How To Avoid Purchasing a Used Car With an Odometer Rollback

Purchasing a used vehicle is an excellent way to save money. A used car, on the other hand, may contain hidden dangers. Most people believe that a vehicle’s odometer will show every kilometre it has ever travelled; however, this isn’t always the case.

When purchasing a used car, one of the most important value factors to consider is the odometer reading. As a general rule, a car with fewer kilometres has a potentially longer lifespan than a car with more kilometres. Australians now drive an average of 19200 kilometres per year. So, a used car with “average mileage” that is about five years old has been driven approximately 96000 km.

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.


 

Advantages of low-mileage used cars

In theory, the lower the odometer reading, the longer the engine and most vehicle components should last. When the car’s odometer reaches six figures, oil leaks may begin to appear, as well as the eventual wear out of some critical and expensive parts, such as the timing belt.

Low km cars are generally more appealing to buyers because there is perceived value in an older car with lower than average km’s, implying an easier resell with more interested buyers.

While scheduled maintenance can be costly, general ongoing repairs and maintenance costs can be lower in vehicles that have less wear and tear due to extensive use. This is probably the most significant advantage of purchasing a low-kilometre used car. Nothing is worse than having a car that requires expensive repair after expensive repair due to heavy use over its lifetime.

How can I tell if the odometer on a vehicle has been wound back?

A physical inspection alone can make it difficult to determine whether a vehicle’s odometer has been tampered with. There are, however, some checks you can perform:

– Check to see if the vehicle has its original parts, such as tyres and brakes, if it has very low mileage.
– Examine the overall condition of the vehicle, including wear and tear on the accelerator and brake pedals.
– Compare the vehicle’s odometer reading to any inspection or maintenance records available to the current owner.
– Check the original export/deregistration certificate or obtain a copy from a third party if you’re buying an imported vehicle from Japan.
– Look for crooked, widely spaced, or misaligned numbers on the odometer.
– Check that all of the screws are the same size and that the dashboard has not been removed or replaced.
– Carry out a CARHISTORY or at least Google search on the registration/VIN and see it shows up with varying km or prior sales/auction history with greater km recorded.

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The image above indicates that the car’s odometer show 181758km in March 2018

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But in 3,5 years later, in October 2021, the odometer show 160861km.

 

After you’ve completed a physical appraisal of the vehicle of interest, have it inspected by a licensed motor vehicle mechanic.

Examine the distance travelled

A car typically travels 15,000 kilometres per year over the course of its life. Many people sell their car when it is six years old because buyers are often put off by purchasing a vehicle that has travelled more than 100,000 kilometres since new.

So, if the car is seven years old but the odometer shows less than 50000 kilometres, that should raise red flags. That’s about 7000km per year, which is on the low end of the likely range. You should ask the buyer why the odometer reading is so low after all that time. For a variety of reasons, the buyer’s explanation could be perfectly reasonable. Perhaps the car has only ever been driven to the next suburb for shopping, school, or work.

Examine the vehicle’s logbook

Examine the dates and odometer readings for each service. The logbook could have been tampered with. Look for dates that appear to have been overwritten or kilometres with digits that appear to have been erased. Check to make sure
the VIN in the service book looks legitimate and matches the car. Work your way through the list of scheduled services, calculating whether they’re about a year apart on average, and checking the odometer reading on each occasion. If the car only travels 7000km or some other low number between services, it is most likely a genuine low-kilometre vehicle. Check to make sure there are no pages missing.

 

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The images above indicate that there were 2 pages missing, pages 19 and 20.

Typically, service technicians will place a reminder sticker on the top of the windshield to remind the driver when the next service is due. It’s also worth double-checking that this corresponds to the logbook.

Examine the wear and tear

If the vehicle is older but hasn’t travelled far, unusual wear and tear could be a sign that the odometer has been rolled back. Because you’re inspecting other vehicles of the same type, you’ll quickly get a sense of what’s normal wear and tear – the seating, for example, seat belts, carpets, the steering wheel, and frequently used buttons.

The condition of a used car

A used car with 20000 km that has been driven on rough roads will be very different from a used car with 20000 km that has been driven on good city roads. A car’s geographical location can also have an impact on its condition. Potential used car buyers should look for the following features:

– Steering and braking
– Engine and transmission
– Rust indications
– Emissions
– Suspension
– Leaks of oil and other substances
– Acceleration power and pick-up
– Air filters, valves, and so on.

Obtain a vehicle history report as well as an inspection

If the car you want to buy appears to have had a rough life, and the owner doesn’t have a credible explanation for the unusually low odometer reading. Having a mechanic inspect the vehicle through a company will also likely reveal any flaws.

Having a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle will help to reduce the risk of purchasing a car with an odometer that has been rollback. You can also help to ensure that your future vehicle does not have any hidden issues by researching its reported history.

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

Source: carhistory.com.au, help.carsales.com.au and mrwheels.com.au