Why is the KM Check important?
12% of odometers in the EU, on average, are tampered with. In cross-border trade, even between 30% and 50%, according to information provided by the Committee for Transport and Tourism from the European Parliament.
In the past, rolling back an odometer meant manually reversing the numbers on the mechanical instrument that recorded the distance a vehicle drove. Odometers are now mainly digital, and these can be reset by altering the car’s circuit board and editing the mileage display to read whatever number you put in.
A vehicle with a mileage rollback represents an increased risk for the buyer which directly affects the residual value, price, functionality, durability of the vehicle and even the public road safety.
CARFAX recommends: Check the mileage of the used car and avoid buying a vehicle above its value, as well as expensive follow-up costs. These can be unexpected repairs, damage due to missed inspections and possible problems with car insurance.
How to know the real kilometers of a car?
You should also compare the mileage on the speedometer with what's noted in the car documents. Any inconsistencies with the numbers on official documents can indicate odometer fraud.
The last service invoice, and potentially a log book (if available) or the workshop report can be useful for this.
When and how often an oil change was performed is also a good indication for a plausibility check.
Example: There have been five oil changes. The manufacturer recommends an oil change every 20,000 kilometers. So, the odometer should show around 100,000 kilometers.
The condition of the worn parts and the tires are also reliable indicators.
If the car still has the original tires, and they are in good shape, that indicates low mileage. Also, look at the condition of the accelerator pedal, its wear and tear will indicate the amount of usage.
Some older cars that are still registered have mechanical speedometers. If that's the case, check to see if there are any scratches on the speedometer. This could be a warning that the mileage has been "tampered with."
If you are still unsure after all this, have a used car check done by a garage or automobile club. This will cost you, but if you want to be sure, it's money well spent when you've invested several thousand euros in the car.
For cars imported from the USA and European used cars, all you need to do is get CARFAX's Vehicle History Report. It contains registered mileages that we have from various sources on vehicles in Europe and the USA.
Get a CARFAX Vehicle History Report and compare the odometer reading(s) with the mileage provided by the seller and make sure the pattern is logical. This is the fastest and easiest way to safely check mileage and detect speedometer tampering.
The report is also helpful as it provides essential clues whether the information is correct. For example, the history of previous owners: the more the car has been owned and the older the vehicle is, the higher the mileage can be.