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What Is Odometer Rollback?

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Odometer rollback (or odometer fraud) is the resetting, disconnection, or alteration of a vehicle’s odometer with the goal of changing the number of miles indicated.

It’s estimated that 450,000 vehicle owners are odometer rollback victims each year, with over one billion dollars worth of increased annual costs for consumers who purchased those vehicles.

Odometer rollback is a criminal act and it’s in your best interest to know how to protect yourself against this fraudulent practice.

How Does Odometer Rollback Affect Me?

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Tampering with a vehicle’s odometer directly affects how that vehicle is valued. One of the first things buyers look at when inspecting a vehicle for purchase is its mileage.

A rule of thumb is that each year a car will put on 12,000 miles. With each mile driven, a car’s value depreciates (about $1.50-$3.00 per mile for the first 3,000 miles and then $.25-$.5 per mile afterwards).

With this assumption in mind, the average older vehicle will be valued less than newer ones based upon their mileage.

Odometer fraud cheats the buyer out of making a proper estimate of the vehicle. The result of this is the buyer paying thousands of dollars more for a vehicle that is not only worth less than that amount, but also comes with the wear and tear associated with a vehicle that’s been driven more.

How To Detect Odometer Rollback?

Fortunately, odometer rollback can be detected with a few extra steps and a couple of trained eyes.

  • Compare odometer mileage records with mileage shown - You should compare the mileage displayed on the odometer with the vehicle’s inspection and maintenance records. These reports should include your vehicle’s mileage, which you can then total up and put against the mileage currently on the odometer.

  • Get a Vehicle History Report (VHR) - The VHR (aka the VIN check) is a document that provides great detail on the vehicle’s history. The car’s VHR will reveal any faulty odometer settings and if the odometer itself was tampered with. It will also show the average mileage driven by the vehicle’s previous owner(s).

  • Check for physical signs of odometer tampering - Make sure all the numbers on the odometer are readable and lack any gaps between them. Also, verify that none of the numbers are crooked. Any of these are signs of possible odometer tampering.

  • Car looks more worn than the mileage shown - A vehicle that has been driven several thousand miles will show it. If the vehicle doesn’t appear to have the same level of wear and tear befitting its mileage, take it to a professional mechanic for inspection. They will notice things (like advanced signs of wear) that don’t match the given mileage.

Identifying the signs that an odometer has been rolled back is the first step. The second is addressing the tampering.

What Can You Do About Odometer Rollback?

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After confirming that your vehicle’s odometer has been rolled back, it’s a part of your due diligence to report it. Each state has a different agency that oversees rollback claims and reporting to them would put the rollback on the vehicle’s record. This aids future buyers against scams.

Reporting also encompasses contacting your local law enforcement agency. The person or dealership that committed the odometer fraud is punishable by law for their illegal practice. Yes, dealerships can sell cars with odometer rollbacks.

Options For Selling A High Mileage Car

CarBrain allows you to avoid bringing your car into a mechanic for inspection and repair or paying the price of towing for a dealership or junkyard.

We provide the convenience necessary for you to sell your car without leaving the comfort of your home. The entire process can be summed up in THREE steps:

Step 1: Get your free quote using our website. Enter basic information about your vehicle and you’ll receive a quote within 90 seconds. That quote remains valid for SEVEN days after you receive it.

Step 2: Schedule your pickup within 24-48 hours! If you’re happy with your quote, we’ll connect you with one of our local partners to set up vehicle retrieval.

The towing is complimentary, so you’ll never have to worry about any fees taking away from what you make from your car.

Step 3: Completing your sale is easy. After a quick inspection and transferring your title, you’ll receive the amount you were quoted directly in the palm of your hand. No haggles. No hassles.

Contact CarBrain today and let us take care of that high mileage car for you!

Need answers? Get FREE advice from our client care experts NOW!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does odometer rollback mean?

Odometer Rollback is the act of changing, tampering with, or resetting of the mileage displayed on a vehicle’s odometer. It is also known as odometer fraud and is illegal.

What can I do if my car’s odometer was rolled back?

If your odometer is rolled back, you can report it to the agency in your state that handles odometer fraud. You can also file a report with local law enforcement and/or procure an attorney familiar with this type of fraud.
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