Odometer Rollbacks: A Hard-to-Spot Nuisance for Car Shoppers

A web search for “Vehicle Mileage Correction” found a number of companies that offer rollback services. Companies, at least superficially, advise against illegal tampering, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. One’s website states: “We urge all customers who use mileage adjustment services to have a legitimate cause for concern as it is illegal to change the mileage of your car and not give this information to potential buyers.”

The kilometer adjustment costs US $ 120 at one location. The instrument cluster must be removed and sent to the supplier, which will change the reading and send it back.

The mileage can also be changed using a tool that plugs into the OBD2 connector – a connector that allows mechanics to read service codes that report faulty components.

To see how difficult it could be to cut vehicle miles, I bought a $ 120 rollback tool – the most affordable of those on eBay – to try it out.

The device was for GM vehicles, so I tested it on a 2014 Equinox. The tool is only used to change the reading on an odometer. After switching on, a screen with the label “Cluster Calibrate” is displayed.

The tool correctly read the odometer reading as 78,624 kilometers, or approximately 48,855 miles, but two attempts to reset the odometer were unsuccessful. Tampering may be relatively straightforward, but it appears to require quality equipment. After testing, we disabled and discarded the tool as recommended by a police officer.

There are ways to detect tampering with the odometer, although it is not child’s play. For example, checking the frequently touched parts of the vehicle for excessive wear can provide clues as to the actual mileage. The pedals are good indicators: be suspicious of those in a car with moderate mileage, e.g. B. 45,000, have extreme wear or, since the pedals can be changed, show no wear. Both could indicate something wrong. Also, check out the inside of the door handles, steering wheel, armrests, and anything else that is regularly touched.

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