Odometer correction - infographic

Odometer correction – how much can you lose?

13 February 2023

Odometer correction is one of the many tricks of dishonest car dealers. Unfortunately, it is still not difficult to get a car with a clocked odometer. The extent of this phenomenon is evidenced by data from the autoDNA database, containing billions of records on cars registered in Poland and abroad.

In 2022, in the vehicle history reports generated by autoDNA, discrepancies reached as much as 2.5 billion km, and on average nearly 250 reports containing this type of data were generated daily. From a few hundred euros to 6,000 euros. That’s how much you can lose by buying a car with a corrected odometer for every 50.000 or 100.000 km of “hidden” mileage.


Odometer correction the most in the Audi A6

The autoDNA analysts analyzed billions of mileage records and looked at how much you could lose by buying a car with the odometer clocked by 50.000 km and 100.000 km. The average loss of value in the case of a used Audi A6 is more than EUR 2100 for the correction of the odometer by 50.000 km and nearly EUR 3100 if the car is clocked by 100.000 km. For comparison, the similar loss for the Ford Fiesta is nearly 400 EUR (50.000 km) and just over EUR 700 (100.000 km).



The least price sensitive model with a 100.000 km correction is another representative of the urban segment – the Opel Corsa. With such interference, its value decreases by EUR 653. The amounts for clocking the odometer by 100.000 km are similar for Volkswagen Golf (EUR 1325) and Passat (EUR 1428) as well as Audi A4 (EUR 1413). It is worth noting that for the compact Astra the loss is EUR 979, i.e. by approx. EUR 380 less than in the case of the Golf. According to the autoDNA statistics, the Ford Focus loses a lot compared to these – as much as EUR 1662, which is more by EUR 234 than even the Passat which is higher by a class.


Audi A6 and Ford Focus – cars sensitive to odometer correction

In terms of individual years, the highest loss at the correction by 100.000 km was recorded by the Audi A6 from 2016 – EUR 6 300, and the smallest, amounting to only EUR 234, Ford Fiesta from 2014. If the odometer is clocked by 50.000 km, the infamous record holder is, again, the Audi A6 from 2016, in the case of which such interference reduces the value by EUR 4 000. Here, at the other end, there is also the 2012 Ford Fiesta, for which such manipulation causes a loss of EUR 234. Ford Focus is very sensitive to the odometer correction, for which clocking 100.000 km on the odometer causes a loss of as much as EUR 1662.


Odometer correction


The odometer correction is potentially high service costs

The nominal value by which the price of a car with a corrected odometer is lowered is not all. This type of cars are usually quite worn out. The condition of the engine, which actually shows, for example, 400.000 km, instead of 250.000-300.000, may qualify it for expensive repairs, including overhaul. That’s why it’s so important to inspect your vehicle with the autoDNA vehicle history reports before buying it.


How to check car mileage online?

For nearly 4 years, there has been a law in Poland which treats the odometer clocking 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 even 5 years of imprisonment. Enforcement of these regulations helps to keep a record of the meter since 2014 – diagnostics in Poland for 9 years during the annual, routine technical inspection, have entered the state of the meter in the Central Register of Vehicles. This means that many vehicles registered in Poland already have a history of odometer readings, although in the case of cars older than 10 years it may be incomplete. The register, available for anyone interested at, allows checking the mileage and the odometer reading at each subsequent car service starting from 2014 before purchasing a car.

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. In addition, for two years, the Police have had the right to check the mileage during a routine inspection. In this case, the register also contain a relevant entry – in addition to the odometer entered by the diagnostician, you can find also the state entered by the Police. All the factors mentioned above definitely have 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 mind that the law is not retroactive, so until the end of May 2019, it could have been done practically without any punishment. The history of the odometer readings states should show the obvious – along with the exploitation in the following years, the odometer readings should be higher and higher. In the case of imported cars, the mileage can be corrected, for example, before registering the car in the country. In this case, the autoDNA vehicle history report may help, because when buying a used car from import, it is better to assume that there are still a lot of “lemon cars” with clocked odometers.


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 had not been 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.


It is good to know

When buying and selling a vehicle, it is always worth free VIN lookup using the autoDNA vehicle history report, the market-leading provider of the VIN decoding tool. The VIN number is sufficient to check, among others, damage to the vehicle, including total loss, collisions, recorded odometer readings, and archive photos. VIN check is simple, quick and can save you from the huge expenses associated with the purchase of a lemon-car.




Odometer correction - how much can you lose?
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Odometer correction - how much can you lose?
Odometer correction is one of the many tricks of dishonest car dealers. Unfortunately, it is still not difficult to get a car with a clocked odometer. The extent of this phenomenon is evidenced by data from the autoDNA database, containing billions of records on cars registered in Poland and abroad.
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