My odomoeter is ticking backwards!!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

My boyfriend and everyone else I have told this to thinks I'm crazy. I hope you'll disagree with them. I have an '87 Pontiac Sunbird with about 48,000 miles on it. On at least three occassions while driving, I would suddenly hear a strange ticking noise coming from the dashboard. When I looked down, I noticed that my odometer was going backwards! My boyfriend thinks I'm nuts. But in any case, he figures in four years, I'll have a new car with no miles on it. Am I nuts? And if not, what is the trade-in value of an '87 Sunbird with zero miles on it in 1995?

RAY: Eureka, Tammy! You've found it! The Used Car Dealers Research Association has had scientists from Stanford, Berkeley, and MIT--and even Ponds and Fleischmann--working on this technology for years. And you've discovered it in your '87 Sunbird!

TOM: Actually, Tammy, there are probably hundreds of cars that do this. The problem is, we've never worked on one, because nobody would ever want this fixed.

RAY: But we do believe you. The odometer on this car is run by a little electric motor. And if there's a short, and the polarity is some?how getting reversed, it would cause the odometer to go backwards intermittently.

TOM: As to your second question--the value of an '87 Sunbird with zero miles on it--I really don't know. I would, however, strongly suggest you trade it when you get down to about 5,000 miles. Don't be greedy. Remember, if you wait too long, you're going to wind up with an '87 Sunbird with 99,999 miles on it!

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