The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently reported on odometer fraud and the importance of thoroughly inspecting a used car before purchasing it. When purchasing a used car, buyers usually inspect seatbelts, brakes, and air bags. However, the NHTSA’s Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations, is urging used-car buyers to also now consider odometers in order to prevent possible car accidents and ensure a safe drive.
The Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations (OFI) advises used-car buyers to be exceedingly scrupulous in order to guarantee that a car’s safety features have not been tampered with or that a seller has not rolled back the odometer. Because car professionals and automakers recommend part replacements, tune-ups, and oil-changes based on a car’s mileage, a faulty odometer reading can jeopardize the overall safety of a vehicle and result in a car accident. OFI reports that even a newer car’s odometer can be tampered with, leading one to believe that a car is safer and more valuable than it actually is.
Under Federal law, the odometer law (49 U.S.C. Chapter 327/Public Law 103-272) prohibits the disconnection, resetting, or alteration of a car’s odometer with intention of changing its number of miles.
When inspecting the safety features of a vehicle, some key items to help determine whether or not an odometer has been tampered with are:
• The overall performance and condition of the vehicle
• Statements from previous owner, repair receipts, service stickers, or any other document that shows a mileage discrepancy
• If previously owned, you can contact your state motor vehicle titling and registration office to obtain title and title transfer documents pertaining to your vehicle.
The OFI has convicted over 240 criminals in over than 30 states and has reimbursed over $10 million in court orders. Prison sentences for tampering with an odometer range from one month to eight years.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a car accident in which you suspect faulty parts or odometer fraud, it is advised that you contact an experienced Massachusetts car accident lawyer.
Vehicle odometer fraud jeopardizes safety…and pocketbooks, Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, April 19, 2011