Over 1.9 million vehicles on the road have rolled-back odometers, a 7% increase from the previous year, according to Carfax research. That includes an increase of 18% in odometer scale in Maryland, a 6% increase in DC, and Virginia leading the area– coming in 8th in the nation in odometer scams.
“Many people think odometer fraud disappeared with the invention of digital odometers,” said Emilie Voss, Public Relations Director for CARFAX. “But that couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re still seeing the number of vehicles on the road with a rolled-back odometer rise year-over-year.” According to Carfax data, consumers lose an average of $4,000 in value from unknowingly buying a car with a rolled-back odometer, and that doesn’t include unexpected maintenance costs.
There is good news, according to Carfax– “odometer rollback fraud can almost always be avoided. It starts by examining the vehicle yourself and asking the seller some questions related to the condition of the car. These include questions about its odometer reading. If the deal seems too good to be true, then chances are your instincts are correct. If the seller puts undue pressure on you, that’s a warning sign too.
Take the car to your mechanic to verify its condition. A trained mechanic will notice things you won’t – and has vantage points to check the car that you don’t – and may question why certain parts or components show advanced signs of wear that do not correspond to the vehicle’s mileage. For example, if the car’s spark plugs and wires should last 100,000 miles but look like they are due for replacement when the odometer reads 40,000 miles, that’s a problem.”