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Possible odometer fraud

We went out and bought a used 2006 Kia Sorento. It’s a nice looking, good running SUV. When we brought it to our mechanic for state inspection he brought to our attention that the odometer may have been tampered with. It read 120,006 miles when we picked it up but has a fair (but still safe) amount of underbody rust as a 14yr old NY car would. Carfax is clean and NY state doesnt report odometer readings on vehicles older than 10 years. So my question is, is there any way I can tell if the odometer has been tampered with aside from what I’ve already looked into? Thanks!

What made the mechanic suspect odometer tampering?

Contact your state DMV or the state police and tell them what your mechanic said. If someone tampered with the odometer, it would be better for the state to investigate and deal with it if it’s true.

Get real. The state is only going to investigate such allegations when the dollar amount of the alleged fraud is significant. For the vehicle in question, rolling back the odometer is unlikely to add more than a few hundred dollars (at best) to its value. Hence why I doubt it even happened.

I am not familiar with your car, but many cars have the odometer reading stored in its ECM. You might be able to retrieve it. A long shot since I don’t know where and how the odometer gets its reading from. You could also review the carfax report and if any entries (dates and mileage) make sense.

The mileage seems to me reasonable for a 14 year old car. I wonder what made your mechanic say that it was tampered with.

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If the carfax is showing any service history, you can go to the shop and see what the mileage was at the time. Might be best not to tell them what you are looking for, just a casual check in to see if you are due for any services.

:woman_facepalming: I forgot to mention it in the original post.

The old inspection sticker had a odometer reading of 238k miles, my mechanic only noticed it once he peeled the old tag off. It was previously inspected in January of this year, so accounting for some driving it should be sitting at around 240k miles. To be honest though, that kind of mileage almost seems to high.

I’m just looking to get a accurate odometer reading, we only payed $2,800 for the thing, it runs well and is safe.

With previously owned (used) cars, especially older ones, like this one, condition of the vehicle is the most important aspect to consider when purchasing, not necessarily miles. A car with too few miles can be bad and one with too many can be bad, but it is still condition of the vehicle that is most important.

I buy and drive older cars, usually from individuals. Aside from being attracted by advertised miles, I am always afforded the opportunity to inspect them and I can be seen on the ground, front, back, both sides, under the hood, looking and probing for condition issues.

I know quite a bit about checking out used cars and usually wear out my welcome at the sellers location before deciding on a purchase. Sometimes they mind my thoroughness, sometimes they don’t, and I never mind them caring one way or another. If I can’t get a good check I walk away.

For folks not all that vehicle inspection savvy, they should probably either not buy used cars OR at least have a used vehicle inspected by a competent, trusted mechanic PRIOR to purchase, not AFTER purchase. It could result in less drama, as in this instance, and lead to a wonderful car purchase or be some money “wasted” (actually, well spent) when problems are discovered.

I was living winters in road salt country and I think it’s not that unusual for road salt to pretty much digest a 14 model-year-old vehicle. For sure, that must be checked before purchase.

Anyhow, if the car runs well, looks okay, drives okay, drive it. Keep having inspections and when it comes time when the rust has had its way with it and it becomes unsafe then stop driving it. Attach the license plates to another car. Every car has this day, some sooner than others.

Hopefully it will work out okay. If not then it was money invested in a valuable education on the road to becoming more used car savvy, in time for the next purchase. Continue saving for that time and enjoy the time you two have together motoring along. Happy motoring!
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

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It is not easy to alter, here is a pretty good explanation.

Without destroying the data in the “head” unit of the odometer, it is extremely hard to alter. Security in the storage medium is extreme. This is because of the communication procedures and encryption of the data contained in the chips of the speedometer unit. If anyone tries to alter the data contained within these chips, the data is lost and sets a code in the ECM that cannot be reset. These are also tied to the anti-theft devices on board.

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Just drive the thing and use it till it dies . Even if you find the actual mileage it will not make the vehicle run any better or last longer. 2800.00 , not worth the trouble.

My guess is that its possible that the whole guage cluster was replaced at some point because of a malfunction.Happened with my Corolla a long time ago.
There should be an invoice showing its replacement date and milage.The seller probably did not show you that because he could sell his vehicule at a higher price.Odometer on a new guage cluster always show 0 miles.

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+1 Most good scanners can retrieve this information.


If that were true, states will never investigate any sort of automobile fraud because the only evidence may be the one car they have in front of them. OTOH, there may have been other complaints for this dealer. I’ll guarantee that nothing will happen if the OP does not report it. If they do, the perps might be called to task for it. IMO, it doesn’t hurt to try.

Thanks y’all! I’ll borrow my friends computer and see what that has to say.

NY state will investigate dealerships for odometer fraud but not private sellers on the account that they use the term “as is” in most bill of sales. That relinquishes all responsibility on the sellers end.

First of all, odometer tampering is a Federal, rather than state crime. Secondly, where there is a state crime, the various district attorneys in my state ( NJ) can, and do, set monetary thresholds for what they will investigate.

You don’t alter the the OD…you replace it.