According to new research by, odometer fraud affects almost 200,000 used cars annually. Learn how to spot odometer fraud, and avoid wasting your hard earned cash.

Could You be the Victim of Odometer Fraud?

Even though rolling back a car's odometer is illegal, many unscrupulous private sellers do it to get more for the cars than they're worth. Not only does this mean you'll spend too much on the car, it could also mean that you could have to shell out additional money on repairs sooner than you expect. Here at, we want to help you save money and get the best deal possible on a used car.

Spotting Odometer Fraud

Odometer fraud can be difficult to spot, especially on newer vehicles with digital odometers. The fact that vehicles more than 10 years old are not required to have mileage listed on the title makes things even more difficult. In order to protect yourself, follow these tips:

  • Obtain a vehicle history report. This could alert you to discrepancies.
  • Ask for maintenance records. These should have the date and the mileage on them.
  • Look for missing screws on the dashboard. Missing screws can be a sign of tampering.
  • Make sure that the numbers are aligned on the odometer of older cars. Crooked numbers are another clue that the odometer has been messed around with.
  • Look closely at digital odometers for anything that looks odd. Some will have an asterisk if the mileage has been changed.
  • Be wary of vehicles that show less than 12,000 miles per year on the odometer. That is the average driven in the United States.
  • Examine the wear on the gas, clutch and brake pedals. Worn pedals could mean that the vehicle has more miles on it than suggested.
  • Check the depth on the tire tread. You can do this using a penny turned upside down. Abraham Lincoln's head will be partially covered if the tires are newer.
  • Have a mechanic inspect the car, including the computer. He will be able to tell if there are newer parts on the car.

If you, or a mechanic, spot anything indicating that the mileage implied by the odometer doesn't match the actual mileage on the car, you probably want to walk away from the deal. You should also report suspected odometer tampering to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at [email protected]. This could help keep other people from falling victim to the same scam.

As We See It

Odometer clocking is a serious problem that affects thousands of used car buyers every year. Keep yourself safe by following the tips above, or by purchasing your next car through one of our local used car dealerships. All of the dealerships in our network are committed to getting you into a quality car, truck or SUV at an affordable price.

If you're ready to get started, Auto Credit Express is here to help. Even if you have a history of bad credit, no credit or bankruptcy, our lenders can get you into the car that you deserve. Apply today to see how much you could be approved for.