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Spotting Odometer Rollback: Essential Steps to Verify Used Car Mileage

Published May 6, 2024 at 8:34

When purchasing a used car, ensuring that the vehicle's mileage is accurate is essential for a good deal and long-term satisfaction. Here's how to verify it thoroughly and make sure you're not falling victim to "odometer rollback."

1. Check the VIN and Obtain a Vehicle History Report
Every car has a unique vehicle identification number (VIN). Use this to obtain a comprehensive vehicle history report from services like Vingurus or Experian. This report can reveal the car's mileage history at various stages of its life, including details like previous ownership, title changes, and maintenance records. If there's a significant discrepancy between reported and actual mileage, it's a strong indicator that tampering has occurred.

2.Examine Service Records and Previous Ownership Documentst
Cross-reference the information in the service records, inspection reports, and previous ownership documents. Consistent mileage increments across these records usually indicate accurate reporting. Inconsistencies, on the other hand, are often a red flag suggesting odometer rollback or careless record-keeping.

3.Consult a Trusted Mechanict
An experienced mechanic can assess the vehicle's condition and check for inconsistencies. For instance, certain components like the brake pedal, tires, and engine parts should show wear proportional to the vehicle's mileage. If these parts show excessive wear or are newly replaced yet the odometer reads low, the mileage may have been altered.

4. Perform a Diagnostic Check Using a Computer Scannert
Many modern vehicles have onboard diagnostic systems that store mileage information. A mechanic or dealership can connect a scanner to the car's computer and verify the approximate mileage independently of the dashboard odometer. If the scanner's reading differs significantly from what is displayed, further investigation is needed.

5.Inspect the Odometer and Car for Visual Signs of Tamperingt
Odometers can be tampered with through manual manipulation, repair work, or software hacking. Check for the following warning signs:

Misaligned Numbers: If the numbers on the odometer aren't properly aligned, it could indicate tampering.
Scratches or Loose Screws: These may show that the instrument cluster has been removed or replaced.

Discrepancy in Dashboard and Engine Wear: If the car's dashboard looks relatively new but the engine shows significant wear, there may be an inconsistency.

6. Use Free Odometer Check Tools
Services like EpicVin provide a basic odometer reading check for free using the VIN. This quick step helps verify that the odometer reading hasn't drastically changed between reports.

If these steps lead you to suspect odometer rollback, avoid buying the vehicle and immediately report your findings to the appropriate authorities. This will help prevent others from falling into the same trap.

Source: Vingurus
May 6   |   1 answers
Spotting Odometer Rollback: Essential Steps to Verify Used Car Mileage

Are You Confident You Can Spot Odometer Rollback on a Used Car?

Yes, I know the critical tampering signs00 %
Somewhat, but I could use more guidance00 %
Not really, I usually rely on vehicle history repo1100 %
No, I always need expert assistance00 %
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