Your Odometer: The Key to Your Car’s Value

A vehicle’s odometer reading is one of the key factors in determining what that vehicle is worth, as it indicates the number of miles a vehicle has traveled. A vehicle with high mileage is worth less than a vehicle with low mileage. It is very important to record this number correctly every time you are required to do so.

Incorrect odometer recordings can occur for a number of reasons, including guessing and fraud. This page contains resources to help you protect your vehicle’s value and detect odometer fraud.

Preventing and Reporting Odometer Fraud

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Definitions

There are different types of odometer readings, indicated by the letters in parentheses, which may appear on a vehicle’s title:

Odometer Discrepancies

Guessing is a common cause of bad odometer readings. Take the time to record the reading on your odometer; do not guess at your odometer reading!. Proper recording can ensure that your vehicle maintains its value.

Odometer Fraud is another common cause of odometer discrepancies. It typically occurs when a seller of a used vehicle manipulates the odometer itself or records it improperly to trick the buyer into paying more for a vehicle than it is worth.

When buying a used vehicle:

You can also get a DMV Prospective Purchaser Inquiry (PPI) Report. A PPI report contains vehicle history information collected only in Virginia.

If you believe you are the victim of odometer fraud, you may:

Checking the Recorded Odometer Reading

When you present your title application (VSA 17A), DMV will check the recorded odometer reading against past readings. If there is a discrepancy, you may either:

  1. Allow DMV to hold your title while you collect evidence of the vehicle’s actual mileage. Evidence may include inspection records, maintenance records, and work orders. You may bring your evidence to the nearest DMV customer service center. You will be contacted after the evidence has been reviewed.
  2. Proceed with the transaction. The odometer reading recorded on your title will be branded “Not Actual.” This could greatly diminish the value of your vehicle.

If you had selected the first option and your evidence has been accepted, the odometer reading recorded on your title will be listed as “Actual.” If your evidence is not accepted, the odometer reading recorded on your title will be listed as “Not actual” with the higher mileage recorded.

Once DMV makes a determination regarding the odometer reading recorded on your title, it is final.

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