An odometer disclosure statement is a legal form that states that the odometer reading is accurate. Where do I get an odometer disclosure statement?
Where can I get an odometer disclosure statement?
You can get an odometer disclosure statement online without any hassle. There are state websites where you can download these legal forms. If you sign up for eForms, they have information for every state.
As someone who investigates odometer fraud, I recommend being suspicious if your car shows any signs of having a higher actual mileage than the odometer says. Electronic and not only mechanical odometers can be tampered with.
The reading on an odometer is not always accurate. Someone might tamper with it and pretend their car has fewer miles than it does.
An odometer disclosure statement states whether or not the odometer reading is correct.
How Do You Get an Odometer Disclosure Statement?
You can get an odometer disclosure statement online. Different states have different websites to get the statement.
Google odometer disclosure statement plus your state’s name.
If you want to sign up for eForms, they have odometer disclosure statements for vehicles in all states.
Why Are These Statements Important?
Cars with more miles on them have more problems and are worth less money. The odometer needs to be accurate so that no one buys a car for an unfair price. Every time someone buys or sells a car, there must be an odometer statement.
How Do Odometers Work?
Odometers measure the number of times the tires have turned and multiply that by the circumference of the tires. These numbers are converted into the miles that show on your odometer.
Since not all tires are the same size, odometers are not that accurate. Driving with tires that are not fully inflated reduces the accuracy further.
If the tires remain inflated and are of the standard size of the vehicle, odometers work a lot better.
Vehicles used to use a mechanical analog display to show how many miles a car had traveled. These were located near the speedometer and showed six or sometimes only five numbers.
Many older vehicles have these displays.
Someone who knows a little about analog odometers can open them up and tamper with the mechanical display. They can wind the odometer backward so that it shows a lower number of miles and then put it back together.
Reasonably new cars use digital odometers. Sometimes, these are always visible, like analog odometers were. Other times, they are hidden unless you select your odometer from a display that shows a few different things.
People can also tamper with electronic odometers if they know the tricks. They can hack into them and change the numbers.
Completing an Odometer Statement
When you transfer ownership of your car to someone else, you have to sign an odometer disclosure statement.
You are legally required to tell the truth about how many miles are on your car and if the odometer reading is accurate.
You’ll need to provide some other basic information like the seller’s name, zip code, seller’s address, and signature.
Different states have different rules. For example, the statements are not required for vehicles more than a decade old in California.
Part of the point is to keep a record of a vehicle’s mileage. The mileage of every car is stored in a database. Each time the car is sold, they update the database.
How High Do Odometers Go?
Usually, an odometer goes up to 999,999 miles. They cannot go up to a million or more miles because they only have six digits.
While a few cars reach a million miles, they usually break down long before then. Even if you take good care of a car, it won’t last for more than 200,000 miles. The repairs become too expensive after a certain point and people get new cars.
What is Mileage?
Mileage is the true number of miles the car has driven. The odometer reading is the same as the mileage unless the odometer has been tampered with or is inaccurate.
What is Odometer Fraud?
Odometer fraud is illegal tampering with the odometer to sell a car for more than it’s worth a. While your odometer is likely still accurate, something like 450,000 cars have their odometers tampered with each year and creating a false statement (which, by the way, can result in imprisonment).
Detecting Odometer Fraud
Look for Wear and Tear
Someone committing odometer fraud might set the odometer to show vastly fewer than the real number of miles. This is detectable because the amount of wear and tear on the car is completely inconsistent with the number of miles shown.
Not every older motor vehicle has a lot of miles – it might not be used very often. However, it is suspicious if a vehicle has a low number of miles for how old it is. Look for other signs of wear and tear that are inconsistent with the number of miles on the odometer.
Sometimes, you can tell a car’s true mileage by the wear and tear on the brake, clutch, and gas pedal. If the pedals are worn, the engine and transmission may be worn also.
Look at the Tires
A car with very few miles on it should have the same tires the car came with. A new set of tires before 20,000 miles is suspicious.
Get a Vehicle History Report
You should always get a vehicle history report for a used car. This can reveal information that the car is not worth buying. You may find information in the history report that proves the odometer is wrong.
Contact a State Agency
Car owners may lose up to a billion dollars a year to odometer fraud. If you suspect it, contact a state agency that deals with it. The NHTSA (national highway traffic safety administration) may help you.
- You can easily find an odometer disclosure statement online for free.
- An odometer statement is a legal form. When someone transfers ownership of their car to another, they are legally required to tell the truth on an odometer disclosure statement. They must state whether their odometer is accurate.
- Odometer fraud is somewhat common, so be suspicious if there is more wear and tear on your car then the odometer suggests.