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Difference Between Odometer and Speedometer

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 05/10/2023

The speedometer and odometer are crucial components of any car, providing drivers with important information. They serve different functions and have different purposes, although they may sound similar.

A vehicle's odometer measures the total distance it has travelled over its lifetime. The speedometer, on the other hand, records the speed of a car at any given moment. But to drive even a single mile on the Indian roads, you need to purchase four-wheeler insurance for your car. So, if you plan to get a car, get a motor insurance policy from Tata AIG.

To know more about the odometer and speedometer differences, keep reading this blog.

What is a Speedometer and Odometer?


The speedometer is a component of the instrument panel that measures the speed of your car at any given moment. Depending on the country, speedometers measure speed in miles per hour (MPH) or kilometres per hour (km/h). A car's dashboard or a bike's instrument cluster usually contains one.

Types of Speedometer

It is also possible to have a speedometer that is analogue or digital. On analogue speedometers, the transmission is connected to the speedometer via a cable, which moves the needle. In contrast, digital speedometers calculate speed digitally using sensors that measure wheel rotation.

A digital speedometer has the advantage of being more accurate than an analogue speedometer. Additionally, it is easier for the drivers to calibrate and adjust if necessary. Digital components, however, may malfunction more frequently due to their complexity.


A vehicle odometer is used to measure the total distance it travels over its lifetime. It is located on the dashboard and displays a numerical reading in kilometres (km) in India, many other countries, or miles in the United States.

Types of Odometer

Analog and digital odometers are the two main types. Analogue odometers calculate the distance travelled by a series of gears and cables. On the other hand, digital odometers calculate distance digitally based on wheel rotation.

As gears and cables are more difficult to change with an analogue odometer, they are less prone to tampering. It is also essential to remember that analogue odometers are prone to wear and tear and may require more maintenance than digital odometers.

A digital odometer is more accurate and less likely to wear out than a mechanical odometer. Moreover, it can provide more accurate readings when integrated with engine control units.

How Speedometer Works?

Generally, the speedometer is located on the dashboard of a car so the driver can easily see it.

  • This instrument consists of a dial with numbers corresponding to different speeds and a needle indicating the vehicle's current speed.

  • A speedometer measures rotational speed by measuring the rotation of one or more vehicle components, such as the wheels or transmission.

  • A sensor converts this speed into an electrical signal sent to the speedometer.

  • This signal is then processed by the speedometer and displayed on the dial along with the corresponding speed.

  • Changing speed causes the needle to move on the dial, providing the driver with real-time speed monitoring.

Function of Odometer

  • Odometers are connected to the vehicle's transmission or wheels, and they count how many rotations the wheels make.

  • Odometers then convert the number of rotations into miles or kilometres travelled.

  • Analogue odometers use gears to display the odometer's reading based on the rotation of the wheels.

  • The gears are calibrated to correspond to a fixed distance travelled, such as a tenth of a mile or one kilometre when the wheels rotate.

  • An electronic sensor measures the rotation of the wheels in a digital odometer.

  • Odometers display the distance travelled due to sensors sending signals to a microprocessor.

  • In addition to providing more reliable information than analogue odometers, digital odometers can display additional information like fuel efficiency and trip distance.

Use of Speedometer

The purpose of speedometers is to provide drivers with real-time information on how fast they are driving. Access to this information is crucial in obeying speed limits, adjusting your speed according to road conditions, and avoiding accidents.

There are some speedometers that not only provide current speed information but can also provide additional information such as travel distance, average speed, and fuel economy in addition to providing current speed information. This information can be helpful for drivers who want to improve their fuel efficiency and track their driving habits.

The speedometer is one of the most critical components of a vehicle and is crucial to safe and efficient driving. When choosing a speedometer, ensure it is high-quality and suitable for the car. The type of speedometer can influence the vehicle's accuracy and reliability.

Use of Odometer

Using an odometer, you can measure the rotation of a vehicle's wheels. The odometer is one of the most important instruments to determine how well the car is running and whether it needs periodic maintenance. It is an essential vehicle component and vital for determining its value and maintenance requirements.

The type of odometer on a vehicle can affect its resale value and reliability. The odometer is especially useful if you plan to buy a used car or sell an old one. When buying a used car, you can use the odometer to calculate the car's mileage. As well as finding out how far the car has run, we can also check the engine's condition.

Difference Between Odometer and Speedometer

Two essential instruments on a vehicle's dashboard are the speedometer and the odometer, which provide critical information to the driver. Speedometers measure speed, while odometers measure distance travelled. For safe and efficient driving, it is vital to understand the differences between these two instruments, even though they may appear similar.

Odometers and speedometers differ in the following ways.

Parameter Speedometer Odometer
Purpose It displays the current vehicle speed It measures the distance travelled and displays it
Reading type Instantaneous reading Cumulative reading
Measuring unit Kilometres per hour (KPH) or Miles per hour (MPH) Kilometres or Miles
Reset function There is usually no reset function on this It usually does not have a reset button
Importance It is essential to monitor your speed while driving For vehicle maintenance and resale value, it is essential
Location In front of the driver, on the dashboard In the instrument cluster on the dashboard

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You can quickly get confused when distinguishing an odometer from a speedometer, especially when driving! However, now that you know their functions and characteristics and all about odometer vs speedometer. A vehicle's odometer provides information regarding the total distance travelled. In contrast, a vehicle's speedometer offers real-time information regarding its current speed.


Where are the speedometer and odometer located in my car?

The speedometer and odometer are located on the dashboard in front of the driver.

What is the difference between a speedometer and an odometer?

Compared with an odometer, a speedometer measures and indicates the vehicle's current speed. Odometers are attached to the wheels of cars and measure the distance travelled.

How to read the odometer?

Odometer shows the total distance travelled by a new car. It often has multiple other windows that display different data, and it is because of trip metres. People often confuse trip metres with odometers. While both these tools calculate distance, trip metres can be reset as many times as the owner wants. Odometer readings, however, cannot be modified. The distance shown in the odometer is measured in kilometres.

Reference Links,Answer%20%3A%20An%20odometer%20is%20attached%20to%20the%20wheel%20of%20a,speed%20of%20that%20particular%20vehicle.

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