Buying a car is the second largest investment that a family makes and in many cases the budget is not large, so we must consider acquiring a pre-owned car.
Buying a used car implies having some more precautions when choosing our vehicle. We must consider the documentation, model and year of the car as well as its mechanical condition.
Without a doubt, a point to consider when choosing a pre-owned car is how much mileage it has. This factor tells us how worn the car is or at least it should.
Unfortunately, there are many used car dealers who alter the odometer to mark a lower mileage and sell the vehicle for a higher price.
Mechanical and digital odometers
The odometers installed in cars in the middle of the last century were mechanical and worked by means of gears which rotated according to the distance traveled.
In this case, it was very easy to disassemble them and simply adjust their values to the convenience of each one. For this reason they were not a reliable sign of the age of a vehicle.
A few years later electronic odometers were built which worked with electrical wiring but there was still the possibility of altering us. The cables were disconnected and activated with a reverse motor to lower the mileage.
In recent years supposedly unalterable digital odometers have been developed which use various mechanisms. In some cases, there is no way to reorder the gears once they have been altered, and the most modern ones have seemingly unbreakable software.
Despite the efforts of automotive brands to make their mileage measurement systems unalterable , it is very easy to find people who advertise that they can change the mileage of a car.
Just by searching the Internet, we can find services that guarantee to alter the odometer, there are even video and software downloads to alter this indicator.
How to know if the car odometer has been altered?
Regardless of whether we can trust current odometer technology, there are several ways to know if this device has been tampered with.
When buying or selling a pre-owned car, you must always submit all the invoices for all the purchase and sale operations that the car has had. In these documents you can see the mileage marked on the car in the year of each operation.
It is the most reliable test we have to know if a car’s mileage has been altered. You can also ask for receipts for automotive services or repairs made to the vehicle.
Year of the car and mileage
A regular use of a vehicle is to go to work, school and / or shopping on weekends, as well as sporadic trips. Under these conditions, a vehicle travels between 15 to 25 kilometers per year.
If you notice a very marked difference between the kilometers traveled and the year of the vehicle, it may be a sign that the odometer was altered.
Perhaps asking the reasons why the car is being sold or the age of the previous owners can clarify the situation. For example, if the previous owner was a pensioner who stayed a lot at home, there would be reasons to justify the low mileage.
Physical state of the car
General wear and tear on the car can help you know how used the vehicle was. Check everyday devices like pedals, gear stick, radio buttons. If you notice a lot of wear, it is clear that the vehicle must have several kilometers traveled.
On the contrary, if you notice new or very recent parts that are out of tune with the rest of the interior of the car, it is likely that they have been replaced to look like a newer vehicle.
The body of the car can tell you a lot about the age of a vehicle. The wear of the car by the sun is very difficult to hide even if painted again. You will always notice changes in tone , especially if you look at it against the light.
Some mechanics who check pre-owned cars recommend taking a magnet with us to check the bodywork. If we find areas where the magnet does not adhere to the bodywork, it may be a symptom of major repairs , therefore of longer use.
You must be alert to these signs because if they appear and the car has low mileage, it is a sign that the car’s mileage has been altered.
Here are some ways to find out if a car’s mileage has been altered. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to look for more options. Remember that the market for pre-owned cars is very wide and you should not limit yourself.