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    1. Geriatric Member absoluteczech's Avatar
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      12-15-2010 01:33 PM #1
      I was thinking to myself, how common or often does this happen? I would think with all new cars now having electronic odometers it would be some how more difficult, but after a quick google search it looks like its pretty easy. Unbelievably theres tools you can buy online that claim to do it. How does one check for this kind of fraud when buying a used car?





    2. 12-15-2010 01:39 PM #2
      I always thought digital odometers would be easier to hack and change than analog.

    3. Member Chmeeee's Avatar
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      12-15-2010 01:50 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by absoluteczech View Post


      No idea, but that's a Z4.
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      12-15-2010 03:01 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by absoluteczech View Post
      I was thinking to myself, how common or often does this happen? I would think with all new cars now having electronic odometers it would be some how more difficult, but after a quick google search it looks like its pretty easy. Unbelievably theres tools you can buy online that claim to do it. How does one check for this kind of fraud when buying a used car?
      The same way you check for it on any car:

      * Service records.
      * Warranty / recall records (available from a new car dealer of the make).
      * Title / registration / inspection records (DMV, Autocheck, Carfax).
      * Whether condition matches odometer mileage (e.g. worn out or brand new (not ultra high performance) tires on a car with only 10,000 miles would be suspicious).

      Isn't it pretty much assumed, at least in some markets (e.g. the UK), that a used car's odometer has been "clocked" unless the car is fully documented? But in the US, it seems that people tend to be rather more trusting of the odometer mileage.

      Regardless of how easy or difficult it is to reset the odometer (whether mechanical or electronic), a scammer could always replace the odometer or instrument cluster with a new one and set it to whatever mileage s/he wants (new odometers have the capability of being set at least once, so that they can be set to match the mileage of a legitimately broken one being replaced).

    5. Member Shomegrown's Avatar
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      12-15-2010 03:10 PM #5
      I bet it happens more than people would expect. I saw a special a few years ago indicating it's not even illegal in some countries (they showed Holland where there was no law against it).

    6. Member EpicVW's Avatar
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      12-15-2010 03:19 PM #6
      Unfortunately nothing is completely unhackable. You throw enough time, talent and money at something and I guarantee someone will crack it.

      The only way to be sure is like someone mentioned. Get records of services and the like to see if anything fishy comes up.

    7. Moderator SOAR's Avatar
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      12-15-2010 03:24 PM #7
      "1337"

      I would say carfax is your way of checking for this fraud. In fact, most dealers will probably do it before they even buy the car.

      But yeah, if the last thing on my cars carfax(also need to consider what the DOL/DMV has on file) says it has 53,XXX, and it now has 67,XXX... I don't see anything stopping me from rolling it back a few thou.

      It's the simplicity of the digital age that is going to make it a problem. Rolling back an analog odometer was a PITA, and usually ended up with it being broken. But if you can do it with a couple keystrokes now, that sucks.

    8. Member PsychoVolvo's Avatar
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      12-15-2010 03:25 PM #8
      I wouldn't be surprised if mileage is stored several places in the car's computers. My guess is if you change it on the readout, there are other places electronically where it would still read the original mileage.
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      12-15-2010 03:40 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by PsychoVolvo
      I wouldn't be surprised if mileage is stored several places in the car's computers.
      it does in some cars. VCDS can read the ecu mileage on some TDIs:

      http://ross-tech.com/vcds/tour/EDC-15-Mileage.html
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      12-15-2010 03:45 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by absoluteczech View Post
      I was thinking to myself, how common or often does this happen? I would think with all new cars now having electronic odometers it would be some how more difficult, but after a quick google search it looks like its pretty easy. Unbelievably theres tools you can buy online that claim to do it. How does one check for this kind of fraud when buying a used car?
      Not thinking about this with the M3, are you?
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sump View Post
      I'm sure a lot of these guys went home after the carwash and played a little hans solo.

    11. Member asadjewonxmas's Avatar
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      12-15-2010 03:59 PM #11
      some cars dont log in the ecu or anywhere other than the odometer. I have a person i know with a Kia sportage. that if you pull a fuse for the interior lights/insturument cluster it stops reading entirely. he just judges speed by other cars and not driving like an ass. the odometer never logs the milage. He said he does it every few tanks of gas. He logs the miles and knows what he actually put on. However the display shows less.
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    12. 12-15-2010 04:02 PM #12
      My odometer in my previous car (E46 328i) decided to roll itself back 12k miles when I unhooked the battery one time. It's odd because the odometer reading is stored in two places, and they both would have had to roll themselves back, otherwise I would have gotten a tamper light, which I didn't.

