Ways to Bust Odometer Tampering

Ways to Bust Odometer Tampering - Each year, more and more consumers find themselves victims of odometer tampering. With the used car market increasing in momentum, this illegal practice has become rampant over the years and has increased the risk for used car buyers.

Also known as “clocking” or “busting miles,” odometer tampering fools unsuspecting buyers into thinking that vehicles have a lower mileage than they actually do. This scam enables dealers to sell a used car more than its actual value. It is estimated that the illicit profit from odometer tampering sums to over billions of dollars lost per year.

Protect yourself from this fraudulent act. Here are some ways to help you determine signs of odometer tampering:

Mechanical Odometers

• Ask to see the vehicles’ mileage disclosure statement. Dealers are required to keep this record for 5 years.
• Compare the mileage on the odometer with the mileage indicated on the written disclosure statement. Also check if the mileage reading on the vehicle’s title, service records, oil change labels etc. for signs of alteration.
• Check if the odometer shows physical signs of tampering such as missing or loose screws, marks, and misaligned numbers.
• Scrutinize the vehicle for inconsistencies. See if the gas, brake, and clutch pedals correspond to the mileage shown on the odometer. Low-mileage vehicles should have its original parts, such as batteries, hoses and clamps, etc.
• A used vehicle with less than 20,000 km should have its original tires. If they were replaced, mismatched by size, type or brand, start asking why.

Digital Odometers
Digital odometers were created by car manufactures to slow down the problem of odometer tampering. But with the advent of technology, tampering a digital odometer is now very possible and even harder to detect for unsuspecting buyers.

Some digital odometers are designed to show visible signs if it has been tampered. Unusual characters such as asterisks, line of 9’s across the screen or missing display parts are some suspicious signs that used car buyers should look out for.

Do the math. A vehicle racks up about 20,000 to 30,000 km per year. If the mileage indicated on the odometer is inconsistent with the vehicle’s age, check out the car’s history.

Nothing is tamper-proof. Before you buy a used vehicle, it is always best to have an independent mechanic conduct a thorough inspection. The odometer is only a gauge in determining a vehicle’s condition. With a car’s complexity and sophistication, there’s a lot you can’t tell just by checking one of its parts.
Ways to Bust Odometer Tampering