1992 Mercury Sable - True miles

I bought a 1992 Mercury sable that listed on dash and paperwork that says it has only 63,000.00 miles on it. The odometer doesn’t have a place for when it reaches 100,000 miles which it does have wear and tear but it also looks like it’s been repaired. How can a mechanic tell if the car has reset on the odometer?

On this old of a vehicle if it runs well the mileage is not worth worrying about. You have the car and even if you were told the mileage is not correct nothing can be done about as vehicles over 10 years old are mileage exempt in most states . Do you really want to pay a shop 100.00 to 125.00 to find this out ?


Inside the odometer there is a felt pad with ultraviolet dye that is in contact with the “10,000” digit, an ultraviolet lamp can be used to detect if the odometer has exceeded its limits. Don’t expect an auto mechanic to be interested in checking this for you, this is something you will have to check for yourself.

Some of those old cars recorded the mileage in the PCM for the emission maintenance reminder, even if it was not used. This can be checked with a scan tool however it can be reset so it is not valid proof of mileage.


Spot on. A 30-year old car is not measured by miles anymore. If it’s a runner, enjoy it while it lasts!


Its monetary value might not be measured by miles anymore, but the odometer mileage is certainly a reasonable predictor of remaining life and expected reliability. If I was planning to take a long trip in a car that has 120,000 miles and appears to be well-maintained, even if the car is 30 years old, I could be confident. If the car actually has 220,000 miles, I’d be a lot less confident, and probably not consider using that car.

I strongly disagree with that statement. Age matters.

On a 30 year old vehicle it matters a lot no matter where it has lived its life… short of a climate controlled chamber.

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Look and see how worn the brake pedal is


All good advice but does 2,000 miles a year make any sense to you?

I’m retired, have several other cars for running around/errands so my most recent car spends almost all of it’s time sitting in the garage but I’m still logging about 3,000 miles per year on it just to keep it warmed up.

Short of documentation it’s safe to assume the real mileage is at least 163,000, which at 5,000 miles per year is still well below average but if it’s not worn out and you got it at a decent price, what the heck…

Depends on where the car lived, we sold grandpa’s 1986 Toyota Camry when he died in 2016 and it had under 50,000 miles even with us taking long drives every time we visited, he lived on Oahu in a town where you really only needed to do 5mi a day to run your errands. Three quarters of his trip to Safeway was just getting to the end of his street, then 1/4 mile to the store.

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30 years of short trips and the car outlived grandpa. There are a number of grandpas here that preach about the failures to be expected from short trips but they are not showing the failures that have resulted from short trips. A quarter mile of driving in a warm climate is enough to exceed the dew point and then there is the return trip.

My car when it got rear ended at 200k had no noticeable wear on the brake petal. I know because I had heard growing up look at the brake pedal for wear and I did watch it. @Tester

Total round trip to the store was about 2 miles, the house was on a canal and grandpa’s house was 3/4 of a mile up a cul de sac from the main road around Kailua, or within a couple miles of the local Ace Hardware. With everything he needed in town the only time he ventured into Honolulu was to pick someone up at the airport or get treated at the VA clinic.

Check the Carfax, see if the records help.