One of the first things consumers look at when considering the purchase of a used vehicle is the odometer reading. Many are willing to pay more money for a vehicle with lower miles because this may mean the vehicle will have fewer mechanical issues often associated with excessive driving. Car dealers understand this and often raise the price of cars and trucks with low odometer readings. However, many may also commit odometer fraud by rolling back a vehicle’s odometer to show a falsely low number.
Consumer advocates report that nearly 1.8 million vehicles on the road have false odometer readings because of dealer fraud. Some areas of Pennsylvania have seen a regular increase in this type of deception. Even newer models of vehicles with digital odometers are fairly easy to reset if a dealer knows how. This can mean a difference in thousands of dollars in profit for a dealer and a higher risk of repairs and breakdowns for the consumer. Some red flags that may indicate odometer fraud include:
- A brake pedal with significant wear
- Other signs of wear and tear that do not fit with a low odometer reading
- Inconsistencies on the vehicle history report and the vehicle’s title
- The opinion of an independent mechanic
Odometer rollbacks not only cost consumers money, but it also places them at risk. After many miles of driving, a vehicle may have dangerous issues a driver is not prepared for. Odometer fraud is against the law, yet many car dealers will place their own profits above the safety and well-being of consumers.