Yes, they are still rolling odometers back. The bad guys, that is. I get calls about it more often than you’d think. Modern technology has not helped and modern titles simply add to the confusion.
Remember the old odometers that “rolled over” at 100K? Ah, good times. I actually watched that happen on my 1969 Dodge Charger, probably late in 1979. I remember where it was - Woodward Ave near 8 Mile - but not the precise date.
Back then, shadetree mechanics knew that if they wanted to, they could pop the dash out of a car pretty easily and roll some miles off the clock to raise the car’s value. It was illegal but you never heard of anyone getting caught doing it.
Fast forward to now with the digital readouts and whatnot. You’d think it would be harder for this kind of shenanigans, but No. The good news is that in some ways, it is easier to prove once you figure it out. The various control modules on the cars often keep the information regarding mileage and very few fraudsters worry about that.
Many people also assume that since titles sometimes allow for things like “Exempt” mileage or “Exceeds Mechanical Limits,” it must not be illegal to roll an odometer back on a car where one of those boxes will be checked at sale. Again, No.
I explain it all in this week’s podcast. The audio:
And the video:
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Steve Lehto has been practicing law for 25 years, almost exclusively in consumer protection and Michigan lemon law. He wrote The Lemon Law Bible and Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow.
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