Odometer Fraud

What is odometer fraud?

Odometer fraud is when the odometer of a vehicle is disconnected, altered or replaced for the purpose of misleading a consumer about the vehicles’ mileage. This is illegal and is an offense under the Criminal Code of Canada. The Registrar of Motor Dealers may also suspend or cancel a dealer’s license if they are found guilty of interfering with an odometer.

Note: It is legal to replace a damaged odometer. However, the odometer reading needs to be recorded before it is replaced or repaired. This must also be disclosed on the purchase agreement and in written repair records.

How can I tell if an odometer has been altered?

  • ASK the seller questions such as “how much mileage is on the car?” This will allow you to compare the mileage quoted in the advertisement, the vehicle documentation, and the seller’s answer.
  • CONFIRM the mileage on recent repair and maintenance records and compare them with the mileage on the odometer.
  • LOOK for oil change and maintenance stickers found on windows, door frames and under the hood of the car. They should have recorded odometer readings.
  • CHECK to make sure the numbers are aligned correctly and do not contain any gaps if the odometer is mechanical. Digital odometers are more difficult to check as they have no moving parts.
  • ASSESS the wear and tear of the vehicle. Ensure that the gas, brake and clutch pedals, as well as the driver’s seat, correlate with the reported mileage.
  • EXAMINE the vehicle’s tires. They should be new and original if the vehicle shows 30,000 km or less.
  • REVIEW the title and registration.
  • OBTAIN mechanical inspection records.  This will detail the mechanical condition of the vehicle. If no records are provided by the dealer, make sure to complete a pre-purchase inspection on your own.
  • STUDY a vehicle history report in detail and check for past odometer readings. The seller should provide you the report, but if not, you can order a report online. Some vehicle history reports providers are:

Helpful resources:

If you have any questions, please contact VSA Consumer Services.

NOTE: This is to provide general information and is not intended to be legal advice.