Vehicle odometer tampering?

Last October 1st I bought a 2008 Ford Ranger. The truck had 50,000 kilometers on it when I bought it and looked to be in exceptional condition. It had a fiberglass topper on it and a very high end aftermarket sound system, and I got a great deal on it from a large dealership. I have put 20,000 kilometers on it since I bought it.The thing I am starting to worry about is that in the last two months I have had to put a new U-Joint and front rotors on it. Last month I had it in some mud helping a friend transport sods and when it was in 4WD in seemed like it had no power and was sluggish, almost like what happens when traction control kicks in. I am really starting to question the authenticity odometer reading. What I want to know is…is there any way to find out if the odometer has been tampered with or replaced?

As a side note the guy who owned the truck before me was the service manager at the dealership.

Carfax can sleuth that out for you. I’m not sure about how they get their info, but when a car is brought in for service there is an odometer reading associated with the VIN, date of service, and what is done. It picks up on a lower odometer reading at a later date and gives a rollback alert. Of course Carfax is only as effective as the data they get, but they’ve been around for a while and seem to have plenty of data on most cars. Woth a shot. Alternatively, it could just be that it’s a Ford. :wink:

Lol, that’s what I was thinking! My 2000 Blazer plow truck with 250,000 klms seems to work better and less maintenance.

At 70,000 Km there might be some routine maintenance overdue. Have you checked to see when such things like the spark plugs, air filter, fuel filter, and transmission fluid changes are due and have they been done?

If you are in the mud in 4WD, you probably need to go with the severe maintenance schedule.

In Pennsylvania odometer readings are recorded yearly as part of state inspection. I’m not sure how you would go about getting the information, though.

(This was pointed out to me by a mechanic when he inspected my first car, a VW Beetle. I had only put 4 miles on the odometer in the year between my two inspections, and he mentioned it to spare me grief. He fudged the numbers a bit and I kept the cable attached from then on.)

The trouble with the CarFax is that it depends on what people report. If the previous owner had premeditated this plan, being a service manager he could simply have never punched in the mileage.

But that seems pretty unlikely. Odometer fraud is pretty close to unheard of these days, partly because it’s easy to detect with CarFax, but mostly because cars last so long these days that mileage simply doesn’t affect the value of a used car enough for an odometer rollback scam to be worth the risk.

So, with that in mind, I doubt having trouble with the car is an indication of the mileage being wrong. In fact, I find that a car with unusually low mileage (which 55k km’s on an '08 is) is sometimes even more likely to have problems because that indicates a lot of sitting and plus for whatever reason people tend not to follow the time-based maintenance intervals as much as the mileage-based ones.

I don’t think maintenance is an issue, I think I may have put 1 or 2 sets of plugs in my Blazer with no issues. That was the first time I had the Ford in the mud and it was just some mud on a path that I sank in about to about the bottom of the rim. I have been working on and building my own vehicles for over thirty years and this truck just seems to not work as well as it should. Last year I sold a 2001 Sunfire with 91,000 klms on it and it no major issues all the time my little old lady Aunt had it, then my wife drove it for a few years and all I had to do was some routine maintenance and replace a section of the wiring harness that is known to go on these cars.
Our inspections are every two years and they do record the mileage, but I have no idea how I could get that information.

How is a truck sinking in mud the fault of the vehicle? Maybe it’s the mud, or the tires?

And having a vehicle with trouble-free 91,000km (56,000mi) on it isn’t remarkable. I’ve owned 4 Fords and all have made it well over 160,000km (100,000mi) with no repair or maintenance other than oil changes and tires. I didn’t even need to change the brake pads on my Ford Contour until over 100,000 miles. Both my Contour and Mustang had 289,000km (180,000 miles) on them on the original clutches when I sold them.


Did you even read my post?

Well, slogging through the mud isn’t exactly a controlled test. Why don’t you try finding a big gravel parking lot or something similar where it’s slippery enough to use 4wd but not nasty enough to put up a fight and see how the truck handles in 4wd there?

Dumb question: does it have the kind of odometer where you can be sure it says 50,000 km rather than 50,000 miles?

Your mechanic saved your butt:


…Does it have a button to disable traction control so that you can make better progress in mud ?

Yep, it’s definitely in klm’s

It doesn’t have traction control, but if you have ever had your wheels spin in a cheap front wheel drive with traction control on, it’s like the acceleration stops and it just kind of bogs along, that’s what the truck felt like.

The snow will be here soon enough to test it.

It almost seemed like a transmission problem, but as per my original post I just would not expect to see all these problems with a vehicle with only 70,000 kilometers on it and the only thing that makes sense to me is that someone had either tampered with the odometer or the truck is a piece of shit.