| CARCHEX Research Center

WARNING: Odometer Rollback Fraud – CARCHEX Shows You How To Spot It

If you are thinking about buying a used car then read carefully. In the state of California alone, there are an estimated 295,000 cars with false odometer readings. Dishonest used car vendors know that low mileage is a big selling point, so they use odometer rollback or “clocking” to increase sales. Let’s see how this is done and how to protect yourself.

Tampering Easier Than Ever

In the past, with mechanical odometers, it was more difficult to rollback the mileage. Now, with digital displays, it is easy to alter the odometer with equipment designed for mechanics. The scam artists just plug in the tool, push a few buttons, and shave off thousand miles from the odometer reading. Other illegal methods are odometer replacement and disconnecting the odometer.

The US Department of Justice estimates that victims of odometer rollback fraud lose an average of $4000 per vehicle. Unfortunately, this type of criminal activity is on the rise. So if a used car salesperson claims that a vehicle was only driven by a little old lady for grocery shopping once a week – and that’s why the odometer only shows 500 miles – think twice.

Ways To Spot The Scam

Here are some tips for spotting odometer rollback:

Vehicle History Reports

Perhaps the easiest method to detect odometer fraud is with the vehicle history report. Every motor vehicle carries a vehicle identification number (VIN) that is recorded, along with mileage, whenever the vehicle is serviced. This data is also recorded when an accident is reported or when the car is sold, inspected, or has a title or registration change.

No report includes all the data on a vehicle, but a vehicle history report typically has a lot of useful information of interest to any used car buyer – including odometer readings.

Don’t Get Taken For A Ride

Unfortunately, odometer fraud is on the rise, but you don’t have to be a victim. Get a vehicle history report and get the real odometer reading plus a lot more useful information to help make smart buying decisions.

Get a vehicle history report from a CARCHEX partner today.