ASK RACQ: How do I know if an odometer has been tampered with?

After a Gold Coast car dealer was fined for making false and misleading representations about car mileage, we’ve been asked how to know if an odometer has been tampered with.

ANSWER: Tampering with odometers to make them show a false reading is illegal and criminal charges can be laid. Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading investigates such complaints and will prosecute offenders, if they can be identified.

When purchasing a used vehicle, there are few things to remember:

  • Never rely on the odometer as a gauge of vehicle condition
  • A vehicle with a genuinely low odometer reading can still be in poor condition if it has been subjected to hard use
  • There is no substitute for an independent vehicle inspection to determine a vehicle’s overall condition
  • Wherever possible compare the vehicle’s odometer reading against any available records. These can include documents such as safety certificates, previous sales contracts or service records
  • Also check the vehicle through the Personal Properties Securities Register, which may contain pertinent information (a PPSR search costs less than $5.00 online)
  • Report any odometer tampering to the Office of Fair Trading for investigation. Visit the Queensland Government website or call 13QGOV.

Find more information about odometer fraud here.

The original story on the disqualified car dealer, which appeared in the Gold Coast Bulletin, can be viewed here.