May 12 is National Odometer Day

12 May 2019

HOW TO PROTECT AGAINST ODOMETER FRAUD

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 DMV Enforcement.

Vermont Law (23 V.S.A. § 1704a) says, in part, Any person who sells any motor vehicle and has actual knowledge that the odometer reading has been changed, tampered with, or defaced without disclosing same shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 for a first offense and fined not more than $2,500.00 for each subsequent offense.

Additionally a person who changes, tampers with, or defaces, or who attempts to change, tamper with, or deface, any gauge, dial, or other mechanical instrument, commonly known as an odometer, or who willfully misrepresents the odometer reading on the odometer disclosure statement or similar statement, title, or bill of sale shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 for a first offense and fined not more than $2,500.00 for each subsequent offense.

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