Car Odometer or Od(d)ometer? Part-2

Odometer Rollback
Odometer Rollback – There is certainly a rise in odometer tampering

Continuing from the last blog, after we see the car. The moment I saw this Civic, I thought the car had really long and a hard life. I asked my friend, “Are you sure, it’s this one?” He said “Yeah! Exactly the one I was looking for.” I paused for a moment. At this point, I realized that all he wanted was a vehicle with four wheels, some boot, five seats and at a price that his bank account would permit him to spend. This Civic was a perfect match for his criteria, essentially ticking all the right boxes except one.

Whilst talking to the dealer he said “This car is company owned and driven car. It’s only 5 years old, it has clocked 25,078 kms and is for Rs.4,50,000 (Approx $7000).” Before my friend could explain the reason he chose this car, I asked the dealer, “But, the condition of the car does not match with the odometer readings? I mean look at the worn out tyres, rattling dashboard and engine swaying around.” At this point, I sensed the dealer trying hard to convince us and failing miserably, regretting his decision to not pursue accounting. At this stage, I insisted my friend to take the chassis number, registration number and odometer reading and to verify it from outside.

So, I advised him to go to any of the Honda’s service center and ask them about the car’s service history. Once he gives all the details, the center would co-operate and not judge him as someone trying to hatch a plan to steal the car.

The next day, I again get a call from him, this time in a worried tone. “This car, when it went it went last time for servicing had clocked 65,240 kms.” At this stage, my doubt was confirmed, that the dealer had rigged the odometer to show the car was in a very good condition and taken care of properly. But what really gave in was that the car looked seemingly tired, dull and was company driven. My friend called the dealer about the car, but he had finally realized that accounting was better.

An odometer reading is like going through a car’s age. The more running it has done, older and more problematic it can be later. Though, there are people (existing in small percentage) that do maintain their cars, irrespective of the kilometers covered. The questions remains how do you discover the car’s true condition if there is no guide to help you. Well, there are a few ways that will help you from getting duped –

  • Always compare the kilometers on the odometer with that of the vehicle’s maintenance & service history.
  • Ask your mechanic to inspect the car for you to compare the mileage and the wear & tear of the car.
  • Notice the condition of various car components like brake, clutch and accelerator cable and match it with the odometer reading of the car.
  • Take a good look at the tyres, to check them for wear and match it with the odometer reading.
  • Raise a doubt, if the vehicle mileage does not match with the old looking condition of the car.
  • If a car has mechanical odometer and not a digital one, check if the numbers on the odometer gauge are aligned properly, and they do not have any wobbling or gaps when you run the car.
  • Do not believe a dealer, blindly.

Share your stories, if you encountered any odometer related incident in the comment section below. Make sure to subscribe to receive updates on the blogs. If you need any help in making a car buying decision, feel free to message me.

Click on the link for Part-1 of this blog.

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Car Odometer or Od(d)ometer? Part-1

Car OdometerAfter driving through craters and finding my way through the traffic filled with Olas and Ubers that zig zag the roads of Mumbai, I reached the place for dinner with a friend of mine. Coming from an automotive background I’m often asked for suggestions and opinions on cars. This was just another day, though more interesting as it turned out. My friend asked for some suggestions as he wished to buy a second hand car. Since, this would be his first car, I said “Go for a Maruti Swift;” Generally, this does the trick as it is well-known, affordable and durable.
However, he wanted better, a car that fits his specific needs. So he replied, “Come on. You can do better. Suggest me something that fits my style.” Now I cannot really make suggestions unless I know what they need it for and their budget. Also it matters if they have prejudice to Japanese, Indian (JLR isn’t Indian, it’s just being taken over), American, Korean, European or British.
“Is your wife prone to car sickness?” I asked him and before he could answer, “How many people are going to be using the car? Do you prefer extra airbags for safety? Are the people using it overweight?” Because these are the things that matter when it comes to choosing a car. If you are prone to car sickness, opt for non-fabric seats. If driving on the highway is routine for you, then you would need those bursting pillows hidden inside your steering and the dash, so that you can thank the modern invention like an airbag for saving your life in case of accidents. I went through a full range of necessary questions and based on his answers told him that the best car for him would be a Honda Civic.
He was convinced about it and we had our dinner assuming that this topic was over for me after that. Two days later, I get a call from him saying “Would you be free to check a Civic that I have shortlisted?” I decided to help him out.
The next morning, I went with him to the dealer’s place who seemed like a guy who never really wanted to run an automobile business but instead wanted to become an accountant. He took us to the parking lot where the car was. We looked around for the car wondering where it was, the dealer said “It’s in front of you.” Now, my friend had already seen the pictures of the car before paying a visit to the dealer, so it was obvious that he would recognize the car. But, even he could not.
There is an interesting story that unfolds about the car odometer after we get in terms with the condition of the car. The part two of the blog deals with how we unearth some truths about the actual condition of the car and what how the car odometer was rigged.

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