Odometer Fraud Affects Almost 200K Cars Annually

Odometer Fraud Affects Almost 200K Cars Annually

You might remember when Danny DeVito played Mr. Wormwood in the 1996 film adaptation of “Matilda.”

There was a scene where DeVito’s character uses a power drill to reverse the odometer in a vehicle for sale at his used car dealership. According to CarFax, DeVito’s scummy sales tactics are far from fiction. In fact, the vehilce history service said yesterday that it estimates almost 200,000 odometers are altered in cars every year.

“Odometer fraud is a calamity for car buyers,” said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax. “There are serious problems that can arise from a rollback. Older, deteriorating parts lead to unexpected repairs while unperformed maintenance for the true mileage may compromise the safety and performance of these cars. Not to mention, each victim loses thousands of dollars because they pay much more than these cars are really worth. This new data is a clear warning that consumers everywhere need to be on the lookout for odometer rollbacks and protect themselves when buying used cars.”

According to the study, most cars are rolled back by at least 50,000 miles and the most susceptible models are at least 14 years old. But the practice isn’t limited to vehicles with analog odometers. In fact, CarFax says digital indicators are easier to alter because they are computerized. Dishonest sellers can easily find odomoeter correction tools online.

  • Auto Motive

    If you want to never get stuck with a problem high mileage vehicle buy certified preowned from a new car dealer. You usually receive a mfg warranty up to 100k for engine and powertrain and one year on everything else. Friends have purchased cars turned over leases and mileage was 20000 to 36000 avg. Cars were priced higher then a used car lot but getting peace of mind from the new dealer and a warranty that is honored is worth it. If you have cash in your hand you can buy from a private owner. Bring someone that knows cars with you. Always buy based on a car fax. They are on $30 and the seller will pay it to close the deal. Buying private is thousands less than at a dealer.

  • Jeff Twitchell

    Certified pre-owned is just a marketing phrase. Do you know who certifies these cars and what certifications they actually have. Many low mileage cars are rental returns so make sure you know who the previous owner was. Because Rental companies know they are not keeping the vehicle very long, they are generally not serviced at the proper interval or with the proper fluids. Buyer beware !!