Spot a Roll-Back

Learn tips to help you spot a rolled back odometer

Rolled-back odometers are common in vehicles sold by curbsiders or dishonest private sellers. Devices capable of reprogramming the odometer are readily available, as well as online ads for odometer correction services. This has resulted in vehicles with rolled-back odometers increasingly being offered for sale online.

Spot a roll-back

Identifying an altered odometer can be very difficult. But there are steps car buyers can take that may help spot them.

Utilize reports with historical odometer readings

A Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) available from ServiceOntario or a CARFAX history report may contain historical odometer readings. Carefully review these reports before agreeing to purchase from a private seller.

Private sellers in Ontario are required by law to provide a UVIP to a car buyer. However, you may want to obtain your own as some sellers have altered a UVIP to remove odometer or lien information.

Odometer readings reported on the UVIP are unverified, so minor discrepancies (e.g., a reported reading that is slightly higher than what is shown on the odometer) can exist and does not necessarily indicate a roll back.

Have the vehicle inspected

A pre-purchase inspection by an experienced mechanic or technician may uncover evidence (e.g., unusual wear) that indicates a roll-back. They can also alert a car buyer to mechanical issues the seller did not disclose, or was not aware of.

Learn to spot warning signs

Vehicles with rolled-back odometers can display signs of advanced wear that are inconsistent with the mileage on the vehicle. This could include:

  • Worn upholstery or steering wheel
  • Worn suspension components
  • Pitted/sand-blasted looking windshield
  • Worn rubber pad(s) on brake, gas, or clutch pedal(s)

Failure by an OMVIC-registered dealer to disclose that a vehicle’s odometer does not reflect the true distance a vehicle has travelled, is grounds for cancellation of a contract within 90 days of delivery. Car buyers who suspect the odometer of a vehicle purchased from an OMVIC-registered dealer has been rolled back, should contact our consumer support team.

Car buyers who purchase a rolled-back vehicle from a curbsider or private seller are not protected by OMVIC. Often the only recourse for private purchasers is to find the seller and sue them in civil court.