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Are brand new car mileages really zero

Once a car has been assembled and all the wiring is connected (including the odometer) every time that car rolls forward on its wheels – or the axles are turning – then the odometer is ticking its way up.

As most new cars are not purchased at the end of the assembly line, expect that virtually all “new” cars sold will have some positive indication of mileage on the odometer. Consider the following:

  • Starting the car at the end of the line and driving it to a holding area (tick, tick)
  • Running the car out from the holding area for a short road test, if that is part of the manufacturer’s QA process (tick, tick, tick)
  • Driving the car from the end of the road test to another staging lot – either for final inspections/fixes or as ‘ready to ship’ (tick, tick)
  • Driving the cars onto trailers for movement to the port (tick, tick)
  • Driving the cars off of the trailers into another holding lot at the port (tick, tick)

And so it goes. Reverse the process at the other end to get the cars off the ship or trailer to the dealer holding lots to dealerships to the showroom floor – it all adds up

The car mileage on odometers can be as low as 4 miles or as many as 20–25 miles. Anything over that and I’d consider the vehicle as not new – it’s either a demo, loaner, or something similar and would deserve a proportional pricing discount.

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