How to tell if your odometer has been rolled back – insider tips

It is always a question you ask when the perfect used car sitting in front of you……. is This to good to be true? Sometimes it is.

It’s not a good feeling when you make the grim discovery that your odometer has been tampered with afters you fork our thousands of your hard earned dollars on a car or truck.

Service History

the most crucial component in discovering potential odometer rollback is checking the vehicles service history either from service book or requesting what’s called a ‘service printout’ with the servicing dealership.

The lack of service history supplied from the dealer or private seller already raises a red flag on the car’s unknown history.

What you should also be checking is that if the vehicle has a service book, you need to make sure that its not a reprint or reproduction book with forged numbers.  Blank service books can commonly be purchased on the internet.

Older vehicles with rotary style odometer readings

If your are looking at a vehicle with a rotary style odometer gauge you will always need to ensure that the numbers are LINED UP CORRECTLY.

These old style gauges are very hard to lined back up within the gear mechanism and 9 times out of 10, they always never line up correctly.

Inspect the general wear and tear of the vehicle

OK.  So you have a vehicle with a full service history that has been confirmed by the dealership or servicing mechanic? that’s great.  the last part of your investigation is inspection of general wear and tear items that are commonly worn down with cars or truck with higher mileage;
  • Steering wheel material – worn leather or vinyl from skin oils/makeup 
  • Worn floor carpets, particularly around the pedals – from the driver’s heel digging into the carpet while driving 
  • Worn/cracked drivers seat – this includes cracked leather and worn material exposing some the of foam ​
  • ​Worn seat belts 

Have your car inspected by a professional

The final stage of your investigation will be to have a certified technician inspect the vehicle with speciality tools and computer scanning equipment to ensure that, in fact, the indicated mileage of the vehicle is correct.

Various cars and trucks have different measures or configurations, so some of the above points may not be applicable to your vehicle, however, its a good start.

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About the Author

Daniel is the founder of Double Chex Vehicle Inspections and proudly holds a Motor Vehicle Repairers licence, memberships with NSW Fair Trading and associated statutory bodies as required to complete independent vehicle inspections that are accepted across various industries nationwide.