Tips to Avoid Odometer Fraud

Mazda Odometer

Odometer fraud means rolling back or altering odometers in any other possible way to make it seem that a car has lower mileage that it actually does. Despite strict penalties and increasing safety precautions, the incidence of odometer fraud is still high.

Unfortunately, many consumers mistakenly think that digital odometers cannot be rolled back, but the truth is that it is even easier to tamper with digital odometers.

Why odometer reading is important?

Odometer helps determine the vehicle’s condition and its actual value. The average rollback of 30,000 miles may increase vehicle’s cost by thousands of dollars.

In addition, odometer helps indicate impending repairs, as there are certain parts that should be maintained or replaced every 20,000 miles.

Who falls victims to odometer fraud?

Most common victims of odometer fraud are dealers who buy used cars from wholesalers. Then the dealers resell these cars with false odometer readings. It often happens that neither the dealer nor the buyer suspects that the odometer mileage readings have been altered.

How to reveal odometer fraud?

Below are some tips that will help you reveal odometer fraud when buying a used vehicle.

  • Ask the seller to provide you a Vehicle History Report. If he or she doesn’t provide it, you can buy a VHR from
  • Compare the title’s mileage with the odometer.
  • Examine the mileage on maintenance and oil change stickers which may be found on windows, on door frames, or under the hood.
  • If the vehicle is pretty old, but has suspiciously low mileage, walk away from the deal. On the average, automobiles run about 12,000 miles per year.
  • Inspect the vehicle for wear and tear. The odometer reading should reflect the wear and tear on thecar’sparts. After a vehicle has been driven for a while (e.g. 30,000 or 60,000 miles), certain equipment need to be maintained or replaced.
  • Inspect the tires. When inspecting the tires, keep in mind that they last for about 20,000 miles. If the tires have been replaced, the odometer must show more than 20,000 miles.
  • Ask a qualified mechanic to assess the vehicle’s condition. If you are not good at inspecting vehicles, ask a trusted mechanic to inspect the vehicle for signs of odometer fraud.
  • Check for other signs of odometer fraud, such as missing screws, badly worn brake pedal, or loose floor mats.

Remember that it’s illegal to tamper with odometer, to replace it, disconnect, or reset. If you have fallen victim to odometer fraud, report it to competent authorities.

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