General Buying Information

4 Things to Know about an Odometer Reading


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The odometer reading on your vehicle is important for many reasons, but what if it wasn’t accurate or reporting your mileage correctly? Here are 4 facts that everyone should know about odometers

  1. You are required to report odometer readings when a car is bought or sold but there are exceptions to this. In many states vehicles over 10 years of age or work vehicles can be exempt from this rule. Reporting of mileage is helpful in discovering odometer tampering.
  2. When reporting mileage there are several terms you should be aware of.Actual mileage” means that the vehicles mileage is correct. “Not actual mileage” means that odometer is broken, has been replaced or the owner isn’t aware of the correct mileage. Lastly “exceeds mileage limits” means that the vehicles odometer has reached the highest number possible and has started over at 1. Digital odometers shouldn’t roll over to zero.
  3. Suspicious buyers that believe the odometer reading may not be correct should ask to view the title. Using common sense you should examine the title to see if the odometer reading shows what you would expect. In most cases drivers can expect to put between 10,000 and 15,000 miles on a vehicle in a given year. A car that is 10 years old should have roughly 100,000 to 150,000 miles on it. Buyers can check brakes and tires on vehicles with less than 20,000 miles on them.  Excessive wear should be a sign that perhaps the odometer is incorrect.
  4. If the vehicle has had an odometer adjustment it should be noted on the title and someplace on the car, usually the door panel. In some cases an odometer isn’t working properly and needs to be repaired. Repair shops are required to put a sticker on the car that indicates the odometer has been corrected or changed.

Trusting the reading on the odometer is essential and buyers shouldn’t have to fear that the number they are seeing is incorrect. Protecting yourself when buying a vehicle is the only way you can ensure you are going to get a fair deal.

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