Andrea Swalec

Protect Yourself From Odometer Fraud When Buying Used Cars

New data shows more than 26,000 vehicles in the D.C. region have had their odometers rolled back, and most drivers are unaware.

Not only is odometer fraud illegal, it could put you and your family in danger, and with an inexpensive electronic device, odometer fraud is easier than ever.

“It's certainly a concern for car buyers who are laying down thousands of dollars for these cars that may be worth half as much,” said Chris Basso of Carfax.

News4 found several cars for sale with potential for odometer rollbacks. Dealers said the mileage on the cars was exactly what the ads claimed. But after checking their Carfax reports, News4 found potential rollbacks of tens of thousands of miles.

News4 went undercover to a dealership and was told by a salesman the potential rollbacks were mistakes, including a 60,000-mile discrepancy.

The owner said the dealership doesn’t actually use Carfax reports, despite advertising it does. He said they use AutoCheck, and that report shows no odometer problems on the vehicle.

But there were no odometer readings reported at all between 2009 and 2018.

To protect yourself when used car shopping, ask the dealer for both reports. They should run them at no cost to you.

And be sure to have an independent mechanic inspect the vehicle.

It'll cost between $100 and $200, but that will buy you peace of mind and could save you thousands of dollars down the road.

If you suspect odometer fraud, contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles to investigate.

The rules are a little different for vehicles 10 old years or older.

Reported by Susan Hogan, produced by Meredith Royster and edited by Perkins Broussard.

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