Plans to combat odometer tampering

Making odometer readings compulsory at vehicle registration renewals in a bid to combat odometer tampering could work, but RACQ warned it may be difficult and costly for governments to implement.

The Courier Mail reported the move by Motor Trades Association Queensland would prevent backyard dealers from tampering with speedos, after a licenced Queensland motor dealer was fined for shaving 500,000 kilometres off a vehicle’s clock.

RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said while the plan could enhance consumer protection, it required major changes to the way registrations were renewed. 

“Not only would systems have to be upgraded to accommodate uploading of odometer readings, the information would have to be publicly accessible for both private buyers and dealers,” Mr Spalding said. 

“With more than five million vehicle regos renewed every year, that’s a very substantial admin task, because you need a back-end system to capture and securely store a large number of recorded readings.

“The used car industry are best placed to take a lead on identifying potential instances of any odometer tampering by cross-checking vehicle odometer readings with purchasing records.” 

Mr Spalding said there were ways prospective buyers could check on a vehicle’s travelled kilometres.

“Firstly, check the service history in the logbook along with any servicing receipts in the glovebox. They should show a progressive increase as the car ages, as well as being consistent with the current odometer reading,” he said.

“Buyers should also take a careful look at wear and tear to interior trims and their condition should also be consistent with what’s showing on the odometer. 

“Buyers should also protect themselves by arranging an independent inspection before handing over money for a car, as well as checking its history through the Personal Properties Securities Register