Second Hand Odometer Fraud Motoring Minute News

The NSW government through their police department issued a press release saying that with the boom in second-hand car sales, due to supply difficulties with new cars, there has been a fourfold increase in fines issued for odometer fraud.


The numbers are not big – they have risen from 22 to 76 in a year which by our calculation is nearer to a three-fold increase rather than a four-fold jump as claimed, but any fraud is a bad thing.

Modern digital odometer systems are very hard, if not impossible to tamper with

It is more likely that a fraud could be committed when a system is replaced.


Car companies typically have very strong protocols when issuing a replacement part. Kia for example will not send out a new part unless you submit documentation on the existing odometer reading and then they code in the kilometre reading before they send it out

Any registered sales organisation such as a dealer or general car yard is under close scrutiny

Private sales are harder to police and a longer-term trend has been the increasing dominance of private sales because of the ease of advertising through e-Bay, gumtree or even specific motoring sites (there is nothing wrong with this as a process but it is more difficult to try and identify if a seller is being fraudulent)

On the other hand, many people (particularly adventurers including grey nomads) are very proud of the distance they have travelled

If you are looking to buy a second-hand car, the Fair Trading department in each state should have a detailed checklist of what you should do to minimise the chance of being cheated.

The progression toward electric vehicles, leading to a decline in fuel revenue, and the professional support for a road user charge will lead to new ways of recording the distance (and location) a vehicle travels.

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About David Brown 585 Articles
David’s boyhood passion for motor cars did not immediately lead to a professional role in the motor industry. A qualified Civil Engineer he specialised in traffic engineering and transport planning. What followed were various positions including being seconded to a government think-tank for the planning of transport firstly in Sydney and then for the whole of NSW. After working with the NRMA and as a consultant he moved to being an independent writer and commentator on the broader areas of transport and the more specific areas of the cars we drive. His half hour motoring program “Overdrive” has been described as an “informed, humorous and irreverent look at motoring and transport from Australia and overseas”. It is heard on 22 stations across Australia. He does weekly interviews with several ABC radio stations and is also heard on commercial radio in Sydney. David has written for metropolitan and regional newspapers and has presented regular segments on metropolitan and regional television stations. David is also a contributor for AnyAuto