BUYER BEWARE: Easy to Use Odometer Rollback devices can be used to defraud you!
According to Rossen Reports with NBC, rolled back odometers can cost consumers $760 million yearly! Insert link to story.
The demand for used, low mileage vehicles far exceeds supply these days and with that comes the opportunity for dishonest car dealers to make a quick buck by rolling back the odometer of the vehicle you may be looking to buy. There are many odometer programming devices available on the internet selling for a few hundred dollars up to as much as several thousand dollars along with YouTube videos that show how remarkably easy they are to operate.
Here’s the way the device works. They tap into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic computer and alter the odometer reading with just a few clicks. Within just a few minutes, a crook or dishonest car dealer can crank back the odometer on a used car and increase its value on the resale market by an easy $3,000 to $8,000. Given the cost of the device itself, a car dealer can make a lot of money very fast and very easy.
Before you unknowingly buy an odometer rollback vehicle or any used vehicle for that matter, protect yourself with these easy steps.
1. Run an AutoCheck or CarFax or NMVTIS report. Each of them obtain their data in slightly different ways and sometimes from different sources, so run all three. Insert Web Addresses
2. Take the vehicle to a known mechanic or shop that you trust for a pre-purchase inspection. They will be checking the vehicle for rust, suspension issues, engine issues, the exhaust system, prior damage and brakes and rotors. They can even check the internal computer to see if the odometer has been tampered with.
3. Take the time to check it out for yourself.
A vehicle’s interior can also tell quite a lot about its age. Wear and tear on the seats can expose potential odometer rollback, so pay attention to the condition of the car’s interior.
Look for unusual pedal wear and if the vehicle has a clutch, check the left side of the clutch pedal for wear which may indicate the previous owner rested their foot on the clutch pedal and not on the dead pedal like they are supposed to.
Take the vehicle for a test drive at high and low speeds and be sure to make several sharp turn. Listen carefully for noises which could signal suspension or steering problems.
Most importantly, check the oil! Many mechanics have said one of the biggest problems they see during their pre-purchase inspection is low oil or no oil on the dipstick which can signal poor maintenance and/or the engine burning oil.
If the vehicle is a one-owner vehicle, looking at the mileage of the vehicle during its maintenance intervals can be a great help. If you have these, it can help you look for mileage discrepancies as well as help you determine if the car was properly cared for. Look for gaps of time or mileage when servicing, or when oil changes were performed.