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Signs your odometer's been tampered with:
First, use CarFax or AutoCheck to request a copy of the vehicle's history. This will include state registration and emission inspection data and a lot, lot more.
Examine the dashboard for scratch marks or loose screws. They could indicate your odometer's been tampered with. However, it's also a sign of normal maintenance including light bulb replacement.
If the odometer is of the older, analog variety rather than digital, check to see if the mileage numbers are aligned. Give the 10,000 digit a careful examination.
During a test drive, does the odometer stick?
Check for service stickers (oil change, tune up, etc.) that may have the vehicles true mileage. Check under the car's hood and inside the door.
Check the owner's manual for maintenance records. If it appears that pages were removed, ask about it. This is a red flag.
If you're purchasing the car from a dealership, ask they did a computer check. If so, did they find any warranty records?
Ask for a moment to look at the vehicle's title. Look closely for signs the mileage has been altered.
Take note of the title's issue date. Was the vehicle sold soon it was issued? Be wary if it was. This is a common way tricksters mask a vehicle's actual mileage.
Are there signs of wear? Check the arm rests, carpet, steering wheel, and pedals. A lot of wear could be a sign the car has more miles on it than the odometer indicates. If any of these parts look new, too new, it could be a sign the owner is trying to hide something.
Ask a trusted mechanic do a vehicle inspection. The inspection should include looking for signs of odometer tampering.
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