.

1 Like

I’ll add mine… Why? Not very good cars at all. 34 years old Why would you buy this?

These cars were unreliable 34 years ago.
Does the OP think that… somehow… they became more reliable after the passage of more than 3 decades?

And, these crude little cars are definitely not in the category of collectible classic cars, which leads to the inevitable question of…
Why would somebody buy one?

Look at the wear on the gas and brake petals.

The price is pretty cheap but what makes this a bad car?

What are you calling cheap ? Makes it bad - 1. It was not much of vehicle to start with 2. It is really old and parts might be a real problem 3. Completely out of date for safety features 4. If the mileage is correct that means it has spent lots of time just sitting which is not good 4. All hoses and belts most likely need to be replaced plus tires are probably dry rotted .

1 Like

The belts, hoses, and tires are brand new.

Plus, without a documented maintenance record, this aged vehicle is a classic…
Pig in a poke

Also, what does “it wasn’t much of a vehicle to start with” mean?

There is a fear of owning and working on old cars and especially an old car that had a poor rating when new.

I think the car you are looking at is a decent survivor, I looked at the pictures. If you buy it you will meet people that appreciate older cars but you won’t find them here.

I didn’t post any pictures so I’d assume you looked at the Craigslist post. Would you put any stock into the “owned by an old lady” claim?

Well gee, in Minnesota it is illegal to misrepresent the actual mileage. You have to report the 177K on the title when transferred or check the box that says actual mileage is unknown. No one would do anything illegal would they? Some claimed that the numbers would align unequally and look like the rocky mountains but that wasn’t my experience. I was really happy when I got a picture of my Buick odometer when it turned to 500,000. I had in my mind that it would be fun to run it up to 999,999 and watch it roll over to a new car again. Was not to be though.

That is what you will say when you sell it, isn’t it?

Who else would keep a cheap car hidden away for 30 years in a garage?

As far as the odometer, it doesn’t really matter, you are buying metal, paint and upholstery, nothing special.

So I went to check it out and it looked to be in pretty good condition except the valve cover (or valve cover gasket, i cant remember what he said) leaked a pretty good amount and the engine coolant looked low.

Now here’s the red flags associated with the whole situation.

1.) The guy said its registered in his wife’s name
2.) He has it in his buddies front yard
3.) When I went to check it out the buddy couldn’t remember the owners name.

I liked the car and its problems seemed minimal but its too fishy a situation so I’m not going to pursue it further.

Good for you to walk away. You probably spent more in gas driving there than the car is worth.