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Old 11-18-2002, 05:11 PM #1
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U.S. odometer fraud is pervasive

Hey all,

Apparently, odometer fraud is frequent in the US...so beware when shopping for a used car! This is just another reason why i don't buy used car unless it is the last car in the world!

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there are more than 450,000 cases of odometer fraud per year in the United States.

"Odometer fraud puts the safety and well-being of consumers at risk because it misleads them about wear and tear on the vehicle they are buying," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.
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Old 07-23-2004, 06:59 PM #2
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450K out of how many millions of automobiles?

Seems like a tiny fraction and I'd be curious to know the breakdown by year of those 450K.

I would tend to think that newer cars are more difficult to rollback without detection.
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Old 07-24-2004, 12:06 AM #3
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Can a digital odometer be roll back??
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Old 07-24-2004, 01:03 AM #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by TRD04RUNNER
Can a digital odometer be roll back??
I see no reason why not, I know on most Japanese makes it is easier than German. But it is possible for the guysthat know the makes electronics really well. The same way they program it for performance kits sometimes. It is just a number stored in an EEPROM in one of the ECU's. Ones you "hack" into it, there is basically now limit to what you can do.
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Old 08-07-2004, 02:02 AM #5
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I think you can get a new computer with lower mileage and that's it. I had my computer changed by a professional, they have to roll the mileage one way or the other to get it to your orignal mileage. In my case they had to make it A LOT higher.:rolleye2:
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Old 10-27-2005, 12:23 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by TRD04RUNNER
Can a digital odometer be roll back??
You can get a diffrent odometer cluster. A lot of guys with Acuras get the Type R cluster, and sell the stock low mile cluster for a nice mint. But the dealerships dont know the diffrence cuz its a simple and clean swap out of the clusters. The milage is stored in the cluster and not the ECU.
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Old 11-08-2005, 07:12 PM #7
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i was once in a ford tow truck and the speed (mph) wasn't working.

he told me he dissconnected it so it miles wouldn't go up.

He said you had to plug it back in 24 hours before service so the computer wouldn't register it being unpluged.
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Old 03-23-2007, 02:47 PM #8
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Hi guys n' gals,
I'm obviously fairly new to this site and was intrigued by this thread enough to chime in on it. For the record, I've got an AAS in Automotive Tech and about 4 years of experience before becoming disabled.

If you off-road your vehicle, chances are you are commiting odometer fraud yourselves ;)

Think about it- if you put larger tires on your vehicle without recalibrating the speedometer/odometer- then the mileage will roll over (a certain percentage-depending on size and gearing) slower than if you had stock tires and visa versa. For example, my 94 4Runner was bought with 235/75/15 tires on it and 208k miles. Well, the vehicle came from the factory with 31x10.50's meaning that - theoretically the mileage could be off as much as 20k miles lower than what the odometer reads. The same goes for gear ratios.

While this isn't exactly something that is sought out or even thought much about- it is an issue and it is technically illegal. Kinda like the catalytic convertor issue. It's actually illegal to replace any catalytic convertor on a vehicle with less than 60k miles unless faulty. It's also illegal to resell used cats.

Also, at least in North and South Carolina (I think this is Federal) any vehicle over 100k miles is sold as TMU anyways. TMU means true mileage unknown. By law the seller must tell a customer this, but being as it's "supposed" to be common knowledge, they let them look at the nice, trustworthy Carfax reports and keep quiet because the vehicle has 101k miles on the clock. I dare say this law is "left over" from the days when vehicles only had 5-digit odometers. It's really rather ridiculous because if the vehicle really has 101k then the True Miles ARE known! This is a major reason a vehicle's value plummets when it hits the 100k mark.

Even if the odometer is immediately replaced by a dealer and documented inside the door jamb the showing the mileage at which it was replaced it will still have to be sold as TMU.

More importantly though is the fact that mileage means very little when it comes to the condition of a vehicle. As someone mentioned, mileage has to do with price more than anything. A vehicle with 30k miles may actually be in worse shape than one that was meticulously maintained at 200k miles.

I worked at a Mazda dealership a while back and a guy brought in his car for its first oil change at 30 thousand miles! As far as I'm concerned, it could have its oil changed every 2k miles from then on out, but the damage was done. I brought some of the oil to my service manager to bring to the customer and it was black as night and thick as honey.

When shopping for a used vehicle- mileage is really a very small factor in the overall process of doing such. If you don't feel confident inspecting a vehicle yourself, take it to a mechanic to have it inspected. Carfax reports are nice to have and if you're searching around for a car- get the 1 month subscription so that you can run every vehicle you're interested through.

Having rambled through all this, I have just one more thing to say-
I personally would never buy a new vehicle. It's about as smart as buying 2 used cars and throwing 1 away. Buying a "first model" or a redesigned model in its first year is even worse. If you just have to have a new one, let the company get the kinks and flaws worked out of it first.
Idealistically, if you just have to have that new car smell- buy a certified pre-owned under warranty. That way someone else has already paid the 20% depreciation the car went through just by being titled.

On a good note, it's getting harder and harder for a vehicle's odometer to be tampered with. With Carfax miles, title mileage documentation and more and more automakers storing mileage into its computer. As someone said- a computer can be changed out, but it will still most likely show a discrepency in mileage somewhere along the documentation of the vehicle.

