How Crooks Change Odometer Reading in Car

Howdy, Driver? 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.

how to change odometer reading

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 rollback mileage, especially on a new car, but it is easier to use an odometer rollback device.

Meanwhile, I made an article that guides you to detect odometer fraud.

Below are the ways to change odometer reading:

  1. 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 will 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.

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In modern vehicles, removing the odometer disables the speedometer, warning lights, and any meter available. A yellow light, depending on the car, will appear that indicates tampering with the odometer.

  1. 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.

  1. Overrun the Mileage EEPROM Register

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.

  1. Replace the Instrument Cluster

It is also common for scrupulous sellers to change mileage by replacing the instrument cluster with a used instrument cluster. In most repair shops, mechanics take additional steps on vehicles with altered mileages.

How do I stop odometer reading

An Instrument Cluster

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.

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For crooks to avoid dealing with auto repair shops that record mileage, they prefer purchasing a second-hand odometer from the wreckers.

  1. 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 X100 Pro2 OBDII Auto Programmer Immobilizer Diagnostic Tool with EEPROM Adapter.

How to roll back digital odometer

XTOOL X100

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.

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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.

Final Thoughts

In this article, I disclosed how to change odometer reading. Unless you are replacing the odometer and matching the actual mileage of the car, it is illegal because of conceals the information a buyer must know before paying for the car.

Moreover, the mileage of the vehicle would have been registered during smog checks and dealer service, so it is not worth changing it illegally because you may get caught.

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