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ODPS Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Odometer Tampering
ODPS | BMV | Citizens Advisory Committee
Per Ohio Revised Code (4549.41 to 4549.51), resetting, disconnecting or altering a vehicle's odometer to conceal the true mileage is known as odometer tampering. No person shall adjust, alter, change, tamper with, advance, set back, disconnect or fail to connect an odometer of a motor vehicle, or cause any of these to occur with the intent to alter the number of miles registered on the odometer. It is illegal for anyone to engage in odometer tampering or sell a vehicle knowing the odometer has been altered without informing the purchaser.
Fraudulent Devices No person shall advertise for sale, sell, use or install on any part of a vehicle or an odometer any device which causes the odometer to register any mileage other than the actual mileage driven.
Disconnected Odometer No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any public street, road or highway in Ohio, knowing the odometer on the vehicle is disconnected or nonfunctional.
Transfer No person shall transfer a motor vehicle if they know or disregard facts indicating the odometer of the vehicle has been changed, altered, tampered with or disconnected to reflect a lower mileage, without disclosing those facts to the purchaser in writing.
Failure to Provide Statement No owner shall fail to provide the true and complete odometer disclosures required by section 4505.06 of the Ohio Revised Code.
ODPS | BMV
Violating the Law
A first offense is a fourth-degree felony, which carries a penalty of 6 to 18 months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
A second offense is a third-degree felony, which carries a penalty of one to five years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
ODPS | BMV
If you suspect a vehicle’s odometer has been tampered with, please call the hotline number for odometer rollback fraud at 1-800-686-2587. Calls will be answered on a 24-hour basis and referred to the BMV Investigations Section for follow-up. Citizens calling should be prepared to give pertinent information and complete a complaint form for the investigation.
ODPS | BMV
Examine the vehicle thoroughly before purchase.
Observe excessive wear on the brake pedal, accelerator, ignition and door keyholes.
Try to contact the previous owner. Do a title search through the county title department or with the BMV. Due to privacy laws, however, the previous owner's name and address will not be revealed. Information that will be made available include: year, make, model, body code, mileage, lien holders, purchase price and any BRANDS. There is a fee for this service.
If the vehicle was previously titled out of state, seriously consider checking further with the issuing state before purchasing the vehicle.
Simple inexpensive tools can be used to spin or erase odometer figures. Odometer "spinners" know how to launder a vehicle's title history by transferring the ownership from state to state, making it difficult for investigators to trace the fraud.
Ask the seller questions, and be skeptical if the seller is being evasive
The following publication is available only in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). Click HERE to download the PDF Reader. If you already have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, click on a hyperlink to access the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws.