How to know if the miles of a car are original?
A car may look good and sound good when revved up, but that doesn’t mean it’s in great condition and worth what they’re asking for it.
There are many factors that go into determining a car’s value, and the odometer reading is one of them.
Now, how do you know if the miles on a car are original? Keep reading, in this article we will explain it in detail.
Many people think that odometers reveal the whole truth about the miles a vehicle has traveled. Nothing could be further from the truth!
It turns out that these instruments can be manipulated so that their reading is lower than the actual mileage of the car.
But don’t worry, we will also tell you how to know the miles of a car even if its odometer has been altered.
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How to know if the miles of a car are original?
Many vehicle components can be altered. In the particular case of odometers, they can be rolled back to take hundreds or even thousands of miles or kilometers off the figure they show.
Unfortunately, this fraud is committed more than many people realize.
The odometer reading is very important to buyers, and knowing this, many people risk rolling back the odometer on their car in order to sell it for a better price or faster.
How to know if a car has lowered the miles? There are two types of odometers, mechanical and digital.
To find out if the number of miles indicated is correct or to detect any type of manipulation, follow the steps below.
1. How to know if the miles of a car are original when the odometer is mechanical
Preferably in your trusted workshop or with a car mechanic at home , check the following:
Speedometer cable. This part usually does not need to be replaced.
If there are obvious signs that the cable has been tampered with or replaced, you should ask the seller for the reason.
Dashboard. If you find evidence that the dashboard has been tampered with, you should ask the owner why, especially if it is a new vehicle.
Odometer numbers. Check the odometer numbers very well because when they are manipulated they can be crooked.
Condition of the timing belt and brake discs . These items will primarily show high mileage.
The belt is changed after 70-100 thousand kilometers, and grooves appear on the disks after about 30 thousand kilometers.
In most cases, its replacement is an expensive procedure, therefore it is often not carried out before the sale.
Suspension and chassis condition . The bottom of the car both suspension and chassis are usually an indicator of vehicle wear.
If this evidence does not visually match what the odometer indicates, you should ask the owner about his driving habits and the places where he usually uses the vehicle.
2. How to check the miles of a car when the odometer is digital
If you want to check the mileage of a car that has a digital odometer, the first thing you can do is visit a service station or car dealer where computer diagnostics are performed.
Scammers often use cheap equipment to hide real mileage.
What this type of software does is delete the data in the memory of the control unit but not of other modules, such as the brake system or the gearbox and transfer box control.
To detect evidence of tampering, a specialist simply connects your laptop to your computer and scans all systems. The program will show the signs of a counter reset.
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Why do some owners modify the mileage of their vehicles?
The reality is that the manipulation of the mileage of vehicles in the second-hand market is something that sometimes happens . Unscrupulous sellers do this for two reasons.
Make the car look “younger” . According to the requirements of most car manufacturers, once the car has driven about 70,000 miles, there is maintenance to be done that costs a lot of money.
Approaching this threshold, the car owner changes the mileage down to sell the old car for a newer price.
They make the car “older”. Sometimes car owners fraudulently add more miles to the odometer.
This is done to convince the buyer that the maintenance is punctual, since it is possible that he had to make some important repair before time, due to misuse of the car.
How to know the real mileage of a car?
If a car has had its miles lowered, there are a few ways to figure out what its actual mileage is or at least approximate.
1. Verification by computer means
The actual mileage of the car can be established by connecting to an electronic unit. To do this, you only need a laptop and a USB cable for OBD-2 download.
Once the connection is made, the control unit will give all the truthful information about the vehicle’s mileage.
If the person who tampered with the car’s mileage deleted the data, you can access the crash and error system. In many cars, this data is recorded along with the mileage.
This data may also not be available if all related data has been deleted from the vehicle’s computer.
2. MOT (Ministry of Transport Test) certificates
A good way to know the approximate mileage of a car is through the vehicle’s MOT inspection certificates.
These reports are delivered to certify that the vehicle meets the minimum requirements for driving on the street.
This means that to obtain this MOT certificate, the car must meet certain requirements in terms of environmental and road safety standards.
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3. Service history
Another way to check a car’s miles is through its service history.
Normally, the vehicles have a history or documents corresponding to the maintenance of the same, where the date and the miles that it has at the time of carrying out the service are indicated.
This history can also be manipulated, so if you have doubts about it, there is something you can do. When you check the service history, look at the names of the mechanics or the shop.
Once you’ve identified the dealer or mechanic, you can contact them to confirm if they’ve serviced the car you’re interested in.
You can also check copies of your logs to compare the mileage to the service history report .
4. Test drive
It is necessary to test a car very well before buying it. Ideally, you should try to drive several cars of the same model that you want to buy.
This will give you a better idea of how the car should feel and sound. When testing other cars, you should pay special attention to those with higher mileage.
Stay alert and try to listen for unusual noises such as rattles, clicks and groans as these sounds show worn car components.
If the car you’re buying has lower mileage than the models you’ve tested, it shouldn’t make any of these sounds.
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Crime for altering vehicle mileage
Under 49 USC § 32703 of the transportation code, the federal government considers it a felony to:
Offering for sale, selling, using, installing, or causing to be installed a device that causes a motor vehicle’s odometer to record a different mileage than the vehicle has been driven;
Disconnecting, resetting, altering or causing to be disconnected, resetting or altering a motor vehicle odometer with the intent to change the miles recorded thereon with the intent to defraud,
driving a motor vehicle on a street, highway or expressway if the person knows that the vehicle’s odometer is off or not working.
Those who tamper with or set back a car’s odometers also often tamper with or falsify the title and other documents that contain vehicle mileage information.
Misrepresentations about an automobile’s mileage are separate crimes under federal law and often accompany charges of odometer tampering.
Civil and criminal penalties for odometer fraud
Conviction penalties for federal odometer fraud charges can be expensive and severe.
(49 US Code § 32709). Civil penalties can include fines of up to $10,000 for each violation, with each odometer tampering constituting a separate violation.
You can also be sued by anyone who was defrauded by the odometer or altered documents, with potential damages being three times the amount of actual damages or $10,000, whichever is greater.
( 49 U.S. Code § 32710 ).
Additionally, if you have knowingly and willfully participated in odometer fraud, you can be sentenced to up to three years in federal prison.