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There is a car that was bought by a relative that was over 10 years old and advertised as having only 60k mileage. This relative inspected the car before purchasing it and saw that the mileage was indeed around that number on the digital display.

Recently, after talking about car mileages, and seeing that the car, almost exactly two years later, had done 59k and was now at 119k made us wonder how the car could have done that many miles in only two years with no heavy use. This car is not used for long journeys, and as of the last year has only been in use for a few months of the year, and not much else except for short errands like shopping, pick-ups etc. We then checked the MOT history on the car and the only time the mileage was ~60k was at the year before the start of this decade, and in the month the car was bought and an MOT test was done, the mileage was at 110k, not 60k.

This lead us to believe that the car must have been clocked back for my relative to see 60k on the display. The car has never been taken on any long journeys, and hasn't really been taken outside of our city (at most maybe 4-5+ times, and only to surrounding areas). But is it possible for a car's mileage to roll back to it's correct mileage after it's been clocked?

Edit: Corrected original mileage.

Note: This question is not about determining whether a car's mileage is real, it is about determining how a car's mileage can roll back to it's correct one.

  • Possible duplicate of What clues are there to identify real mileage? – James Jenkins Aug 8 '18 at 17:17
  • @JamesJenkins It is not. This is a specific case of a car's mileage rolling back to its original one, not whether the car's mileage was tampered with (which it was). – Azxdreuwa Aug 8 '18 at 19:58
  • Need to know the make/model/year of the vehicle. The instrument cluster can be replaced on some vehicles to "roll back" mileage. On other vehicles, the mileage is stored in body computer to protect from tampering, although it's still possible. – SteveRacer Aug 9 '18 at 3:21
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It is absolutely plausible the mileage would roll back (or, would that be forward?). I've seen news casts of "investigative journalism" where the journalists have looked into whether the odometers can even be rolled back. There are tools out there which can do exactly that. As with any tools, there are some which are better than others. Inside car electronics, there are several places which store the information regarding mileage of a vehicle. Two places could be the ECU and the dashboard. If the tool which is being used does not change the mileage in all the places the data is stored, the car could show mileage as displayed on the odometer, but then later on use what is stored elsewhere to reset the odometer to display the correct mileage. It would do this "all at once". It's not like it would "catch up" to where it should be. The journalists who were doing the investigating showed how all of this worked and what you could expect when it happens. I have no personal experience of this, but have no doubt the process can happen. I would also suggest newer cars probably are harder (takes more comprehensive tools) to make it happen. The more complex the electronics, the harder it's going to be to make the changes. Leave it to some entrepreneurial young individual to figure out a way to do it, though.

  • Makes perfect sense. Nice to know that this situation can actually happen. – Azxdreuwa Aug 8 '18 at 20:07
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A saavy mechanic could do a data dump from the OBD-II data in the carputer and look for signs of use beyond what was expected. But, different cars will have different kinds of data above and beyond the minimal lawful standard, so your mileage may vary.

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