Four Tips For Avoiding Odometer Rollback Fraud

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Purchasing a used car requires much more work than if you were going to buy a brand new vehicle. With a brand new vehicle you don't have to worry about the history behind the car like you do a used vehicle. On the flip side, you could end up paying much more for a new vehicle than a used one making the benefit of buying used very appealing. When you do purchase a used vehicle, you want to make sure you have done your homework. There are about 200,000 vehicles that experience odometer rollbacks each year, according to CARFAX. If you aren't careful, you could be purchasing a vehicle who has had its odometer rolled back. Unfortunately, this can make a major difference in the value of the vehicle. To avoid odometer rollback fraud, here are four tips to help.

Check the History Report

One of the best ways to know if your odometer reading is really correct is by checking the history report. You can do this by using the 17 digit vehicle identification number located on your vehicle. This is typically found under the windshield on the driver's side of the car. Comparing the VIN to the zip code will help you determine what the actual odometer should read. Comparing what the vehicle history report says and the odometer reading, you should be able to tell any discrepancies. At this point, you should question the seller once you find a discrepancy. 

Talk to a Mechanic

A mechanic can be your best friend when you are deciding whether to purchase a used vehicle. Just because your odometer may say 50,000 miles, it could actually have more like 100,000 miles on it. By taking the vehicle to a mechanic, they have the ability to check out parts of the car that clearly show signs of wear to see if it matches up with the mileage. For example, if your spark plugs should last 100,000 miles and the odometer says 45,000, but the spark plugs are already needing replacement, you should question the odometer reading. 

Research Past Owners

Through your vehicle'sfree vin history report, you should be able to identify how many owners the vehicle has had. If you see an excessive amount of past owners and the car only has 20,000 miles, this is a good indication that something is not matching up. You want to communicate fully to the seller to ensure that they are not hiding anything. 

Check the Odometer

The condition of the actual odometer can provide clues that it has been tampered with. Make sure that all the numbers are aligned and that there are no scratches on the odometer itself. Also, check the dash screws that they have not recently been replaced. A mechanic can also be helpful in determining if it was tampered with.