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Protection From Odometer Fraud

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

Nearly one in 10 used vehicles has had its odometer rolled back. Recent studies show
odometer fraud continues to rise, costing consumers an estimated $2 billion a year. Rolling
back an odometer is illegal in the United States, but automotive experts say it’s also easy
and profitable — especially for private sellers or illegal dealers, known as curbstoners,
who are not bound by the same regulations as licensed used-car dealers. Even digital
odometers are susceptible, thanks to equipment and software readily available on the
Internet. Used-car buyers may want to follow these suggestions to avoid scams:

  • Examine the tires. If the odometer shows 20,000 or less, it should have the
    original tires.
  • Always request the vehicle’s maintenance, inspection and emission records. Then
    compare the mileage on the odometer with those on the records.
  • Get a detailed Carfax Vehicle History Report to check for odometer discrepancies in
    the vehicle’s history.
  • Compare the title of the vehicle with the mileage on the vehicle’s odometer.
  • Look at the wear and tear on the vehicle — especially the gas, brake and clutch
    pedals — to be sure it seems consistent with the amount of miles displayed on the
    odometer. For a limited time, carfax.com is offering a free odometer rollback check.
    Visit carfax.com/free and put in the vehicle identification number (VIN) from the
    vehicle you’d like to check.

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