My $.0002 ;)

~R

Last edited by Rusty Davis; 03-23-2007 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 03-23-2007, 03:37 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rusty Davis
Buying a "first model" or a redesigned model in its first year is even worse. ~R
I totally disagree with this statement when it concerns Toyota at least. I have a first year 4th gen and it has been very reliable. First year FJ cruisers are said to be extremely reliable. And if you look at Consumer reports for Toyota models you will see that first year models are no less reliable than the subsequent years. American cars, well yes, that can't seem to get anything right on their first try.......and the second....and the third......
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Old 03-23-2007, 06:19 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by toybox
I totally disagree with this statement when it concerns Toyota at least. I have a first year 4th gen and it has been very reliable. First year FJ cruisers are said to be extremely reliable. And if you look at Consumer reports for Toyota models you will see that first year models are no less reliable than the subsequent years. American cars, well yes, that can't seem to get anything right on their first try.......and the second....and the third......
I can't really argue there! I was thinking more along the lines of domestic vehicles which, sadly, I'll probably never buy another one. Toyota's spend much more time with R&D rather than trying to spit a new design out asap. The thing about foreign cars is too that they've already been on the market elsewhere.

I'm sure people will disagree with me on this, but I'm surprised how VW seems to fall under the same category as the domestic vehicles. They've gotten better, perhaps it's because they're not made in mexico any longer.
The "new beetle" was a disaster though. But you know what I mean, it's a trend that new models have bugs in them that need to be worked out.
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Old 07-14-2007, 11:20 PM #11
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I work part time for a car dealer-

In Missouri, a motor vehicle older than 10 years is exempt from mileage certification requirements.

It's amazing how many "low mileage" older vehicles there are in our state since this took effect.

I recently bought a 1992 Honda Accord at a local auto auction. I was amazed to see 147,000 miles showing on the odometer, yet a receipt I found behind the glovebox(with a date of late 2005 on it) said the car was repaired once at 184,000 miles. I wound up wholesaleing the car at another auction because of that, losing $425.

Basically the state of Missouri has given the unscrupulous the green light to roll back odometers without consequence, and the customer can do nothing about it.

Yes, no matter how old the car it is STILL A FEDERAL OFFENSE but without certification, who do you charge?

This is why I caution people to CALL THE PREVIOUS OWNER OF A CAR before they buy and get a CAR RECORDS CHECK as well. With a little "detective work" most rollbacks can be discovered and a disappointment avoided.

My motto "LOOK AT THE PEDALS AND THE STEERING WHEEL". You have to use them EVERY TIME YOU OPERATE THE VEHICLE and the more the miles, the more the wear. Inside door handles, shift knobs, seating surfaces, amount of dirt on the undercarriage [except for us 4Runner owners ;-) ] can be a great indicator too.

In my opinion odometer certification should be required on a vehicle until it's average retail value becomes $1500 or less or for 20 years. By this time most of the value of the vehicle has been used up and it's probably ready for the boneyard anyhow!
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:36 PM #12
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Odemeter fraud

I am a car dealer. (not part time). I buy and sell cars every day. I would NEVER buy new. When you buy new as soon as you drive off the lot and want to trade it in at the dealer across the street you lose a minimum of $5,000, usually more like $10,000. Once you drive off the lot, the car is now a used car. It is a used car before you can even get it home. It might be a nice used car, but it is now in anyone else's or the law's eyes a USED CAR!!

Don't even get me started about the lease treadmill where you can own a used car for what you paid to use someone else's car.

Odometer fraud it out there. You need to either find a dealer that you trust or a mechanic to go with you or know what your talking about. I buy and sell more cars in a month than most people will in a lifetime. I can buy a car in less time than most people can pick out a loaf of bread and still avoid the ones with bad odometers. It is all in how the car presents itself and an experienced eye.

450,000 Odemeter fraud cars are just the ones that get caught. You can rest assured that 99 out of 100 cars on the road are ACTUAL MILEAGE. Especially as newer cars get harder and harder to tamper with. There are fewer and fewer people that can change the mileage on a car without tampering with the computer. Sometimes we find a car that just does not look/act right for the miles. We pass on that car.

Federal law says you only have to gaurantee the miles for cars 10 model years or newer. If you can prove the miles on a car are not the actual miles the seller must buy the car back. You can drive that car for as long as you want and take it back to the seller and get all your money back. A dealer does not want to be turned in for something like that, so he has to buy it back. Remember, we are talking Federal law here as in Felony!!!!

If anyone needs a good used car here in Michigan I can take care to steer you in the right direction. I am in a rather small town environment and my reputation is everyting. And of coarse we carry a few Toyota's but they do not last around here very long.
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:57 PM #13
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i rolled back my odomter once....i drove 100,000 miles in reverse :P JK.
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:24 AM #14
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U.S. odometer fraud is pervasive

Odometer rollback schemes represent a pervasive fraud that costs consumers billions of dollars annually. The fraud has many permutations, most common of which include falsifying the vehicle
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:28 PM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikebuyscars View Post
I am a car dealer. (not part time). I buy and sell cars every day. I would NEVER buy new. When you buy new as soon as you drive off the lot and want to trade it in at the dealer across the street you lose a minimum of $5,000, usually more like $10,000. Once you drive off the lot, the car is now a used car. It is a used car before you can even get it home. It might be a nice used car, but it is now in anyone else's or the law's eyes a USED CAR!!
Then why do you dealers mark up the price so high?
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