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      12-15-2010 04:28 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Freudenfahrer View Post
      My odometer in my previous car (E46 328i) decided to roll itself back 12k miles when I unhooked the battery one time. It's odd because the odometer reading is stored in two places, and they both would have had to roll themselves back, otherwise I would have gotten a tamper light, which I didn't.
      It's almost as though the owner forgot how many miles were on the car before he unhooked the battery, although of course thats impossible. How strange.


    14. Geriatric Member absoluteczech's Avatar
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      12-15-2010 04:32 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by RedRabidRabbit View Post
      Not thinking about this with the M3, are you?
      140k miles? whatcha talkin bout ? i only see 75k...

      nah i dont think my ass would do well in prison.

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      12-15-2010 04:39 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by absoluteczech View Post
      I was thinking to myself, how common or often does this happen?
      VERY common in Europe.

      Quote Originally Posted by absoluteczech View Post
      Unbelievably theres tools you can buy online that claim to do it. How does one check for this kind of fraud when buying a used car?
      Seen my cluster swap DIY? Super easy to do in some cars.

      As far as checking: I think in some VAG cars (EDC15 gen, I believe), ECU was storing something like approximate mileage calculated based on the fuel usage/time/who knows what else. And you could compare that to the actual mileage per the cluster. Not sure about more recent generations.

    16. Member Troike's Avatar
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      12-15-2010 04:57 PM #16
      I have only seen this charged once locally (recently in fact).

      Was surprised to learn that it is a Felony in my state.

      Quote Originally Posted by ORS 815.410
      815.410 Illegal odometer tampering; prohibition; exceptions; civil action; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of illegal odometer tampering if the person does any of the following:

      (a) Advertises for sale, sells, uses or installs on any part of a motor vehicle or on any odometer in a motor vehicle any device which causes the odometer to register any mileage other than the true mileage driven. For the purposes of this paragraph the true mileage driven is that mileage driven by the vehicle as registered by the odometer within the manufacturer’s designed tolerance.

      (b) With the intent to defraud, operates a motor vehicle on any street or highway knowing that the odometer of such vehicle is disconnected or nonfunctional.

      (c) Replaces, disconnects, turns back or resets the odometer of any motor vehicle with the intent to reduce the number of miles indicated on the odometer gauge.

      (2) This section does not apply to a person who is servicing, repairing or replacing an odometer in compliance with ORS 815.415.

      (3) The owner or subsequent purchaser of a vehicle may bring an action in an appropriate court of this state against any person who violates this section and may recover from the person an amount of $1,500 or treble the actual damage caused by the violation. Only a single recovery is permitted under this subsection for any single violation of this section. The court may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party in an action under this subsection.

      (4) The offense described in this section, illegal odometer tampering, is a Class C felony.
      << so it Hz >>

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    17. Member Bugs's Avatar
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      12-15-2010 05:03 PM #17
      not illegal in Quebec either.
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      12-15-2010 05:09 PM #18
      I see it a lot with V8 RX7's. They need a VSS conversion box to get the speedometer and odometer working. I'd say 1 in 4 people don't buy the box and stop adding miles to the odometer.

    19. 12-15-2010 05:17 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by emmettlodge View Post
      It's almost as though the owner forgot how many miles were on the car before he unhooked the battery, although of course thats impossible. How strange.

      I admit that I don't regularly check my odometer, but I do distinctly remember hitting 50k twice, about a year apart. I also have an inspection receipt from the year before I traded in my car which has a higher mileage listed on it than when I traded it in.

    20. Geriatric Member AKADriver's Avatar
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      12-15-2010 05:26 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by eastcoastbumps View Post
      I see it a lot with V8 RX7's. They need a VSS conversion box to get the speedometer and odometer working. I'd say 1 in 4 people don't buy the box and stop adding miles to the odometer.
      That's not "tampering" so much as it is just disabling it. On a frankenstein like that it's not like you're expecting the chassis and engine mileage to match up anyway.
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    21. Member worth_fixing's Avatar
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      12-15-2010 05:31 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Bugs View Post
      not illegal in Quebec either.
      it's very illegal in quebec. you get jail time if they can prove you've done it to more than one vehicle.
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    22. 12-18-2010 12:12 AM #22
      I know on my corrado if you switch the cluster out you get a new milage. I was VERY surprised to find this out, as I had always assumed the milage was stored in the ECU.

