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Confirm the Odometer Reading is Accurate When You Buy A Used Car

Since used cars have surged in popularity and price, the incidence of odometer tampering has also increased. Odometer fraud has become so rampant that the Iowa Department of Transportation has updated the rules for odometer disclosure statements in the sale of vehicles to align with federal changes starting with the new year.

Effective January 2021, the odometer mileage of any car or truck that is 2011 or newer must be disclosed when sold or transferred. The change applies to all transfers of vehicles, including sale by a dealer, private sale, or vehicles received through gift or inheritance until 2031. Vehicles 2010 and older will continue to be exempt from federal odometer disclosure requirements.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with false odometer readings. Odometer fraud costs Americans more than $1 billion every year.

Odometer fraud is not new; in fact, auto experts say it is even easier to rollback an odometer reading in this digital age. With the right equipment, fraudsters can remove a vehicle’s circuit board and enter a new number. CARFAX says the number of vehicles on the road with a rolled-back odometer increased by 13 percent in 2019.

The odometer reading of a used car is of major importance to car shoppers. The lower the mileage of a vehicle, the more assurance they have that the vehicle will last longer. Rolling back a vehicle’s odometer will therefore increase the value of a used vehicle.

Consumers who purchase a used vehicle with a false odometer reading are overpaying for the vehicle. Moreover, they may encounter steep repair bills down the road since they are not aware that the used car that they purchased has actually experienced more wear and tear than they expected. This can also impact their safety.

A fraudulent odometer reading could likewise impact the owner’s car insurance policy premium and warranty. If the vehicle was financed, a false odometer reading could change the interest rate on the car loan.
Before purchasing a used vehicle, the NHTSA suggests comparing the mileage on the vehicle’s odometer with the mileage on its title and maintenance or inspection records. Check to see if the wear and tear on the tires, brake, clutch pedals are appropriate with the odometer reading. Request a vehicle history report or use the car’s VIN to order a vehicle history report online. To help protect consumers, CARFAX offers a free Odometer Fraud Check tool and tips to protect yourself at  www.carfax.com/odo.
Odometer fraud violates both federal and state law. If you believe the vehicle's odometer has been tampered with contact the Iowa Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, 1305 E. Walnut, Des Moines IA 50319. Call 515-281-5926, send e-mail to [email protected], or see web site at www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.org.

When in the market for a used car, stop by Carousel Preowned.  Carousel Preowned serving Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, North Liberty, Marion, and Coralville, IA, is proud to be an automotive leader in our community. We do our best to ensure your complete satisfaction every time you step into our car dealership. This is why we offer the widest selection of used and pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs and provide true ease of purchase in Iowa.