When something looks too good to be true, it usually is. For example, a vehicle report lists 12 owners and yet the car odometer shows less than 55,000 miles. Odometer tampering isn’t always easy to spot, so keep reading to find out what our used car lovers say are some big red flags.
What are the signs of a tampered odometer?

Daivat Dholakia

Daivat Dholakia, Director of Operations, Force by Mojio.

Check the Numbers of Previous Owners

Odometer fraud can be a major issue. Fortunately, there’s no sophisticated way to tamper with the odometer, so the signs are noticeable if you know what you’re looking for. First, look at the number of previous owners. If there is an excessive amount, there’s a fair bet the odometer has been tampered with to reflect lower mileage. Ask the dealer/seller lots of questions about the previous owners to confirm, as their answers likely won’t match what’s on the report.

When inspecting the car, check the odometer for crooked numbers or gaps between them. Also, check for scratches on the display or trapped air bubbles beneath it. Finally, look at the pedals. If the car’s pedals are very worn but the mileage is low, it’s likely been tampered with.

Tell-Tale Signs of Odometer Fraud

There are a few tell-tale signs that you should be aware of.
When was the last time you were in your vehicle?
Are all the buttons still working?
Does the dial still work on the odometer, or does it say zero ever since it was tampered with?
Is there any debris or dust, by chance?

If your odometer flips to “0” every time you turn it over, then this is an indication that something fishy might be going on. Furthermore, if the numbers change inexplicably while in motion and start to get stuck at odd points on their way up, like 15, this is also a sign of tampered equipment.

What are the signs of a tampered odometer?

Will Henry

Will Henry, Founder Bike Smarts.
What are the signs of a tampered odometer?

Julian Goldie

Julian Goldie, CEO of Goldie Agency.

Four Signs of a Tampered Odometer

Call for a VIN check
A VIN report includes details about any tampering with the car’s odometer, records of the odometer for previous owners, and all mileage details.

Look for odd odometer numbers
This is also a very critical way to check if an odometer is compromised. Check your odometer and see if the numbers are printed accurately. Check for any noticeable gaps in numbers or crooked/scratched numbers to an unnecessary length.

Compare odometer mileage with maintenance records
Comparing odometer’s mileage records with that of the car’s maintenance company records about mileage will also reveal any visible differences in the car’s mileage.

Evidence of physical wear and tear
Also look for the vehicles’ physical condition. If the mileage shown is too low, yet the car seems visibly weary and torn by its body, this is a great red flag about the originality of the odometer.

Odometer Red Flags

The vehicle looks older than what the mileage indicates
If the mileage seems lower than what the wear and tear indicate, it can be a sign that the odometer has been tampered with. You can go to a mechanic and let them inspect the vehicle. They can spot things that most people wouldn’t and see what parts have advanced signs of use.

Mileage records and mileage shown don’t match
Check the mileage records on the odometer and compare them with vehicle maintenance records. If the two don’t match, then, it’s a sign that the odometer is faulty. The maintenance records are sometimes included in the vehicle maintenance records.

Vehicle history report (VHR) may seem false
VHR, also known as VIN check, provides detailed information on the vehicle’s history. You can obtain the report using the Vehicle Identification Number. If the odometer settings don’t match what the VHR indicates, there’s illegal tampering with the odometer.

What are the signs of a tampered odometer?

Arnold Chapman

Arnold Chapman, Founder, and CEO of ELDFocus.com.
What are the signs of a tampered odometer?

Jacob Hubbard

Jacob Hubbard, Editor at TheGoodyPet.

Check If There Are Extra Switches on The Dashboard

You should check the dashboard of the car. If there are any extra switches then it means that it is used for switching the odometer on and off. This is extremely difficult to detect because it cannot be found out from service history records. You should also take a look at the service history records of the car for any other discrepancies.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.