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Odometer Rollback Check | How to check if mileage is genuine

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Odometer Rollback Check | How to check if mileage is genuine

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Odometer Fraud Check

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During the past couple of decades, digital odometers have taken over the car market not only to change the aesthetics but also to prevent odometer rollbacks. However, crooks, either dealerships or individuals, still manage to find a way to edit odometer readings to fake the mileage. Namely, a vehicle’s mileage can be tampered with to represent the actual mileage to the buyer falsely. If you fail to detect it, you’ll most likely be overpaying for a vehicle.

Having known that odometer rollbacks occur and that odometer reading is an important factor in determining a vehicle’s worth, you should learn how not to get tricked into buying a vehicle for an inflated price. And we’re here to help.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through how to steer clear of the odometer fraud when shopping for a used vehicle.

How to check if the odometer has been rolled back

Method 1: Do a VIN check

To check the mileage accuracy, one easy and hassle-free way is to get the full vehicle history report at different time points by doing a VIN lookup, which helps you go from confused to well-informed in a matter of minutes. It’s a tool with which you can find information about a vehicle, including unreported damages, ownership history, mileage accuracy, document photos, and safety and maintenance recalls. With this sort of information, you can make sound decisions on your car purchase.

Before going any further, let us explain what a VIN is.

What’s a VIN?

A vehicle identification number, or VIN, is a 17-digit unique identifier assigned to a vehicle by the manufacturer, which doesn’t change over time. It contains important information about the basics of the vehicle, including the manufacturer, model, make, year of manufacturing, country of manufacturing, engine size, type of vehicle, serial number, and more.

Then how to find the VIN?

Where to find the VIN number on a car?

Depending on the vehicle type, the VIN can be found in different parts of your vehicle. Usually, it’s visible from outside the vehicle, stamped on a plate on the driver-side dashboard, near where it meets the windshield. Or you can find it on the driver-side door jam.

Now you’ve got to know the VIN, you’ll wonder how to decode it.

Take the number 1FT BE673 ETR678452 as an example. It can be further broken down into three sections:

  • The world manufacturer identifier (the first three digits):
    indicating where the vehicle was built and what type of vehicle it is
  • The vehicle description section (the next five characters):
    breaks down the vehicle’s brand, engine size, and type
  • The vehicle identifier section (the final nine characters):

For more details, check the image below.

Now here comes the essential part – how to conduct a VIN search. We would like to introduce you to two tools to do this, EpicVIN and Bumper. They compile reliable, regularly updated information from NMVTIS (National Motor Vehicle Title Information System), JD Power, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), and many other top industry leader data sources, including government agencies, insurance providers, and car industry partners.

EpicVIN and Bumper are both paid services. But bear in mind that if you miss some information about a car’s history, you’ll feel stressed about the unnecessary expenses in repairs after you purchase the car. While spending a fraction of the repair cost on having a vehicle history report can save you trouble.

Option 1: VIN check with EpicVIN

With years of data expertise and more than 100 million searches performed, EpicVIN is your go-to source for public records on vehicles and beyond. With its VIN search tool, you don’t have to rely solely on the seller’s word about a vehicle as your only source of information.

To run a VIN check, follow the simple step-by-step guide below.

1) Go to EpicVIN’s Search page. Feed in the VIN. Then click SEARCH.

2) Wait for it to scan the database for the most up-to-date vehicle information. Then you should get a detailed report which may contain valuable information.

Option 2: VIN check with Bumper

Searching through millions of data points, Bumper was built in an effort to provide the most accurate, up-to-date information on a vehicle to make your purchase easier. Running a search on Bumper may give you access to comprehensive vehicle history reports which are user-friendly and easy to navigate. Below are the steps you can take.

1) Visit Bumper’s VIN Number Search page. Enter the VIN number into the search box and click SEARCH.

2) Wait for Bumper to search its database. Once it finds your match, you should be given access to its comprehensive report. Just open the report and locate the section that displays the information essential for you.

Method 2: Look for some clues

Some sellers or individuals will indulge in illegal practices of rolling back odometers to make it appear that the vehicle has lower mileage than it actually does. But there should be evident physical tampering. If the odometer has been tampered with, you may notice that the numbers are slightly crooked, or have uneven spacing, or are difficult to read in any way. Additionally, you should check if the wear and tear matches the odometer reading. These say a lot about the condition of a vehicle.

Method 3: Check the documents

When buying a used car, you should request the original documents and take some time to go through each of them. If there are any inconsistencies in mileage readings, be cautious. Something is amiss.

Method 4: Ask for a professional’s help

Buying a car can be a big ordeal, especially when there’s an increase in fraudulent used car sales and you may find it difficult to spot the frauds. That’s when professionals can help. They can inspect whether the odometer was messed with. They can also tell you if the vehicle is internally in good condition.

Understanding the tricks to odometer tampering

  1. Digital Manipulation Tactics: Even with the shift to digital odometers, fraudsters employ savvy techniques such as circuit board manipulation and specialized software to tamper with readings, hoodwinking potential buyers.
  2. Consequences of Buying a Tampered Vehicle:
    • Financial Pitfalls: Odometer fraud can lead to overpaying for a vehicle since its perceived value is based on doctored mileage.
    • Hidden Issues: Purchasing a vehicle with manipulated mileage might mean missing potential mechanical problems that should be evident with accurate mileage.
    • Voided Warranties: Warranties tied to mileage could become void, leaving the buyer with unexpected repair costs.

That’s it – the full guide to spot odometer fraud and protect against it. Hope you found it useful!

To avoid falling victim to fraud and have peace of mind, you should bear in mind the inspections discussed in the video below.

exclamation-blueThere’s no guarantee you’ll find the information you’re looking for with the tools discussed in this article. They all source their information from publicly available data sources, such as county, state and federal courts, government departments, and police records, and those sources may contain incorrect or incomplete data. It’s illegal to use these tools to make decisions about employment, admission, consumer credit, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance. Read the Fair Credit Reporting Act to learn more....

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Sammi Liu

Writer

Greetings! I'm Sammi, and my journey as a content writer began right after graduation. While my initial academic focus was in Public Finance, I later pursued a major in English Literature. This diverse educational background has equipped me with a unique skill set that combines analytical thinking with a passion for creative expression.

My career path has led me to become a proficient content writer with a keen eye for research. Intensive training in Microsoft Office, coupled with a natural curiosity, has allowed me to incorporate design principles and advanced internet search techniques into my work seamlessly.

What truly sets me apart is my knack for research. I've dedicated time to mastering advanced internet search techniques, inspired by countless articles and video tutorials on the subject. This has transformed me into a seasoned researcher, skilled at uncovering reliable and valuable information.

In addition to my professional pursuits, I'm a tech enthusiast who stays current with the latest trends through YouTube. Listening to podcasts of various genres has been a hobby of mine, especially in every morning. I balance my professional life with an active one, enjoying badminton, table tennis, tennis, and yoga. On weekends, you'll find me lost in the pages of books in the local library or soaking in the beauty of nature on bike rides. I'm also passionate about culinary arts, frequently experimenting with recipes and crafting delightful beverages like smoothies.

About this article

round-success 35 Revisions

file-success Reviewed by BeenVerified

Sammi Liu

Writer

Greetings! I'm Sammi, and my journey as a content writer began right after graduation. While my initial academic focus was in Public Finance, I later pursued a major in English Literature. This diverse educational background has equipped me with a unique skill set that combines analytical thinking with a passion for creative expression. My career path has led me to become a proficient content writer with a keen ey [...]

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