How To Check For Odometer Tampering?


With the increase in second hand car sales, there has been an increase in certain malpractices too. One such commonly found scam trick is odometer tampering. Most innocent used car buyers think that with the introduction of advanced computer technology, such things as odometer tampering is a thing of past. Unfortunately, there are unethical car dealers and individuals who have got tricks up their sleeves to roll back the odometer and sell their cars for more than it actually is worth. The good news is that there are ways to identify odometer tampering

Odometer Tampering

Identify Odometer Tampering

  1. Check the original service history. From the service history, you can see the vehicle mileage written on the repair order. It is a practice with the manufacturing brand service stations that they note down the car’s mileage and the date on the repair order.
  2. Look for figure prints or smudge marks on the inside of the odometer. If you see any of these then get on your guard as this is a sure shot case of odometer tampering.
  3. No car dashboard has spare switches. If you find any extra switches on the dashboard then there is a high probability that it is for switching the odometer on and off. This is a very smart and ingenious way of tampering the odometer, as this cannot be identified even from the service history records.
  4. Look for odometer replacement sticker in and around driver’s doorjamb. You should be able to see it when you open the driver’s side door. This sticker will have details like date of replacement and the last reading on the old odometer.
  5. While you are test driving, check if the odometer is sticking, if the answer is yes then beware, there has been tampering.
  6. Check the interior of the car like the floor carpet, seat, steering wheel, pedal and armrests for signs of wear and tear. If the condition of the interior suggests a lot of use but the mileage says otherwise it indicates odometer tampering.
  7. In case the odometer is analogue type then you need to check if the numbers are aligned. Check the 10,000 digits more carefully and see if they fall in a perfectly straight line.

A little careful attention to the fine details and you can easily identify odometer tampering. With the entry of branded dealerships, you can be assured that such scams have become very less. At the branded second-hand dealerships they computer scan the vehicle along with rigorous mechanical checks before putting it on sale. Vehicles with signs of tampering are rejected immediately.


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