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Automobiles Auctions   >   Articles   >   How to Spot Odometer Rollback

   
 

How to Spot Odometer Rollback


The odometer is the component of the vehicle that records how far the vehicle has travelled since it was made - its mileage. A vehicle's mileage is a very important piece of information - since it gives an idea of how much wear and tear the vehicle has sustained, and thus has a direct effect on the vehicle's resale value.

Unfortunately some unscrupulous vehicle sellers may commit a type of fraud, known as "odometer rollback", in which they dial back the mileage shown on the odometer, so as to conceal the vehicle's actual mileage, and sell the vehicle for a higher price.

Even if you learn how to properly inspect vehicles yourself, or hire a certified mechanic, detecting odometer rollback can be very difficult. There are however a few tell-tale signs to be on the look out for:
  • Look for indications that the dashboard has been removed - such as missing screws, etc. There can of course be legitimate reasons why a dashboard might have been removed at some point, but it's also possible the dashboard could have been removed to commit odometer rollback fraud.

  • Misaligned numbers on the odometer can be also be an indication of possible odometer rollback fraud.

  • Check the vehicle's title and other documents (for example, service history if available). Do the mileage numbers match the numbers on the odometer?

  • Does the amount of visible wear on the vehicle, especially in places such as seats, gas and brake pedals, carpets, etc., seem consistent with the claimed mileage? What about the amount of mechanical wear and tear on the vehicle? If you are can't make a judgement yourself, ask a certified mechanic for an opinion.

  • You may also find it helpful to use online services to get a more detailed history of the vehicle. VinAudit.com provides vehicle history reports with over 60+ problem checks (based on access to a database of over 40 million records from state DMVs, junk yards, and insurance carriers).
If you do find signs of odometer rollback, obviously you should be seriously concerned. Hopefully, using these techniques, by being carefully, and getting a mechanic's opinion when necessary - you can avoid being sold a vehicle that has had its odometer rolled back. You may also find the information about Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation (part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - NHTSA) to be helpful.


Related Links


Here are some related links and websites:
  • Check Your VIN
    Offers vehicle history reports complete with over 60+ problem checks for a one-time fee of $12.99 per report.
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  • How To Buy Cars At Auctions
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  • Inspect Before You Buy
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