Odometer fraud: What you can do

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By: WCTV Eyewitness News
April 25, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A new investigative report suggests that approximately 1.6 million vehicles on the roads have been targeted by odometer fraud, having had their mileage rolled back to make them appear more valuable.

Consumers are encouraged to report instances of suspected fraud to FLHSMV or local law enforcement. The department offers customers an online complaint form on its website, along with consumer protection information.

FLHSMV recommends following these tips to avoid becoming a victim of odometer fraud:
• Look for signs of wear on the brake and gas pedal pads, or the recent replacement of the pads.
• Check for loose screws around the dashboard.
• Observe the wear and tear on seats, or take notice of new seat cover installation. A vehicle with low mileage should not have excessive wear.
• If the car has less than 20,000 miles, it should not have a replacement set of tires.
• Ask to see the maintenance records of the vehicle and the original owner manual for the vehicle.
• Consider having the vehicle inspected by a reputable mechanic of your choosing.

It can be difficult, but not impossible, to detect whether a vehicle’s odometer has been altered. The following is a list of tips to help used-car buyers detect odometer fraud:
• Ask to see the title and compare the mileage on it with the vehicle’s odometer. Be sure to examine the title closely if the mileage notation seems obscured or is not easy to read.
• Compare the mileage on the odometer with the mileage indicated on the vehicle’s maintenance or inspection records. Also, search for oil change and maintenance stickers on windows or door frames, in the glove box or under the hood.
• Check that the numbers on the odometer gauge are aligned correctly. If they’re crooked, contain gaps or jiggle when you bang on the dash with your hand, walk away from the purchase.
• Examine the tires. If the odometer on your car shows 20,000 or less, it should have the original tires.
• Look at the wear and tear on the vehicle—especially the gas, brake and clutch pedals—to be sure it seems consistent with and appropriate for the number of miles displayed on the odometer.
• Request a vehicle history report to check for odometer discrepancies in the vehicle’s history. If the seller does not have a vehicle history report, use the car’s VIN to order a vehicle history report online.
• If you suspect fraud, contact your state’s enforcement agency.

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