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CBS 5 Advocate

Some vehicles sold as brand new come with high mileage


A Gilbert man says he bought a Chevy truck brand-new, but it had more than 2,300 miles on it and he is now wondering how a new vehicle might seem used.

Here is the most important thing you need to know about the starting mileage on a new vehicle. In Arizona, vehicles are considered new until they have been titled for the first time. And a vehicle may go through a lot of potential owners before it ends up with you.

"If the price was right, I was probably going to be okay with it," Bill Rowe said.

There was already 2,341 miles on Rowe's 2012 Chevy Silverado when he test drove it last year. Brown & Brown Chevrolet in Mesa was selling the truck as new.

"I asked the salesman about it and he told me that the truck had been there for about a year and that it had been test-driven a lot," Rowe said.

Rowe acknowledged the truck's miles and bought it. Later that day, when he opened the glove box, he found a rental agreement inside.

"I just bought a rental, I didn't buy a new truck. I bought a truck that had been rented, who knows how many times with 2,341 miles on it," Rowe said.

Rowe says Brown & Brown assured him the vehicle was not a rental, so he wanted an explanation on why the miles were so high.

"He explained that vehicles in Arizona are considered new until they're titled, so that's where he got the nomenclature, if you will, of the truck as being new," Rowe said.

The type of rental agreement Rowe refers to is typically used when dealers allow a prospective buyer to take a new vehicle for a couple days to see how it feels at home. But if a new vehicle has high miles, it's most likely because somebody bought it and the financing fell through.

Vehicles are not titled until the buyer's financing is approved. That means, the prospective buyer can drive a vehicle for a month or more before the dealer tells them they have to bring it back.

"You could be the second, third, fourth, fifth, who knows how many hands it goes through before someone actually qualifies and purchases the vehicle," Rowe said.

Bottom line: That brand-new vehicle sitting in your garage today could have been sold three other times to people who drove it awhile before they were notified their financing fell through.

It's perfectly legal for dealers to sell that car to you as brand-new because it was never titled.

If you see high miles on a new vehicle, ask about previous buyers - the dealer should give you a straight answer, and if you really like the vehicle, the high miles are a good reason to try and negotiate a better deal.

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