LONG BEACH, Calif. – AiM Mobile Inspections, evaluators of new and used vehicles, has identified a growing trend among off-lease vehicles in the Northeast: tampered digital odometers. AiM which reviews up to 9,000 off-lease vehicles each month in the region, has seen an estimated 30 percent increase since January 2011 in the number of vehicles with potential odometer tampering.
“It used to take a steady hand to manipulate an analog odometer,” said Eric Widmer, vice president of sales and operations at AiM. “Today’s criminals with computer savvy are clocking (rolling back) digital odometers at an astonishing rate. No matter if you disguise the rolled back odometer by washing the car, changing the tires and getting an oil change, we can spot these vehicles.”
AiM, with a national network of nearly 500 full-time inspectors that has conducted more than 35 million inspections since 2005, identifies digital mileage tampering by combining these techniques:
• Reviewing tires for wear and tear, if they match each other and the original manufacturer sales specifications.
• Inspecting seat, upholstery, gas pedal and brake pedal wear and tear.
• Conducting an auto history report that shows the vehicle’s paper trail as it relates to accidents, odometer issues, title brand and frame damage.
• Conducting an engine and transmission fluid analysis. Technicians scrutinize the fluid by parts-per-million, comparing data to original manufacturer’s standards to identify how the vehicle has been maintained. Results of the AiM Certified inspection show if a vehicle’s engine and transmission components have been overheated, raced, filled with additives to disguise mechanical problems or flooded.
If AiM determines that the odometer might have been tampered with, further investigation includes identifying repair and reviewing maintenance sensors status in modern cars.
With analog odometers, AiM looks for:
• Misaligned numbers, particularly ones showing larger denominations.
• Missing or misaligned screws in the dashboard around the gauge cluster.
• A replaced dashboard or entire instrument panel.
Tampering with an odometer is a federal offense and was written before the standardization of digital odometers in new vehicles. However, since 1992, Americans have purchased millions of vehicles with digital odometers that can be rolled back.
In fact, fraudsters need to look no farther than the Internet to find a YouTube video titled “Mileage Correction Tool Review Top 10.” Websites like obd2be.com sell these devices and software such as Rollback Rx 9.1 can be downloaded at dashfinder.com, odometerwizard.com and tachosoft.com.
“Consumers need to be very careful when buying a used or off-lease vehicle,” said Widmer. “If you live in a state that requires an annual smog inspection, review the recorded mileage. To be safe, have the vehicle inspected by a professional.”
About AiM (www.aimmobileinspections.com)
Long Beach, Calif.-based AiM (Alliance Inspection Management) was founded in 2005 to inspect the condition of new and used vehicles from bumper to bumper. AiM’s national team of 500 technicians are equipped with Panasonic© Toughbook© tablet computers and 3G cellular capabilities to perform comprehensive, 150-point vehicle inspections and deliver a report within 48 hours of the inspection. AiM recently launched a grading system to help customers determine the quality and condition of a car or truck. Letter grades are provided on all AiM packages (AiM Plus, AiM Preferred and AiM Certified), which includes engine oil and transmission fluid analysis with a warranty for these parts. The condition report consists of an AiM professional’s visual, mechanical and road test evaluation. Each item on the condition report is weighted based on importance to determine the grade. AiM, which has auto manufacturers, rental fleets, dealers, auction houses, finance companies and consumers among its clientele, recently performed its 35 millionth vehicle inspection.