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Speedometer Cluster: Is Seller Trying to Change Odometer?

Hi: I am interesting in bidding on a 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse with 74,000 miles on Ebay. However, I noticed the seller just purchased a “speedometer cluster” from someone else on Ebay, which has the odometer at 74,500. Should I be worried that the seller is trying to change out the odometer in the Eclipse he is selling?? Thanks for your help.

Well, it would sure raise a red flag for me. This kind of thing has been done countless times in the past. Someone with a 150k or 200k miles vehicle will change the cluster and palm the vehicle off as a much lower mileage one. Changing an Eclipse instrument cluster is a simple job anyway.

They usually try to justify it by saying the speeodmeter was bad, the gas gauge was faulty, or whatnot and the cluster was changed for that reason when the real reason was to claim lower mileage and get a better price.

You should use the “ask seller a question” feature and ask about this. It would be interesting to hear the response.
Congratulations to you for doing some homework up front before being had. :slight_smile:

Took a look at this eBay seller and he did indeed purchase a 74k miles cluster just about a week ago. Decided to go ahead and ask the seller about this in a roundabout way. It will be interesting to see what, if any, response is given.

EBay Motors is probably one of the most fraud-ridden areas on there so any vehicle transaction should be entered into very carefully. EBay also does their part to whitewash bad news no matter what it is.

Thanks a bunch, ok4450. I had a gut feeling there might be a possible problem. I appreciate you sending the email, too!

Another thing that would make me wary is that, in the pictures of the car the seller has provided, you’ll notice he took one of the speedometer cluster in the car…but not with the car running or with the ignition turned to “accessories”, so the odometer isn’t turned on/showing. Usually the whole point of taking a picture like that is to provide the odometer reading.

Will post back any response I get; if any. You’ve definitely done the right thing by doing some homework. Most people would have bid on the car and then discovered after the fact they’ve been snookered.

Well, that was quick. The response was that the cluster was changed to cure an inoperative tachometer. They also state they still have the old cluster for verification, for what that’s worth. That’s plausible anyway.

Here is another oddity though. The AutoChek report says this vehicle had 53k miles on it in November of 2003 and the seller says the cluster that came out of the car had 71k miles.
This means the seller only put 18k miles on it in 4 years and 4 months?
Drives it very little or has it been sitting at a body shop somewhere awaiting major repair and any litigation to be settled first. Who knows.

About all I can recommend is that you proceed with caution because with eBay’s “Buyer Protection Program” you will find that the cards are stacked against you and the chances of eBay paying off on a problem are near zero.

Don’t know what to say about the negative the seller has rec. in the past! :slight_smile:

Thanks, Riggyrow, for your input. I looked at that again, and saw that the photo had no mileage on it. UGH, another red flag. Appreciate it.

Good grief! Yet another red flag. Seller says in ad, that car has 74,500 miles on it. But in seller’s response to you, says 71k - hmmm. Plus your keen observation on the mileage: 53,785 miles in 2 years and 4 months, and yet only 20,700 miles in 4 years and 4 months. That definitely doesn’t add up. I’m not going to walk, but RUN from this one. Once again, thanks very much for your help on this! What a great site with helpful readers! Merci!

I believe I would back away from this one too. There are a lot of legitimate Eclipses out there with no question marks.
It just struck me as odd that a 2001 car got 53k miles put on it by the end of '03 and then the bottom fell out. There would have to be a real good explanation as to why the car was seldom used.

This thread reminds me of something my father told me. He worked at a Chevrolet dealership in NY back in the 60s. He said once a month a guy would come to the dealership asking if they had any odometers needing to be turned back. One of the managers would escort the guy through the lot saying “turn this one back 10K, this one back 20K, this one back 25K, etc”. It would take the guy just a few minutes per car, he wouldn’t let anyone watch him, and he got paid $5.00/car.

It’s not rocket science on mechanical odometers. When I replaced the speedometer on my car with a used unit, it took me about half an hour to reset the odometer (to the correct mileage). If I had to do it again, it would be quicker. I don’t know what it would take on electronic odometers.