Since the advent of digital odometers on cars most people seem to think that they can’t be tampered with, but that is a pure myth, and to explain we have Chris Vasso from Carfax. Chris, welcome back to Goss’ Garage.

CHRIS VASSO: Always great to be here Pat.

PAT GOSS: Alright, tell us about today’s odometer fraud.

CHRIS VASSO: Well odometer fraud is alive and well and its entered the digital age. The common misconception is digital odometers eliminated the ability to roll them back, but that’s not true. In fact, our data suggests there’s one and a half million vehicles that are out there right now with an odometer rollback and its costing people thousands of dollars. 

PAT GOSS: Alright, when we say costing thousands of dollars I guess because we buy cars based on low miles.

CHRIS VASSO: The mileage is a huge factor in the price of the car. And when you roll the miles back 50 or 100,000 miles you’re artificially inflating the value of that car while almost any car can be rolled back, we see it happening in two types of vehicles. Ones that are more than 10 years old, and have several hundred thousand miles on them or off lease vehicles, lease vehicles that have been turned in. With the 10-year old vehicles you don’t have to report the odometer readings anymore and you can make those cars look pretty good by taking maybe 100,000 miles off. The off lease vehicles people are avoiding the penalties that they have to pay when they go thousands more miles over what they’re allowed. They average loss people are taking by buying those cars is about $4,000 which is a huge difference if that car’s got a lot more miles than you think it does. 

PAT GOSS: And there’s tons of these out there.

CHRIS VASSO: About one and a half million and they’re in every state, so it really pays to make sure you’re consulting the experts like Carfax and your mechanic to make sure you’re not putting you and your family in one of those cars.

PAT GOSS: Alright, next thing is that we have tons of flood cars these days.

CHRIS VASSO: Huge intense storms and it’s happening every single year and it’s flooding hundreds of thousands of cars about half of those typically make their way back onto the market those cars literally rot from the inside out. The water affects the safety, electrical and mechanical systems of the car and that can really cause a problem for you and your family if you buy one of those cars unknowingly.

PAT GOSS: Alright, and a Carfax vehicle history report is going to disclose these sorts of things.

CHRIS VASSO: A Carfax report will tell you any flood damage that’s been reported to us. It’ll tell you if there’s a potential odometer rollback on the car you want to buy. And it will also tell you about those all-important recalls that are on millions of cars that people are driving right now.  

PAT GOSS: Chris, thank you. And if you have a question or comment drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.