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I'm considering purchasing a used car but suspect that the owner is not being truthful about the odometer reading. My mechanic suggested that it looks as if the mileage has been tampered with. How can I verify that he's being honest? Is this a crime if he's lying?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Patty Streeter,  at AskPatty.com Most new model vehicles have a tamperproof odometer, when tampered with the odometer becomes inoperative. it is possible that some one could replace a instrument cluster containing the odometer with a used on that indicates a lower mileage and this would be very hard to detect. A good technician should be able to instpect a vehicle and determine if the mileage is fairly accurate but this is a guessing game at best. You could run the Vehicle Identification number (VIN) through a service like "Carfax" to see what mileage shows as the last insurance or warranty repair mileage but this might not be of help to you. If You really believe the vehicle seller is being dishonest, go find another vehicle to purchase and do not worry about this vehicle. It is a crime to tamper with a vehicle odometer if you are caught, but this is very hard to catch.

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