Driving a rental to Canada? Check the dash

Since it’s winter and I live in the south of course that means all my business travel is to Canada.  I have a client fairly close to Buffalo so it makes more sense to fly into Buffalo instead of Toronto due to traffic patterns and the ridiculous airfares into Toronto’s Pearson Airport.

Last week I got to the National desk in Buffalo and I was offered an Impala or a Malibu.  I really like Malibus so I chose that car, but immediately noticed the dash had a single unit speedometer.  Now since many of you out there don’t believe me that such cars exist I took a picture.  I once debated with CBP about why I had rented a minivan to cross into Canada when it was just me (Canada didn’t care, but the US was very concerned when I was reentering).  I stated I rented it because it was the only car they had with miles and kilometers on the speedometer.  They told me all cars have that.

a close-up of a speedometerSo, how did I remedy this situation?  I have always assumed there was some way to toggle this to Km/h, but instead of fiddling with it after crossing the border I just set my GPS into metric mode.  I looked at the car speedometer in the US and the GPS speedometer (since my Garmin shows my current speed) in Canada.


  1. This is what I dug out of the Malibu owner’s manual:
    Entering Personalization Menu
    “1. Turn the ignition on while the
    vehicle is stopped.
    To avoid excessive drain on the
    battery, it is recommended that
    the headlamps are turned off.
    2. Press and hold the information
    and reset buttons at the same
    time for one second, then
    release to enter the
    personalization menu.
    If the vehicle speed is greater
    than 3 km/h (2 mph), only the
    UNITS menu will be accessible.
    3. Press the information button to
    scroll through the available
    personalization menu modes.
    Press the reset button to scroll
    through the available settings for
    each mode.”

  2. Just multiply the first digit of the km/h signs in Canada by 6 and divide by 10. You’ll never go wrong. It’s what we did before we had metric speedometers.

Comments are closed.