    23. Member kt883's Avatar
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      12-18-2010 12:58 AM #23
      The mk2 golf/jetta odometer can be manually changed pretty easily but there would be no point in changing it as you could easily match up the mileage to the one thats on record and is checked everytime you renew your plates.

      Isnt it legal if your car is over a certain age? I think its something like 15 years and older and you are allowed to change the mileage (In ontario)
      Last edited by kt883; 12-18-2010 at 01:09 AM.
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      12-18-2010 01:13 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by kt883 View Post
      Isnt it legal if your car is over a certain age? I think its something like 15 years and older and you are allowed to change the mileage (In ontario)
      Not legal in California. When you replace the odometer in California, you either have to set the new odometer to the old odometer's mileage, or set it to zero and place a warning sticker somewhere indicating that the old odometer's mileage must be added.

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      12-18-2010 01:19 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by AKADriver View Post
      That's not "tampering" so much as it is just disabling it. On a frankenstein like that it's not like you're expecting the chassis and engine mileage to match up anyway.
      Disconnecting (or not hooking up) the odometer is not tampering? Its not like the odometer then goes blank. It reads the same mileage as it did before it was disconnected, it just doesn't add anything to it.

    26. Member czykvw's Avatar
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      12-18-2010 01:28 AM #26
      I'm sure this has worked wonders with a lease and too many miles.

    27. Member rains's Avatar
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      12-18-2010 01:32 AM #27
      what about VSS issues? It won't role back the mileage or mess with odo, but it will stop adding miles.
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      12-18-2010 04:17 AM #28
      You can swap the clusters or roll it back all you want, as long as you note it down. Tampering with the odometer with the intent to defraud is the crime.

      We changed the cluster in my moms Civic when the speedo started malfuntioning. All of the sudden we have a 0-meter car, but we did put a dealer verified mileage sticker on the door jam in case we sold it.

    29. Member stacman's Avatar
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      12-18-2010 04:46 AM #29
      I sold my grandmarquis which had ~388k kms on it, but had the dash changed and showed only 158k. I was very clear about this in the sale and even noted it on the bill of sale.

      Kid who bought it calls me saying the insurance place is giving him a problem. Turns out he was insisting they change the mileage on record. I told him he had a lot of nerve to call me over insisting on doing something illegal and hung up on him. Felt good too.

      People are dumb.
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      12-18-2010 07:00 AM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by PsychoVolvo View Post
      I wouldn't be surprised if mileage is stored several places in the car's computers. My guess is if you change it on the readout, there are other places electronically where it would still read the original mileage.
      The problem is that those can also be tampered with. BMW's, for example, store the mileage on quite a few places (instrument cluster, ECU + other on board computer boxes, keys...) but a professional of course knows this and changes every single reading so you can actually never find out what has been done.

      Some cars still require more work than others, for example dismantling the instrument cluster, but some can be tampered simply through the OBD connector in a few minutes.

    31. 12-18-2010 08:58 AM #31
      When I disconnected the battery on my audi to do some work I noticed when I put everything back in place and connected the battery I went for a small drive to see if my misfires went away, I decided to wrtie down the current miles since I was trying to sell it, and I look down and it says 60k when a hour ago it had 183k.

      So I attempted to dis/reconnect the battery for good measure and still 60k like nothing ever happened
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    32. Member alleghenyman's Avatar
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      12-18-2010 10:30 AM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by chandlerdoom View Post
      When I disconnected the battery on my audi to do some work I noticed when I put everything back in place and connected the battery I went for a small drive to see if my misfires went away, I decided to wrtie down the current miles since I was trying to sell it, and I look down and it says 60k when a hour ago it had 183k.

      So I attempted to dis/reconnect the battery for good measure and still 60k like nothing ever happened
      Totally talking out of my ass but i would expect there is a system battery somewhere that would normally prevent this from happening and it stops holding a charge when it gets too old.
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