Tips for Detecting Odometer Fraud
- Posted by Hovanes Margarian, Attorney At Law
- Posted in Car scamsGeneral ArticlesHelpful tipsOdometer Fraud
Odometer fraud, sometimes even called clocking, involves odometer tampering or rolling the odometer back so that it shows less mileage than the car actually has. Mostly, private sellers of used cars practice this type of fraud to be able to sell their old cars in high prices.
Odometer tampering is a serious crime, as the Federal Truth in Mileage Act (TIMA) requires all the car sellers to disclose the car’s actual mileage and to provide trustworthy odometer readings. Accordingly, failure to disclose the above mentioned information will bring to high fines and/or even imprisonment.
Nevertheless, odometer fraud is now considered to be one of the most practiced ones in the sphere of automotive fraud and scams. According to the 2002 study performed by the NHTSA, there are 450,000 vehicles sold each year with incorrect odometer readings. This number is rapidly increasing unfortunately.
In order to be able to avoid odometer fraud, manufacturers designed digital odometers; however, they are as easily manipulated as the old ones. The tool which was primarily meant for fixing the digital odometer is now used by the fraudsters to roll the odometer back.
It is interesting to note that late-model cars are said to be more frequently undergoing odometer rollback than the new ones, as they accumulate mileage rather quickly.
Odometer fraud is a real disaster for used car buyers and if you are intending to purchase a used car, be careful to detect odometer rollback. Following are some tips to help you:
- Require to see the car title, compare the mileage fixed there with the car’s odometer mileage. Read the car title document very closely, see whether the numbers are obscured or not.
- Look for the vehicle maintenance stickers on the car’s doors and windows. Maintenance stickers are another indicator of odometer fraud, as they also enlist the car’s mileage.
- Get a Carfax car history report to discover the car’s actual mileage.
- Inspect the car visually: look at the wear and tear, check the tires. If the reading on the odometer is less than 22,000 then the car must have its original tires and the wear and tear must not be excessive.
- If the car has a mechanical odometer, then check whether the numbers on the board are aligned evenly and do not jiggle.
If, after reading this article, you discovered you had been a victim of odometer fraud, then do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Hovanes Margarian for legal help.