- Aug 2015

Mileage fraud: Things to look out for when buying a used car.

Tech Tuesday: Mileage fraud

Buying a new car is a process filled with different emotions. On the one hand, you’re excited, on the other hand you’re frustrated because the process is never as seamless as you want it to be. Buying a used car is a whole different ball game though, usually there is more frustration that happiness involved. Many questions come to your mind when you’re thinking of buying a used car. If you’re at a dealership the situation is better because there are laws in place to protect you as a consumer but if you’re buying a used car privately, it’s a whole different process. The term “voetstoets” (as is) comes into play and that term means you have to be extra careful before paying anyone for their used goods. One question in particular comes to mind for many buying a used car, especially if it is online on mediums such as Gumtree or OLX. “Is it possible that the previous owner changed the mileage on the car?” you may ask yourself.

The simple answer to that question is yes. There is and has always been technology to change the mileage on a car. Most vehicles today have digital odometers that can be manipulated using a computer and specific software. Another way the mileage can be changed on a car is if a different cluster is installed, one reflecting less kilometres than what the car really has. Are there ways to see if this was done to a car you are interested in buying? Yes. First things first, you need to use discretion. If the cars mileage is too good to be true for the year model of the car, chances are it’s too good to be true. You do get scenarios where the mileage advertised is real, as low as it is. The best way to get to the bottom of it though is to ask for a service history. A service history on the car is essential to see if the mileage is genuine or not.

Instead of relying on a good ol’ service book, I would phone any dealership that sells that brand and ask for a vin number check up. This allows you to check if all services were done and at what mileage there were done. If the mileage doesn’t match, be weary. If the car has a partial service history with the agents and the rest of the history with a private service centre, check both the establishments but again, be weary. The truth is when buying a used car, unless its someone you know very well, be very careful where and how you buy your car. With today’s technology there are systems which allow you to track your car and even see what speed it’s going, so changing the mileage on a car is not an impossible thing to do. So remember when you’re in the process of buying a used car, use discretion and do your research. A little bit of scrutiny can take you far, but closer to what your future cars’ mileage really is. Happy Tech Tuesday Motorists.

*image courtesy of www.stopfraudcolorado.gov