Protection From Odometer Fraud

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
    original tires.
  • 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, is offering a free odometer rollback check.
    Visit and put in the vehicle identification number (VIN) from the
    vehicle you’d like to check.


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