Changing mileage on the odometer in the car is a federal crime, and not many people venture into that, yet, there’s always a chance that you buy a car with a fake mileage. Today, I’ll show you the most common signs or indications of fake mileage in the vehicle.
Most of them are obvious, but there are probably some signs you didn’t know exist, so make sure to read the whole article, especially if you are currently buying a used car.
With newer vehicles, mileage fraud can be done through OBD port only by using car diagnostics tools. For older vehicles, it’s done chiefly mechanically by taking the odometer out of the car and reversing it to the old mileage.
5 Signs of Fake Mileage In Car
To make it clear, if you spot some of these signs, it doesn’t have to mean that the odometer fraud is done. It’s just a good indication that you should do a more thorough check of a used vehicle. So, without further ado, let’s see what these signs are.
#1. The Mileage on The Vehicle Is Very Low
For younger vehicles, it’s a great thing that the mileage is low. However, if you’re in the market for some 1969 Mustang, there’s a low chance that the car only has like 50000 miles.
Of course, there will always be cars that just don’t have a lot of mileage, but if it’s too good to be true, that’s an indication that someone changed the mileage on the vehicle.
Also, if the car is a 10-year-old Mercedes S-class with extremely low mileage, that could be a sign of odometer fraud, too. People buy these cars to drive long distances, not to keep them in the garage (mostly).
So, if the mileage is suspicious, you should check for other signs of fake mileage and check the vehicle more thoroughly.
#2. Car Interior Is Worn Out
Worn-out car interior may be a sign of odometer fraud, too. If the car has only 50000 miles, and the interior (especially the steering wheel and seats) is completely worn out, it’s a significant indication of mileage fraud.
Some car manufacturers use low-quality materials for the interior, while others use high-quality and luxury interiors that’ll last for years. For instance, Mazda vehicles don’t have such a durable interior, and you can expect it to be worn out sooner than most German vehicles (Audi, VW, Porsche, etc.).
Worn-out interior doesn’t have to be a sign of a mileage rollback. Mostly, it’s a sign of neglecting a vehicle. Some people just don’t take care of their car and never clean and protect the interior of the car.
For instance, if you don’t regularly clean and maintain leather seats in your car, they’ll crack quickly. However, if the vehicle only has 20 or 30 thousand miles on the odometer and the seats are all worn out, it’s a sign of mileage fraud.
#3. The Chassis of The Car Is in Bad Condition
Well, this is mostly a sign of poor maintenance, such as never cleaning the undercarriage of the vehicle. However, if the car has low mileage on the odometer and the chassis is in extremely bad condition, it may be a sign that the mileage isn’t real on the vehicle.
Worn-out CV joints, squeaking noises from the chassis, and other weird noises or shakings from the vehicle may be signs of an inexperienced and careless driver. So, even some low-mileage cars may have many worn-out parts on the chassis. As I already told you, mostly it’s because of bad maintenance, but if it’s just one of more signs of fake mileage, you should be very careful.
#4. The Car Was Used As a Taxi
Even though most ex-taxi cars won’t have a fake mileage because the owners already earned a bunch of money on that car, if the mileage is extremely low, and you find out that it’s an ex-taxi car, it’s a good indication of the odometer fraud.
If you’re buying an imported car, especially a Mercedes E-class or similar larger limousine vehicles, you should check if they have ever been used as a taxi. I’ve personally seen some ex-taxi vehicles that have been extremely preserved, yet they had like 300 000 miles on the odometer.
The easiest way to check if a car was used as a taxi is to do a thorough VIN check of the vehicle. There are many programs for that, and they’re usually pretty cheap. I think it’s worth spending an extra $15 to do an additional check on the vehicle. Even if the mileage is genuine, maybe the car had an accident. So, it’s always worth checking the additional info through the VIN number.
#5. Odometer Has Been Taken Out In The Past
If you spot scratch marks, fingerprints under the display, loosened screws, and other similar signs around the odometer, it may be a sign that the odometer was taken out and that the mileage was rolled back. That’s especially important for older vehicles with analog odometers.
For newer vehicles, they don’t have to take out the odometer to rollback the mileage. So, it mostly won’t be the case.
However, as with any other car part, odometers may stop working too. So, maybe the guy just replaced an odometer with a new working one. However, the mileage should still be accurate. If the odometer is replaced, seek a receipt and look for the information when it was replaced, and what the mileage on the car was at that time.
Check These Things To Prevent Buying a Car With Fake Mileage
I won’t go long here, but here are some quick steps you should take whenever you’re buying a used car. These checks will remove all the doubts that the car mileage is fake.
Here are the things you should do:
- Check the car via VIN report service
- Connect the car to diagnostics. It should show the real mileage (high-quality or official car diagnostic tools need to be used)
- Check the vehicle documents (look for repairs, maintenance receipts, etc.)
- Visit a mechanic – they’ll quickly spot some mechanical signs of mileage fraud
- Check pedals, steering wheel, seats, and other interior parts – they shouldn’t be worn out if you’re buying a car with low mileage
Mostly, it’s easy to spot cars with fake mileage. By following the tips in this article, you’ll vastly reduce the chances of being a victim of a mileage rollback. So, make sure to follow the advice I gave you and buy from trusted dealers only.