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Odometer inconsistency in car I'm considering purchasing

I am looking for a car for my college-age daughter. I found a 2002 Jetta GLX that shows 67,000 miles on it. When I pull up the Carfax report on it, the mileage is not consistent. In the spring of 2010 the mileage was reported as 159,000.

Then in the fall of 2010 the mileage was reported by YBH Audi Sales & Service, Inc., Edgemont, PA as 130,903.

In December of 2011 the mileage is reported by Pep Boys in West Chester PA as 64,000. How does that change?

Do I assume fraud and not purchase the car?

I think you need to assume the car has about 167,000 on it. Doesn’t it have the extra digit or are people just missing it. Pep Boys? You mean like when they serviced it? I wouldn’t rely on the Pep boys for much.

You have to stop and forget buying it. If there is any doubt, go on to the next one. You just found out about everything that says STOP.

My rule when buying a used car is that ANY red flag gets the car dropped from my list. I have heard so many bogus stories that I am tire, so I don’t bother ask. This ODO inconsistency seems to be real, not a single clerical error-move on.

Yeah as others have said, it looks bad for this car. The only way it would still be on my list would be if the seller gives you service records that prove carfax wrong.

Forget this car. You don’t need an explanation for the mileage difference, something is fishy. I’d report your findings to a police agency and let them investigate possible fraud. Then keep looking for another car. I’d also not recommend any VW that is 10 years old, you will find it to likely be a money pit. VW, Audi, Volvo, are all money pits at 10 years old.

How many red flags do you need before you decide this is not the vehicle for you. I will add a couple more for you…Red Flag…Red Flag. In addition, a 2002 Jetta with even 67,000 miles should make you stop the deal.

Normally I’d simply say to ignore Carfax, whose data is far too often erroneous, and look for other sighns. But since you’ve been diligent enough to get a second source that is also inconsistant and should be reliable (a franchised dealer would have no reason to fudge the records), I agree that it’s a huge red-flag.

If you do decide to buy, get the car checked out thoroughly, accept that you’re taking a risk, and hevaily discount the price you’re willing to pay to compensate for the risk. Especially since Jettas have a tendency to get bouhgt by young kids who beat the tar out of them, don;t properly maintain them, and do who knows what else to them.

Personally, I’d keep looking. I wouldn’t even consider this car.

Anyway to tell if the odometer has been tampered with?

Too many red flags. Move on. Why waste your time.

Exactly!
Why waste any additional time, effort, and expense on a car with multiple red flags?

Used cars are like commuter buses.
If you miss out on one, another one will come along shortly.
And, hopefully the next one will not have as many red flags as this one!

I wouldn’t take a chance no matter how much I liked it. Not worth the risk to find out afterwards you’ve been took.

I’d stay away from this car, but it should be reported so hopefully the guilty party can be caught and prosecuted for odometer tampering. Report it to your state attorney generals office.

Thanks everyone! I appreciate it. I especially appreciate knowing where to report the problem. I think the guy that’s selling it now is clean, but didn’t run the carfax on it.

What about a 2000 Mazda 626? It’s only $3500 and has 75,000 on it (verified by carfax). One owner. Am I looking at transmission problems soon? I really only need to get two years out of it.

Whether it will have transmission problems is a function of how it was cared for. The transmission oil may not have been changed yet. If not it is overdue. Still, this may not kill it in two years. Take it out for a long test drive , including merging onto a highway. Floor it when you start the merge to see how the transmission responds. There were transmission problems through 1999, but they seem to have been solved in 2000.

If it is a loaded ES V6 with auto transmission, it is a reasonable price. Before you buy it, take it to a mechanic you trust and have a pre-purchase inspection. Subtract the price of anything found from the $3500.

How many digits on the odometer?

I checked an old Consumer Reports and the 626 was average to above average reliability that year. I have a 2001 MPV and the trans is going strong at 172K. Doubt my transaxle is the same as this one’s, but this gives you some comparison.

Check what a good asking price is by checking edmunds.com, nadaguides.com and KBB.com to establish what you purchasing price should be.

One caution: these model years Mazda did not include ATF and filter change in their maintenance schedule, so I would check the ATF fluid condition carefully, as well as overall trans operation.

Go for the Mazda…The tranny becomes problematic at 100K miles like most FWD cars…But some go 150K or even more if they get a fluid change once in a while…

VW Jetta: The odometer has the leading zero. It clearly says 067,XXX. My husband has contacted the places that reported the lesser milages. He’s good at this sort of thing, so I’ll let you all know the results. I am thrilled at the response. It’s so good to know that I can get the truth here.

Thanks for the advice on the Mazda. When I test drove it, it seemed to stay in first gear longer than I thought it should have and then when it shifted to second, it was very noticeable. Will definitely take it to a mechanic before purchase. BUT I’m currently driving a Camry Hybrid, so I could be sensitive to gears changing since I don’t have that with the hybrid. LOVE THE HYBRID!