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Some Prius Owners Have Issue With Odometers Stopping At 299,999 Miles

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- While it's not uncommon for a car to rack up 100,000 miles or more, ConsumerWatch has learned the Toyota Prius can have an issue with outliving its odometer.

It turns out the odometer on the popular cars were designed to simply stop keeping track of how far you've driven at a certain point.

Prius owner Kevin Darmasaputra made a point of capturing a mileage milestone when his car hit it.

"I was ready to take picture," said Darmasaputra.

Just at the moment his 12-year-old Prius was supposed to hit 300,000 miles, the odometer stopped and froze one mile short.

"I thought, 'Hey maybe it's just stuck,'" explained Darmasaputra.

As it turned out, it wasn't. According to Toyota, it's a known issue.

The odometers in various older Toyota models only record up to 299,999 miles. They can't display a number "3" in that spot.

It is the topic of many online forums and complaints, despite the fact that the popular Prius was recently ranked among the top 20 vehicles that can take you to 300,000 Miles.

"This actually proves that the car is really durable," said Darmasaputra.

Odometers in newer model Toyotas have been fixed and now come with the number "3" in the hundred thousands column.

Still, in what Toyota calls its "usual statement" on the issue, the auto maker says they "consider this to be a maintenance issue" and it refers car buyers to their Toyota dealer.

The fact that Kevin's dealer said he would have to pay for a new odometer because the car is no longer under warranty raised his ire.

"Why should I have to pay for an issue that's not caused by me?" asked Darmasaputra.

Warranty issues are usually related to wear and tear.

The federal Truth in Mileage Act requires a car to have a working odometer, though there are exceptions when selling a car over 10 years old, as long as the issue is disclosed.

For now, Darmasaputra has come up with a workaround by using the trip counter.

But he thinks he should be entitled to a number 3 on the odometer in a car known to go over 300,000 miles.

Darmasaputra's dealership has now agreed to offer him a 20 percent discount on replacing the part.

While the policy will vary from dealer to dealer, ConsumerWatch knows of at least one that agreed to replace the odometer for free.

California law doesn't require cars to have working odometers, though some states do.

The California DMV makes allowances for older cars with non-functioning odometers.

It advises owners to track their mileage on their own. It also allows sellers to file an extra form attesting that a vehicle's odometer is not working.

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