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Can digital odometer be tampered? – a complete guide

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November 24, 2022

Can digital odometer be tampered with in a vehicle? This is the question that all of us have asked at least once. The shortest answer is YES. Even more, cars with digital odometer readings are easier to manipulate and harder to track. Nowadays more and more try to artificially change the number on the instrument cluster. Thanks to the new technologies a lot of different types of devices are available on the market to achieve this goal. They work for the same purpose (to alter the odometer) but use different methods for it. These tools can freeze, reset, delete, remove or reverse the numbers on the dashboard and make the system display any digits (distance) they want.

The more important factor is that the whole process takes a few minutes and vehicles with digital speedometers are more vulnerable to this challenge. It has an easy explanation: digital odometers do not have removable physical components, consequently nobody can see or check it right away. People with fraudulent purposes only need an advanced high-tech device that will connect to the system, crack it and take full control over it. There are plenty of such tools widely available at affordable prices. However, all of them have the same issue – they are easily traceable. Everyone with quick research or a smart tool can detect odometer malfunction.

So, the answer to can digital car meter be tampered? Is yes. By following simple steps, you will be able to change the odometer showing. However, before making any decision be careful as interfering with the odometer functioning is illegal and you may face a legal dispute. 

Is odometer tampering illegal?

Is odometer tampering against the law?

Mileage has huge importance in our lives and we pay attention to it. All cars have an odometer – a tool that measures the distance while you are driving and displays the digits on the instrument cluster. This information is important as miles and kilometers are crucial indicators to maintain oil changes and other essential services. Even though odometers have huge importance since low mileage makes more profit owners try to manipulate them. lower distance has a lot of advantages and its resale value is higher as well. That is why people try to somehow decrease the numbers on the instrument cluster. Now when we have an answer to the question “is it possible to tamper digital odometer?” another important question arises: is it legal to change the mileage?

Of course, any type of odometer fraud is illegal in the United States. “Clocking” implies actions such as rollback, freezing and erasing data. Any similar actions that cause odometer malfunctioning is a federal crime. The United States has a Federal statute in force that regulates the topic. Several states have also created restrictions that outlaw the federal statute. The Federal statute indicates that a person may not “disconnect, reset, alter, or have disconnected, reset, or altered, an odometer of a motor vehicle intending to change the mileage registered by the odometer.” According to this statute, conspiracies with other people regarding this issue are against the law and the party convicted faces the same punishment. Anyone who breaks this law faces a fine of $10 000 or several years in prison. The punishment varies depending on the state you commit the crime.

Moreover, anyone who bought an auto with a misleading odometer and does not notify the proper authorities about it faces a lawsuit. Hence, resetting, buying and even using a vehicle with an altered odometer is against the law and you have to know how to act if you bought a car with a rolled-back odometer.

Odometer fraud is also illegal in Europe. Twenty-five European countries have a law against it, however, 15% of the European Union’s population experienced “clocking”. Furthermore, not every country has the same laws which make it harder to control the process and deepen the cooperation within states. This is the reason why more than 70% of such cases in Europe happen near cross-border territories. The uprising of these unethical actions cost billions to European and US citizens alone each year. And if the tendency does not change, the law will become even harsher.

Why do people reset odometers?

Can digital odometer be tampered? Yes, it can be and even though it is illegal, people still do it. The question is “why?” The reason is that we pay too much importance to miles in an automobile. It has a higher value if the odometer shows the lower kilemeters. Consequently, people roll back mileage to sell a car at a better price. This idea is based on the misconception that high mileage unconditionally means “bad”. Although on rare occasions it is correct, there are several more important factors that we should be paying attention to. For example, where (on what terrain) and under what condition an owner used a vehicle. If an owner covered less distance but used it on rocky roads, it will not be in good condition. In this case, although it shows a low covered distance, the car will require more for its maintenance. 

