The most trafficked cars at the meters revealed by carVertical

When it comes to buying a used car, it's usually a tricky process. Many drivers are looking for the best compromise. The ideal car is both affordable and as new as it gets. The general condition of the car is often described by the mileage. But this is often forgotten or simply overlooked. This can result in buyers spending much more than the actual value of the car if the mileage is tampered with.

Why is it important to check a car's mileage before buying?

Every vehicle manufactured has an odometer that indicates the number of miles or kilometers traveled by a specific car in its lifetime. The odometer reading reflects the wear and tear of each car. Yet mileage is often tampered with and this results in unpredictable running costs. A car can go from a good deal to a financial disaster in seconds. For example, a car with a loss of 100,000 miles or kilometers can be unpredictable and very expensive to maintain. It will also be junk when it comes to reselling it in the future.

Research methodology

carVertical, the company that checks car history by VIN, has conducted research to find out which cars are tampered with the most. Data was collected from carVertical's extensive database. The list showed the percentage of cars with six tampered meters by model - based on all car models analyzed.

Over half a million reports have been analyzed in the past 12 months (October 2019 to October 2020). carVertical has collected data on different markets around the world, including: Poland, Romania, Hungary, France, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Serbia, Germany, Croatia, Russia and United States of America.

The TOP 15 car models with the most tampered with

Here is the list of the most commonly tampered with speedometer car models. Used car buyers should check mileage online before proceeding with a transaction.

The following results show that German cars are among the most regularly tampered with metered vehicles. Another interesting observation is the segmentation of cars. Premium segment cars are much more often tampered with than economy class cars. The luxurious BMW 7 Series and X5 are the most likely to be tampered with at the speedometers by unscrupulous dealers. Buyers of luxury cars can face serious financial problems if the car they have purchased has been the target of mileage fraud.

Comparison of car models to the most tampered with speedometers by year of production

One of the key factors in a car's mileage is age. Older cars tend to have their speedometers tampered with more often. The study found that most of the tampered premium vehicles are older than the economy class cars.

As the data shows, older Premium class cars are the most affected by mileage fraud. The most popular BMWs are tampered with at the meters between 10 and 15 years old. Mercedes-Benz E-class models generally see their odometer roll back for 2002-2004 models. It's an older choice for scam auto dealers.

Economy class cars with tampered meters are slightly newer. Data from Volkswagen Passat, Skoda Superb and Skoda Octavia models show that these cars are most often tampered with at the speedometers during their first decade on the road.

Comparison of the most heavily tampered with car models by fuel type

Diesel vehicles are designed to cover much greater distances and this leads to a higher ratio of tampered cars to meters. It is very common to see vehicles imported from Western European countries having driven over 300,000 miles / kilometers. With a lowered odometer, the value of these cars can be increased dramatically.

The data showing the cars tampered with by fuel type reflects the specific selection of cars in Central and Eastern Europe. Drivers in Western countries sell vehicles with high mileage and expensive maintenance. These cars with false odometer readings usually land in countries east of Europe.

Some cars, like the Audi A6, Volkswagen Touareg, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class are almost all diesel engines. There are only a few percent of rhythmic gasoline variants. The massive gap between the different types of fuel means there is a lower risk of getting a gasoline car with tampered mileage.

Comparison of cases of cars tampered with at meters by country

The most common mileage fraud can be spotted in Central and Eastern Europe. Western countries suffer less from the problem of the odometer rollback.

The main problems related to the visible reduction in mileage are observed in the markets where used cars are imported from Western Europe. In Romania and Latvia, one in ten cars is likely to have had their mileage reduced.


Mileage fraud affects the auto market by overstating the price of hundreds of thousands of cars each year. This means that used car buyers are tricked into spending too much money on their car and the money usually ends up on the black market.

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