A buyer might lose up to nearly 10,000 Euro for each clocked 100,000 km when buying a car in which the odometer correction has been done.
How much can you lose due to the odometer correction?
The odometer correction brings measurable benefits for the unfair seller. The autoDNA team has analysed how much exactly you might lose when buying a car with a clocked odometer if the odometer was corrected by 100,000 km.
The analysis of the impact of the odometer correction on the value of the car shows that the newer the car, the greater the impact of the odometer correction on its price. Moreover, premium brands, e.g. Audi, are much more price-sensitive to the odometer manipulations. The record-holder of the ranking prepared on the basis of the autoDNA data is Audi A6 2018. In the case of this car, each 100,000 km of the odometer correction lowers the real value of the car by nearly 10,000 Euro. The unfair sellers often want to put this loss on the uninformed buyer. You can lose way less when buying a city car of a popular brand. For example, Opel Corsa of the same year with the odometer also clocked by 100,000 km indicates a loss of a little over 2,000 Euro, which is over four times less compared to Audi A6.
For cars older than 5-6 years, the odometer correction ceases to be so important, because older cars are already past their greatest drop in value. Nevertheless, in such case you also should be cautious, as generally, the older the car, the greater the mileage. In the cars between 11-19 years old, the odometer is usually clocked by 200-300,000 km. In the case of cars old up to 10 years, it is clocked by 100-150,000 km, so in sum the loss of value might be similar for both younger and older cars.
Check the car mileage – for free and online
For nearly 3 years there has been a law in Poland which treats clocking the odometer as a crime. If changing the odometer reading has to do with misleading somebody as to the real state of the mileage, and not e.g. with replacing a faulty odometer, then such act is punishable by 5 years of imprisonment. Exercising the right is aided by the mileage records, introduced in 2014 – for 8 years already inspectors in Poland during annual controls enter the odometer readings into the Central Register of Vehicles (CEP). This means that many vehicles registered in Poland already has some odometer reading history.
In order to check a car’s odometer, you only need the registration number, the date of first registration in the country and the VIN number. Additionally, once a year the odometer may be also checked by the police during a routine control. All the factors mentioned above definitely made it more difficult to conceal clocking of the odometer. Therefore, the risk of being caught for the odometer correction has risen.
It is important to keep in might that the law does not operate retroactively, so until the end of 2019 it could have been done practically without any punishment. The imported cars recently registered in Poland do not have mileage entries from before 2014, which should of course increase along with the car exploitation. The service life in another country is a great unknown in many cases. The odometer may be clocked e.g. before registering the car in Poland. In Poland, there’s still a lot of such “lemon cars” with a clocked odometer.
What can you do when you buy a car with a clocked odometer?
If, after purchasing a car, you realise there has been an odometer correction, although you were not informed about it, you still can do something about it. If the car has been purchased from a private seller, then it is them who is responsible for the apparent or hidden flaws. So, even if they didn’t know about the odometer clocking, theoretically you could sue them. In such case, you invoke the responsibility on the basis of the Civil Code. You may request a withdrawal from the contract or a decrease in the price adequate to the odometer correction. The time-limit for filing the request is one year starting from the date of purchase, and the time-limit for the flaw notification is one month starting the day of its observation.
If you bought the car in the car lot, the case is a bit different then. Generally, you have 2 years for your claim, but sometimes car lots shorten this period up to one year. When signing a contract with a car lot, it’s always worth entering the car’s mileage, not the odometer reading, so that, should anything happen, it is easier to pursue your claims.