Odometer Rollback

When shopping for a used vehicle, beware of odometer rollbacks. Kentucky law states that the odometer on a vehicle cannot be disconnected or moved in order to register lower mileage. To consider whether a used vehicle seems to have low mileage for its age, a general rule for odometer mileage is approximately 14,000 miles per year. The law requires that the buyer be given a written, signed statement that the mileage recorded is correct.

Mileage disclosure statement

If the seller knows the registered mileage for a vehicle to be incorrect because the odometer has been replaced, repaired, or previously tampered with, he/she must include a statement to that effect on the mileage disclosure form. It should include the date of repair or replacement and the mileage before and afterward.

When purchasing a used vehicle, be certain you receive a mileage disclosure statement before the title is transferred. If the dealer refuses to furnish the statement, call the Consumer Protection Division and do not buy the car.

Contacting the previous owner

Before buying a used vehicle from a dealer, it is important to contact the previous owner. Kentucky law requires that, if requested, a dealer must furnish you with the name, address and phone number of the previous consumer owner of a used vehicle. This is the person who used the vehicle for personal, family or business purposes, not someone who bought the vehicle for resale. The dealer is required to place a sticker on the windshield detailing your right to contact the previous consumer owner.

You should ask the previous owner:

  • Why was the vehicle sold?
  • Has the vehicle ever been wrecked? If so, what kind of damage did it receive?
  • What was the vehicle's mileage when sold?
  • Was the vehicle new when bought?
  • If not, how many other known owners?
  • Was the vehicle regularly serviced?
  • Did the vehicle have any defects?
  • What was the gas mileage?

Discovering a rollback

Reasonable mileage shown on the odometer of a vehicle previously owned by a rental or leasing company could suggest a "rollback." If an odometer rollback is discovered after the vehicle has been purchased, the buyer is entitled to three times the actual damage or $1,500, whichever is greater, plus attorney's fees and court costs.

To establish a case of an alleged odometer rollback, contact the Consumer Protection Division, the State Police or the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Submit a copy of the purchase agreement, the title, and the odometer statement. Any additional odometer information you are able to acquire from the previous owner will be of assistance in expediting the investigation for your case.

KRS 367.990 (18) — Penalties for odometer tampering.