Odometer fraud cases rise as cars become more digital
North Carolina ranks 11th in the country for odometer fraud.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As cars get more digital, it’s getting easier for scammers to roll back odometers, making a less desirable car suddenly look like a great deal.
“Conmen are certainly looking to cash in on this unprecedented market and make a quick buck where they can,” said Emilie Voss, public relations director for CarFax.
According to CarFax, North Carolina has 42,000 cars with rolled-back odometers on the road -- ranking 11th in the country.
“It’s something that has to be on your radar when you are used car shopping,” said Voss.
Technology, once costing thousands of dollars and used to set odometers when replacing dashboard clusters -- can now be found on Amazon for just a couple hundred bucks.
Just plug it into the dash, set the odometer to anything you want, and in seconds, take more than 100,000 miles off a car.
“They can easily, in a matter of minutes, can change the mileage on the car and change the value of the car by thousands of dollars.”
Voss recommends doing two things to make sure you’re getting a reliable vehicle: First, run a free CarFax report to make sure the mileage on your car matches previous reports.
And second: Take it to an independent mechanic to get it checked out.
“That’s what we’re here for to make sure all of that stuff works.”
Todd Compton is a seasoned mechanic and president of Compton Automotive.
He says there are a few things you can look for while on a car lot to make sure the vehicle you’re driving away with is up to snuff.
First, look for wear and tear that seem out of place.
“So a couple of places we see rust is the rear shocks, you’ll see it up here in the bolts up around here. Cars with low mileage will likely have less rust,” he said.
Also, check to see if the steering wheel or pedals have a lot of wea
“If you see a car with really low mileage on it but some of the brake pedals is wore down it might be kind of a red flag there,” Compton said.
Finally, trust your gut. A car that seems too good to be true probably is.
“It’s just going to save you heartache down the road,” said Voss.
You can check a car’s odometer history completely for free using the CarFax odometer check here.
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