Last Updated on February 27, 2023 by Bernard Juchli
There are many reasons you might want to change odometer reading in your car. That is totally dependent on you. You can change odometer reading to make corrections or for experiments. In the same manner, a crook can alter the odometer to falsify the mileage.
However, changing the odometer reading to disguise its true mileage is Illegal.
To roll back mileage is difficult currently, especially with the advanced computer systems that are resistant to modifications. Moreover, some manufacturers collect the data from the odometer and store it on their database for retrieval when necessary.
How to Rollback or Change Odometer Reading
From research, crooks require certain skills to roll back mileage, especially on a new car, but using an odometer rollback device is easier.
Meanwhile, I made an article that guides you to detect odometer fraud.
Below are the ways to change odometer reading:
Disable the Odometer
A scrupulous dealer may disable the odometer in an older vehicle to keep it from reading the mileage since it uses a mechanical wire. They unscrew the odometer at the instrument cluster or the transmission and fake the odometer mileage. Unfortunately, the vehicle stops measuring speed, and the fuel gauge no longer functions.
In most modern vehicles, however, the odometer is electrical, and a sensor or a computer, such as the ABS controller, may be receiving its signal despite the odometer being paused. To remove the odometer, the crook disconnects the instrument cluster electrical connector.
In modern vehicles, removing the odometer disables the speedometer, warning lights, and any meter available. Depending on the car, a yellow light will appear that indicates tampering with the odometer.
Disconnect the Dash Unit Temporarily
It is quite common for insincere sellers, often curbstoners, to disconnect the dash unit. Reportedly, if you unplug the entire dash of an F150, you may be able to drive for several thousand miles without an odometer gauge. When you reinstall the dash unit, the odometer continues reading from the point when you removed the dash.
Overrun the Mileage EEPROM Register
This is also another crooked way to change odometer reading. On older vehicles like the 2004s, a crook may be able to overrun the mileage via the EEPROM. There not many concrete reports on overriding the EEPROM on newer vehicle models though.
Secondly, a crook can only lower the odometer reading if the vehicle features a mechanical odometer. Simply, they will take down the odometer, often there is a ratchet inside of the odometer to prevent it from being reversed for falsification.
For a crook to alter a digital odometer, they may have to provide pulses that have no direction. Sometimes, the mileage can only increase.
Most of the time, tragedy happens when an insincere seller overruns the mileage EEPROM register, which zeros the mileage and count upwards. If it reads up to 999,999 maximum, they will max out the pulses for the speedometer to detect them.
If the odometer gets stuck at 999,999, the EEPROM may have been exceeded and there is no going back. Of course, they have to replace the odometer and match the actual mileage, otherwise, nobody is buying such a vehicle at a decent price.
Replace the Instrument Cluster
It is also common for scrupulous sellers to change odometer reading by replacing the instrument cluster with a used instrument cluster. In most repair shops, mechanics take additional steps on vehicles with altered mileages.
Note that if the auto repair shop is a Carfax shop, the current mileage would be recorded onto the database on every visit, thus, making it difficult to get away with changing the odometer mileage.
For crooks to avoid dealing with auto repair shops that record mileage, they prefer purchasing a second-hand odometer from the wreckers.
Mileage Correction Tool
Since it is difficult to alter a digital odometer manually, a crook can use an odometer correction tool purchased from online stores such as eBay and Amazon. Typically, an odometer correction tool costs at least $230.
A mileage correction tool works on all vehicles and they are connected via the OBD2 Diagnostic Port.
I came across one of the effective odometer correction tool called the XTOOL 2023 Newest A30 PRO BT Diagnostic Tool with Bi-Directional Control, ABS Bleed, OE-Full Systems Diagnostic, 15+ Services, Key Programming, Injector Coding, Transmission, WiFi Free Update.
Below are the steps to set up the odometer correction tool to change your odometer reading:
- Connect the odometer correction tool to your vehicle.
- Click dashboard.
- Click OK.
- Select your location and wait while the database loads.
- Find and select your vehicle.
- Backup your current mileage. You can also change from kilometers to miles. So, you can either select miles or kilometers.
- Click OK to create a backup. If you encounter any problem, simply use the backup file you created to restore the data.
- You will be asked to Import the Mileage for the Adjustment, which is where you enter the mileage you want to change in your vehicle.
- Click Ok.
The cluster instrument lights will blink to indicate changes in the car. If it reads Adjustment Complete, the mileage of the vehicle has been changed successfully.
If you encounter any problem, you may revert to the older mileage using the backup file.
Is it Illegal to Change Odometer Mileage?
Yes, it is illegal to change the odometer mileage. I all the states, it is a felony to alter the odometer.
It is not worth it to try to change the odometer of a car. Besides, modern cars are designed to store the mileage away from the odometer, so, after you alter or reprogram the odometer reading, a warning light appears indicating that the mileage is incorrect.
A dealer or a private seller is liable for selling a vehicle with an odometer discrepancy without informing the buyer during the purchase of the vehicle.
Read also: no leak, no smoke but car losing oil
In this article, I disclosed how to change odometer reading. Unless you replace the odometer and match the actual mileage of the car, it is illegal because it conceals the information a buyer must know before paying for the car.
Moreover, the vehicle’s mileage would have been registered during smog checks and dealer service, so it is not worth changing it illegally because you may get caught.