Odometer fraud is a major problem in the United States. Odometer fraud occurs when illegal changes are made to the mileage shown on a used vehicle's title and odometer. This is usually done to mask high mileage on late-model used cars. Odometer fraud is a serious threat to used-car buyers that can cost thousands of dollars and lead to frustrating breakdowns and repairs, according to AAA.
Each year approximately 3 million used cars have their odometers rolled back an average of 30,000 miles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, odometer fraud throughout the country results in consumer losses of approximately four billion dollars annually.
A news release from AAA said the difference in the value of a vehicle with 30,000 miles and 70,000 miles is approximately $3,600. When increased finance, insurance and repair costs are added, the loss to a consumer who purchases a vehicle with an altered odometer can be more than $4,000.
Millions of vehicles receive new titles each year as they are sold at auction to wholesalers and dealers. Unscrupulous operators often commit fraud by recording lower mileage on the new title application, changing the odometer reading and cleaning the vehicle so its appearance matches the lower mileage reading. In many cases, the dealer selling the vehicle to the consumer may not be aware the odometer was altered by a wholesaler or at the auction.
To spot possible fraud, AAA urges motorists to have a thorough vehicle inspection performed by a qualified technician. An inspection can spot telltale signs of excessive mileage such as engine wear, emissions problems and suspension and steering component wear. Also, since original tires usually last up to 60,000 miles, new tires on a vehicle with an odometer showing 30,000 miles are a good reason to be wary.
Every vehicle subject to registration in Utah must be equipped with a properly functioning odometer. It is illegal to operate, or to cause to be operated, a motor vehicle in which the odometer is known to be disconnected or nonfunctional, except while taking the vehicle to a repair shop.
It is a class A misdemeanor to install on any motor vehicle a device that causes the odometer to register mileage other than the true mileage, or to knowingly sell any vehicle on which the odometer has been altered in this manner.
It is a third-degree felony to issue a false odometer statement, to disconnect, turn back, or reset the odometer of any motor vehicle, or to knowingly sell a vehicle on which the odometer has been altered in this manner.
At the time of the sale or transfer of any motor vehicle, the transferor is required to give the transferee a signed odometer mileage disclosure statement. Failure to provide such a statement, or violation of any rule concerning such a statement, is a Class B misdemeanor.
The transferee should acknowledge receipt of the statement by signing it and both the transferee and the transferor should keep a legible copy. The original odometer statement must be surrendered to the Motor Vehicle Division when the vehicle is titled and registered. Information contained in the odometer mileage disclosure statement includes the following:
If you need an Odometer Mileage Disclosure Statement, click here to use one provided by the DMV.
If the odometer needs to be repaired or replaced, the disclosure statement should read:
If the odometer is repaired or replaced and then reset to zero, the disclosure statement must specify the mileage on the vehicle before the reading was altered. A notice in writing, on a form available from MVED, specifying both the date the odometer was repaired or replaced and the mileage on the vehicle before this occurred, must be permanently affixed to the left door frame of the vehicle.
The mileage of a motor vehicle must be included on the vehicle's title and on the application for transfer of ownership, and will be printed on the new title certificate.
Odometer mileage disclosure statements do not need to be given for vehicles having a gross vehicle weight rating of 16,000 pounds or more, vehicles 10 years old or older, or vehicles sold directly by the manufacturer to any agency of the United States Government (41-1a-902 UCA).
Only vehicles that are not subject to registration and trailers (41-1a-901 UCA).
No. All signers are responsible for the certification of all information on the disclosure statement.
No, because all motor vehicle records are classified as "protected." See Privacy of Motor Vehicle Records for more information.
The Tax Commission's Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division will investigate to determine whether or not an odometer law has been violated. Your attorney can advise you on possible civil remedies. To register a complaint, follow this link.