Another important thing that pushes the owner to tamper with the odometer is Insurance companies. At first, you may think that they have nothing to do with it, but they calculate the prices according to the distance. Therefore, the more you drive, the more you pay. To minimize insurance payments, people reset the data and lie to insurance companies.

can digital car meter be tampered to avoid payments to insurance companies? Yes, you can change the odometer and people do it. However, always remember that such actions are not only extremely unethical but also illegal. Moreover, it will not free you from the payments and you still will have to pay for your policy.

To sum up, there are two major reasons why people tend to artificially change the distance on the instrument cluster. The first one is to make a bigger profit when they sell an auto. The second factor is the insurance companies that charge you according to the covered distance. Even though owners tried to somehow resolve this issue and avoid extra payments, any type of odometer tampering is illegal and they might have to pay a “heavy price” for their actions.

How to find out that an odometer has been reset

How to detect odometer reset

Is it possible to tamper digital odometer before selling a car? Yes, resetting the mileage has been a widespread strategy for sellers. As technologies are constantly developing it is becoming harder to detect the danger on time. Hence, it is crucial to know how to check the odometer rollback. There are several things you need to check before buying a pre-used vehicle.

  • Worn tires – the easiest way to examine is a physical appearance. Take a look at the tires and compare them to the distance that the dashboard shows. This will give you an overall idea of how often the owner used the auto and in what condition it could be. If it seems worn out but the owner claims that it is new, this may be the first alert for odometer malfunction. Also, verify the manufacturer details. The detailed information will be on the tires; 
  • Scratches on the instrument cluster – people need to remove an instrument cluster to reset an odometer. There is a big chance that during the process they make scratches on it. So, if you notice suspiciously many scratches be alert and investigate everything closely;
  • Wear and tear – new cars are always in perfect condition and you should not notice the sign of using. If you see that the seats do not seem new, the pedals are worn out, most likely the owner tries to cheat you and it is not as new, as he or she claims to be;
  • Damaged parts and replacements – nobody expects damaged parts when they are going to buy something new. This is the same in this case too. When you decide to buy a new automobile, it should not have damaged or replaced components. You should take that into consideration as well.

Can digital odometer be tampered? Modern cars with digital speedometers are easy to hack and spotting mileage discrepancies is even more difficult. Spotting altered distance would not be an issue, but because of ever-developing technologies, people use advanced and cheaper tools to achieve the same results. Sometimes CARFAX reports are also vulnerable to this problem. This is why you need to be patient and check as much as possible. 

What to do when you find odometer fraud

As we already know how can digital car meter be tampered and this illegal practice is becoming more common, it is essential to know how to react. Firstly, remember that odometer tampering is illegal and even using a car with altered mileage is against the law. If you think that someone rolled back an odometer, you should report the case right away. To do so, you can call the police or contact law enforcement government institutes. In the modern era, anyone can experience odometer fraud and in order to prevent legal disputes, you should know exactly what to do. 

Mileage blocker – the legal and effective device

is it possible to tamper digital odometer? Yes, and companies have gradually invented different devices to effectively change the mileage on the car. Despite many attempts all of them had the same issue: there were easily traceable. However, a team from Germany has created a Mileage Blocker. It simply stops counting up miles while a vehicle is in motion. The mileage blocker has the following advantages:

  • Easy DIY installation instructions;
  • The system does not store the information about the distance – the data is untraceable;
  • It has different modules you can choose from;
  • It has high-quality materials that are heat resistant and work in weather conditions;
  • The mileage blockers from SKF have a mobile app and you can control it via your mobile phone.

Fortunately, you can purchase the mileage blocker. Always keep in mind that the device is for testing purposes and using it on free highways is unethical. In case you need more information, you can visit the support page or contact the customer center.

Takeaway

Can digital odometer be tampered? The answer to this important question is YES. Vehicles with digital odometers are easy targets and you should avoid odometer fraud at all costs. There are plenty of illegal devices that delete the mileage on the car. The mileage blocker from SKF is a device that does not erase any data but simply stops the mileage recording process. It is the most ethical and legal method. You can buy the device online and also read more about this product.

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