Should Your Odometer Data Be Private?

Illustration for article titled Should Your Odometer Data Be Private?
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There’s actually a bigger story that relates to this that we’ve got in progress, but I was curious to get some input from the people who’s opinions I actually give a rat’s rectum about: our readers. And I want to know what you think about your odometer.


Specifically, I’m curious to know if you feel that the data stored in your odometer – I guess really a datum, because it’s just one value, the number of miles (or kilometers) you’ve driven your car – is information you’d consider private.

Now, of course there are times when you should be willing to provide that odometer number: when you’re selling your car, for example, because that information has a direct impact on the overall value of the car.

And, as an autobilist, you may choose to give that number to your insurance company or to the state when you register your car. You may also choose to give updates on how that number changes to your insurance company in exchange for lower rates or backrubs or whatever. You may agree to have a tracking device on your car to transmit that number, even.

The question I have is how do you feel about your odometer being read without express permission? Do you have an issue with a given organization that may have access to your car recording your odometer number?

Do you feel it’s different than other bits of data that your car has that is available easily, openly, and visually, like make, model, year, license plate number, or even VIN (I want to say ‘number’ here so badly but someone in the comments already made me feel stupid for doing so)?

On one hand, you may not care if people know how much distance your car has covered. On the other hand, it could be possible for someone to extrapolate details of your life and habits via the distances you drive, possibly.


So, again, my question is: do you care about your odometer being read without your express permission?

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!:


Pilot of the Clown Shoe

I don’t like my Vehicle VIN Number to be public because I use part of it for my Personal PIN Number for when I use the Automatic ATM Machine.

My odometer reading? I don’t have any strong feelings about that.