Don't Go Metric on Your Odometer

As most of our readers should know, Federal and State Laws require that you state the mileage in connection with the transfer of ownership.  There are significant penalties (including prison) for tampering with or rolling back a vehicle's odometer.  Odometer tampering results in consumer harm as it misrepresents a vehicle's actual value.  However, odometer mistakes can also cause financial harm to a dealer when errors occur when recording a vehicle's odometer.

Ever notice how most vehicles have speed and distance settings in both miles and kilometers?  Well most modern cars have settings for both miles and kilometers as vehicles are manufactured for consumers in Europe, Mexico, and Canada.  Consumers along the border may set their vehicles in kilometers …even if driving in the United States.  What happens if a vehicle comes in to your lot on a trade or via auction and nobody catches this kilometer setting discrepancy?

What if the vehicle is later inspected in kilometers prior to retail sale and the inspector notes a “higher” mileage than the actual miles? (Fyi, there are more kilometers to each mile). What do you do?  You need to correct the odometer recording via a correction as soon as possible. This was previously accomplished by utilizing the DMV VTR 40.  However, that form has not been available since 2011.  According to Clint Thompson at Texas DMV “When an odometer reading has been recorded in error, we require a statement of fact from both parties where the error occurred explaining the odometer discrepancy.”

There are two reasons for an odometer discrepancy:
1. The mileage stated is in excess of its mechanical limits.
2. The odometer reading is not the actual mileage.


If after the sale, it takes two to correct.  The seller and purchaser must work together to correct the mileage. According to Clint Thompson at Texas DMV “the odometer reading recorded on the title and acknowledged by the purchaser is ultimately what we are required to issue a title based on.”
Moral of the story?  If you attempt to correct an odometer error after a repossession with a former customer that does not want to provide you any favors, you may be too late…..and will be forced to make all future customers aware of the discrepancy on the VTR 130-U as “Not Actual” mileage.  This may cause red flags in the minds' of future customers or even at auction.


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