Nearly one in 10 used vehicles has had its odometer rolled back. Recent studies show
odometer fraud continues to rise, costing consumers an estimated $2 billion a year. Rolling
back an odometer is illegal in the United States, but automotive experts say it’s also easy
and profitable — especially for private sellers or illegal dealers, known as curbstoners,
who are not bound by the same regulations as licensed used-car dealers. Even digital
odometers are susceptible, thanks to equipment and software readily available on the
Internet. Used-car buyers may want to follow these suggestions to avoid scams:
- Examine the tires. If the odometer shows 20,000 or less, it should have the
- Always request the vehicle’s maintenance, inspection and emission records. Then
compare the mileage on the odometer with those on the records.
- Get a detailed Carfax Vehicle History Report to check for odometer discrepancies in
the vehicle’s history.
- Compare the title of the vehicle with the mileage on the vehicle’s odometer.
- Look at the wear and tear on the vehicle — especially the gas, brake and clutch
pedals — to be sure it seems consistent with the amount of miles displayed on the
odometer. For a limited time, carfax.com is offering a free odometer rollback check.
Visit carfax.com/free and put in the vehicle identification number (VIN) from the
vehicle you’d like to check.