FREE Case Review (866) 588-0600

Don’t Get Caught! Risks of Digital Odometer Tampering (2024)

It is possible to turn back a digital odometer, but doing so is illegal in most places due to the potential for fraud. Digital odometers are designed to be tamper-resistant, and altering them can result in serious legal consequences. Additionally, modern vehicles store mileage information in multiple locations, making it difficult to manipulate the odometer reading without leaving evidence of tampering.
Awards & recognition
Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

What is a Digital Odometer?

The digital odometer in your car utilizes electronic signals to display your vehicle’s mileage on the instrument cluster or dashboard. It relies on stored values in the car’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU) to determine the total mileage of your vehicle.

How Do Digital Odometers Work?

According to Britannica, modern digital odometers track mileage using a computer chip and a sensor that detects wheel rotations connected to the vehicle’s tires. The data is stored in the engine control module (ECM), and the odometer uses these stored values to calculate the total distance traveled by the vehicle [1].

How Can I Roll Back the Mileage on a Digital Odometer?

According to SCLG, today, individuals have the ability to manipulate a vehicle’s digital odometer, often seen with older or used cars, to reduce the displayed mileage [2].

Lower mileage gives the impression to car buyers that a vehicle’s condition is much better compared to a high-mileage vehicle.

Car dealerships and private sellers can tamper with a digital odometer using a device that connects to the car’s computer. This device allows them to program the preferred mileage reading into the computer.

Another method of odometer tampering involves dismantling the car’s speedometer to access the main circuit board. Once exposed, individuals can remove the memory chip storing the actual mileage and replace it with a chip displaying fewer miles.

Also Read: How Much Commission Does a Car Salesman Make?

Penalties for Odometer Tampering

The consequences for violating Title 49 U.S. Code 32703 and other odometer-related offenses are outlined in 49 U.S.C. 32709. These penalties underscore the federal government’s commitment to combating odometer fraud.

Civil Penalties

If you’re convicted of odometer tampering, you may face a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation (per vehicle whose odometer is altered), up to a maximum total penalty of $1 million. If a corporation commits the crime, all officers involved in the fraud can also be individually fined and the corporation itself. In addition, you may be subject to additional lawsuits by the Attorney General and the state government in which the odometer fraud occurred.

Criminal Penalties

Criminal penalties for odometer fraud may include:

  • Fines of up to $250,000, separate from any civil penalties; and
  • Up to 3 years’ imprisonment in a federal prison.

Protecting Against Odometer Tampering

While spotting an odometer rollback can be challenging, several signs should raise red flags:

  1. Discrepancy between the mileage on the title and the current odometer reading
  2. Difference between the mileage on the vehicle’s inspection records and the current odometer reading
  3. Misalignment of the numbers on the odometer gauge
  4. Excessive tread loss on the tires compared to the mileage reading
  5. Wear and tear on the vehicle inconsistent with the mileage reading
  6. Vehicle history report indicating an older automobile than what is represented

Related Articles:

See all related personal injury and accident lawsuits we’ve taken on.

Get a Free Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers

The Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new legal challenges in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one was involved with these matters, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.



Free Confidential Case Evaluation

Verified 100% Secure SiteTo contact us for a free review of your potential case, please fill out the form below or call us toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing: (866) 588-0600.