A lot of people think that odometer fraud is a thing of the past, thanks to digital odometers. Unfortunately, that’s just wishful thinking. In reality — crooks have found ways to hack into vehicle computer systems and re-set odometers. All it takes is a simple gadget that you can buy online — and a lack of scruples.
Making matters worse: thanks to incredibly stupid rules the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued years ago under the Federal Odometer Act, vehicles more than 10 years old are exempt from key provisions of the law. That never did make sense, since all it does is encourage fraud that hits low-income used car buyers the hardest. It makes even less sense now, when RL Polk says that the average age of all light vehicles on the road in the US has hit a record 11.4 years.
One of the worst things about odometer fraud: an altered odometer can make the warranty void, or make any service contract you buy with the car worthless and void.
According to AOL Autos, a New York man was alerted by friends that his used car miraculously showed less mileage after he sold it on Craigslist:
How can you avoid getting scammed by an odometer fraudster?
1. Insist on seeing the work orders showing past repairs — and look carefully at the mileage.
2. Call repair shops that worked on the car and are listed on the work orders to confirm the numbers.
3. Have the vehicle inspected by your own independent auto expert BEFORE you agree to buy it. They can hook it up to diagnostic equipment that will access the onboard computer systems — which may reveal telltale records of higher mileage.
Here’s a good place to find a good mechanic: