With the used car market expanding in India at a fast pace, there are many who get scammed with the tampered odometers. Many individuals and used car dealers tamper with the odometer to rotate back the number of kilometres in the car. Less run vehicle sells at a premium price compared to a vehicle with the high odometer reading. This is not an uncommon practice anymore. How do you save yourself from such scams? Well, here is how you can know if someone has tampered with the odometer.
Tampering analogue odometers
Analogue odometers are not very popular at the present age. But since most of the old vehicles came with analogue ones, there are still plenty of them in the used car market. Tampering these analogue odometers is not very difficult. Any workshop can do it easily. Mechanics use tools like screwdrivers to simply turn the digits in ten thousand place or lakh place to reduce the reading of the odometer.
How to spot such tampering?
Spotting this kind of tampering can be difficult if it is done by a skilled mechanic. If not, you will notice that the digits on the odometer are not properly aligned. Another way is to notice the odometer when it is about to cross the next 10,000 km mark. The digits do not align properly.
Tampering digital odometers
Digital odometers have become common in almost all cars around the world. These odometers can be difficult to tamper with but with computers and tools, it is not impossible. Since it is all electronics, it can be difficult to detect such tampering and there are no physical signs as well. However, to access the chipset of the instrument cluster.
These are done in the “meter repair shops” that hook up the instrument console to a laptop and flash the chipset to reset it. At times, replacing the chipset and re-soldering the set-up will reverse the reading. Physically, you may get to see ill-fitted instrument clusters, or maybe some moisture, or marks from screwdrivers along the edges.
How to spot such tampering?
There is no foolproof way to spot such tampering by just looking at the instrument cluster. However, the best way to check for tampering is to check the service records thoroughly.
For example, many people disconnect the odometer wiring and drive around without it or get the reading reversed after a couple of years of use. If a car has run for say 10,000 km in the first and second year but only 3,000 km in the following year, there is definitely something wrong and you should be more careful. Also, look for the “next service due” sticker inside the glove box or the door frame or the windscreen itself.
You can also make out if a vehicle has run for one lakh km by the wear and tear inside the cabin. How the steering wheel looks, examine the brake pedal, gear knob and parts that most of us ignore. If you have any experience of coming across such a car, please do share in the comments section.