• Mileage Fraud proven to be an invisible crime

    05 July 2015

    In a new FIA Region I commissioned survey by German Automobile Association ADAC, 36 different vehicle models, from manufacturers based in the US, Europe and Asia, were analysed to discover whether or not mileage fraud can be detected with odometer tampering devices. FIA experts were unanimous: odometer tampering devices leave no trace on the frauded vehicle and detection of this crime is nearly impossible.

    It was further discovered that odometer tampering devices permit additional illegal actions to be performed on the vehicle, such as deactivating breath alcohol ignition interlock systems, switching off seatbelt reminders and resetting previously triggered airbag control units.

    In September 2014, 12 expert road patrol teams from across Europe sought to determine a vehicle’s correct mileage by means of a physical examination, without the odometer reading. Despite knowing how vehicles function inside and out, the technicians were not able to determine the vehicle’s mileage.

    Jacob Bangsgaard, Director General, FIA Region I said: “Neither expert technicians nor odometer tampering devices can definitively prove that a vehicle’s mileage has been reduced. Odometers should be definitively protected with a technical solution that would effectively lock out tampering devices. Such locks could also protect the vehicle from the deactivation of other important safety features such as seatbelt reminders or ignition interlocks.”

    The discoveries made in this study reinforce the need for a solution to mileage fraud. The FIA proposes 4 steps to effectively tackle mileage fraud:

    • Encouraging all Member States to consider the manipulation or tampering of an odometer as an offense and effectively enforce their legislation
    • Preventing tampering technically through revising vehicle type approval legislation or getting a voluntary commitment of the vehicle manufacturing industry in the European Union
    • Setting up a European electronic platform to exchange mileage data – in compliance with data protection legislation – making mileage data broadly available to European citizens buying motor vehicles, in particular cross border
    • Supporting specific campaigns by the European Commission and Member States aiming to raise citizens’ awareness about this issue when buying a used car



    About Mileage fraud
    Mileage fraud takes place when a vehicle’s odometer has been tampered with to lower the number of kilometres a car has been driven. The crime of mileage fraud affects the public at large, by artificially elevating the cost of used vehicles, sometimes by thousands of Euros. It is a crime that is also estimated to affect up to 40% of used cars in Europe. As fighting mileage fraud in one country often ends up shifting the problem to neighbouring countries, an international solution must be found. Read more about the FIA’s campaign against mileage fraud.

    About FIA Region I
    FIA Region I is a consumer body representing 111 Motoring and Touring Clubs and their 38 million members from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

    The FIA represents the interests of our members as motorists, riders, pedestrians and passengers. FIA Region I is working to ensure safe, affordable, clean and efficient mobility for all. www.fiaregion1.com

    Andrea Campbell
    Communications Manager,
    FIA Region I
    +32 2 282 0813