Odometer Fraud is More Common and More Dangerous Than You May Think
There are four branches of the Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations in the United States, one in each region of the West, Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest. Each of these offices is staffed with both criminal investigators and administrative support. They are tasked with finding odometer fraud and taking action to prevent it.
You may be surprised to learn that odometer fraud is more than an inconvenience – it can actually lead to serious car accidents. For example, if a person believes a vehicle only has 25,000 miles on it, and it actually has more than 100,000, that owner will not take the preventative maintenance steps they should take. If this causes an accident, the person who committed odometer fraud could be found at fault for the accident.
Ask to See the Title Before Buying a Vehicle
It can be difficult to determine if an odometer has been altered – but it is not impossible. First, ask to see the title and compare the mileage on it with what the odometer says. Examine the title closely to see if there could be an attempt to obscure or change the mileage listed.
Look at Maintenance or Inspection Records
Ask to see maintenance or inspection records. Compare the mileage listed on those with the mileage on the odometer. You can also look around for stickers that indicate the next oil change or maintenance need, which could be anywhere from the doorframe to under the hood of the car.
Check for Proper Alignment of the Odometer
Take a close look at the odometer gauge. Do the numbers seem to be aligned correctly? If you notice that they are at all crooked, that they have gaps, or they jiggle if you bang on the dash, then you should assume they have been charged and should find another vehicle to buy.
Inspect the Vehicle
Start by looking at the tires. If you are buying a newer vehicle and it supposedly has less than 20,000 miles on it, then it should have the original tires. If it does not, then this is a sign that this car is not as new as it appears. Also look for wear and tear on the vehicle. We recommend looking especially closely at the pedals to be sure they are consistent with the wear and tear you would expect on a vehicle with its mileage.
Request a Vehicle History
If the seller does not have one, you can use the VIN to order it online. This is one of the best ways to see for sure when it was sold, how many miles it had, and other important factors. If you find that there is a discrepancy, contact your state enforcement agency.
Have you bought a vehicle that you believe has fraudulent odometer readings? Did that false information lead to an accident? You may have a case – contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for help.