The demand for used cars has spiked dramatically in the past two years, resulting in soaring prices. Surprisingly, vehicles with 80,000 miles on the odometer are fetching higher prices than those with 100,000 miles. However, the ease with which digital odometers can be tampered with by knowledgeable individuals poses a significant concern.
According to Carfax's latest report, more than 2.1 million vehicles currently on the road have rolled-back odometers, reflecting a 7% increase from the previous year and a staggering 14% increase over the last two years.
Carfax estimates that buyers face an average loss of $4,000 when purchasing a vehicle with a tampered odometer. This loss does not even take into account the unexpected maintenance costs that may arise.
The repercussions of odometer tampering can be severe as parts tend to fail prematurely due to their actual age being older than what is indicated by the manipulated mileage.
Interestingly, Carfax's research shows that most cases of odometer tampering involve tens of thousands of miles.
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How to Protect Yourself: Essential Tips
When it comes to purchasing a used car, the oldest advice holds true: have the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic before making a purchase. A competent mechanic can assess the wear and tear on various parts based on the actual mileage shown on the odometer and alert you to any suspicions they may have.
If a seller refuses to allow a pre-sale inspection, this should be an immediate red flag, and you should proceed with caution or walk away altogether.
Carfax provides vehicle history reports that identify suspected cases of odometer fraud. If a seller is unwilling to provide you with the information necessary for running a report, this should raise a significant concern.
States Struggling with Odometer Fraud
Among the ten states where Carfax has identified the highest instances of odometer fraud, an alarming nine reported an increase in cases during 2023.
This story was originally published on KBB.com.