How to detect odometer fraud on a vehicle

Nearly half a million cars a year are sold with tampered odometer readings, making them seem more valuable than they really are, and it's becoming a huge problem in Texas.

The Lone Star State ranks number two in the nation for vehicles with rolled back miles. Federal officials say this crime costs Americans across the country at least a billion dollars a year.

Carfax recently released a video that shows how easy it is for a mechanic to roll back a vehicle's mileage.

Using an electronic device that can be found on the internet, the car's miles went from more than 260,000 miles to 85,000 miles.

This raised the value of a 2007 Chevy Silverado by more than $8,000.

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In 2020 alone, it was estimated that more than 228,000 vehicles in Texas had tampered odometer readings.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said this kind of odometer fraud is hard to detect, but there are ways consumers can protect themselves.

Get the title before the sale and compare the mileage on the title to that of the odometer.

Then, look for the mileage written on oil change stickers on the windshield and vehicle inspection reports.

Wear and tear on the car's tires, seats and gas and brake pedals are other good indicators of how much a car has really been used.

A copy of a vehicle's history can also help you figure out if something is not right with a car that is advertised as having low mileage.

"What is alarming about it is just how quickly it can be done with a tool that costs a couple hundred dollars on the internet. So unfortunately we know there are conmen looking to make a quick buck out there. This is something, as a consumer, we have to protect ourselves and we should not be in this situation that we have to look out for, but we do," said Emilie Voss of Carfax.

Carfax has a free odometer check you can use on its website.

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