How to set your odometer

If you need to include odometer readings in your mileage log, then this guide is for you. It explains how to use the odometer function in the app, and how you can add your readings and have the odometer shown on your reports. It also explains how the app can help you calculate the odometer setting for each trip on your report using odometer readings added by you as the baseline. Do you have odometer inconsistencies in your log and are you looking for help to fix them? Then the article on Odometer inconsistencies is for you.

In this article

What is an odometer and why do I need to know?

The odometer is the gauge in the dashboard of your car that shows the total distance your car has traveled in its lifetime. 

Some employers and tax authorities require that you add readings of your car odometer to your mileage report as documentation that the car has driven the distances that you claim mileage allowance for.

The rules and requirements to add odometer readings vary a lot from country to country. While the HMRC in the UK has no requirements for odometer readings at all, the IRS in the US requires one at the beginning and end of each year, and the CRA in Canada requires one at the beginning and end of each fiscal period. The ATO in Australia on the other hand requires an odometer reading before and after each separate trip recorded in the mileage log. Beyond these standard requirements, your employer might have different requirements. 

Tip!
Before you start using the odometer function in the app, we strongly recommend that you look into the specific requirements for your mileage log. Don’t need to include odometer readings? Then skip it to keep your logbook simple.

How does the odometer feature work?

You can add your odometer readings in the app or on the website to keep track of your car odometer. As soon as you have entered your first reading, you may also choose to have reports created in the app show the odometer. Then, Driversnote will calculate the start and end odometer settings for each trip on the report based on the reading(s) added by you in the app’s odometer log.

That way, the app uses your odometer readings as a baseline to calculate the odometer for you making it easy to keep track of your car odometer even without you having to log daily readings.

For more information on how to create a report that shows your odometer, please see this article from our Help Center: How to create a report.

How do I add an odometer reading to my log?

To add an odometer reading to your odometer log in to the app:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap on Odometer readings 
  3. Tap on Add new reading

Use the drop-down menus to pick the time and date for the reading, enter the reading, and if you have more than one vehicle in the app, select the vehicle that the reading is for.

You can also add your odometer reading on the website by signing in to your user account and clicking on 

  1. Settings
  2. Odometer
  3. +Add new reading

When you click on the drop-down menu to enter a reading in the app or on the web, Driversnote will suggest a reading based on the last one entered and the distance tracked with the app since. Ideally, the suggested reading should match the reading from your car. However, do keep in mind that small differences in the distance measured by the Driversnote app and your odometer are completely normal.

While Driversnote uses your phone's GPS to measure the distance traveled, your car odometer calculates the distance based on the number of revolutions of the tire and the tire's circumference. Both are prone to errors eg. from wear and tear of the tire and loss of tire pressure. Normally the odometer calculation in the app and readings added by you should stay within 1-3% of each other.

Tip!

To avoid inconsistencies in your odometer log, please make sure to:

> enter your odometer reading directly in the app at the exact time when reading it from your car odometer to ensure that the reading gets the correct timestamp

> update your odometer after both business and personal/private trips. If you update the odometer at the beginning of your workday, personal trips will also be accounted for in your odometer

> pick the correct vehicle when you add your reading

For more tips on avoiding odometer inconsistencies, please see the article on Odometer Inconsistencies

Set a reminder to add your odometer readings

If you are required to record regular odometer readings in your mileage log, we suggest you set up a notification reminder, so you don’t have to think about it. Then the app will remind you to add an odometer reading when it is about to start tracking a trip and it is time for you to enter a reading. You can set the reminder to daily, weekly, or monthly.

Here’s how: 

  1. Open the app and go to Settings
  2. Tap on Vehicles
  3. Select the vehicle you want to add the reminder to log odometer readings for
  4. Under Odometer, unfold the dropdown menu and select either daily, weekly, or monthly

You can also set your reminder on the web by signing in to www.driversnote.com and following the same steps outlined for the app above.

Common questions

Q: What do I do if I have odometer inconsistencies in my report?

If you have odometer inconsistencies in your report, you can either edit or delete the inconsistent reading, or you can delete mileage from your log equivalent to the inconsistency. For more detailed information on how to troubleshoot and fix odometer inconsistencies and for tips on how to avoid them, please see the article on Odometer Inconsistencies.

Q: How often should I add odometer readings in the app?

The requirements on how often and how many odometer readings you need to add to your mileage log vary a lot from country to country and from employer to employer. Therefore, we recommend that you check with your local tax authorities and/or employer to make sure that your mileage log lives up to their requirements.

Q: How do I get odometer readings to show on my report?

As soon as you have added your first odometer reading to your log, you can choose to have the odometer shown on your reports. All you need to do is to add that first reading and choose "Show odometer" in the filter at the top of the  Generate report page. For more information on how to create a report, please see this article from the Help Center: How to create a report

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