It continues to be a big problem. Both electronic and mechanical odometers are often “clocked,” “spun,” or set back. The new car market is slowing and millions of vehicles are coming off lease. Add up the additional ten cents per mile sellers realize by clocking odometers, and there is significant incentive for dishonest people to commit fraud.

Fleet and Lease-Return Cars at Risk

Leasing mileage surcharges and high-mileage fleet cars are big factors in the problem. Many people assume 10,000 to 12,000 miles per year is normal use. Fleet cars can rack up the miles much more quickly, averaging 35,000 miles per year. There is a big incentive to try to pass off these late-model high-mileage cars as having many less miles than they actually do. Other common culprits are individuals trying to avoid excess-mileage penalties at the end of their leases.

In states near the Canadian border, the conversion between kilometers and miles requires odometer replacement or reset that introduces opportunities for errors and fraud to creep in.

Odometer Tampering Hurts Consumers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that odometer fraud costs consumers over $1 billion per year. Years may pass before the victim realizes their car’s odometer has been set back. When you add in the other costs, some estimates of the overall economic impact of odometer fraud are as high as $10 billion per year.

Costs to Odometer Fraud Victims

  • A victim of odometer fraud pays more for the car, including higher taxes, financing, and insurance.
  • The car breaks down more. The parts are worn more than expected. The consumer spends more on repairs.
  • The car’s resale value is lower. Who wants a worn-out car?

We Can Help

The average person is unlikely to be able to detect if the odometer has been fraudulently spun back. Our trained, experienced appraisers can spot a problem if the wear-and-tear on the vehicle disagrees with the mileage stated on the odometer.