Tampered mileage and erased warning lights rampant in used cars, buyers beware

Arif · Dec 14, 2020 01:47 PM

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Buying a used car can be great value for money. The initial depreciation has to took place and you have more choices with a smaller budget. It sounds like a no brainer, but buying a used car can also be a nightmare. Take for instance, the case of tampered mileage and “erased” warning lights.

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Photo: autoworld.com.my

Careta and Malaysian Modders have recently highlighted the issue of a used car dealer guilty of this misconduct.

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Photo: carfromjapan.com

Lower-mileage used cars are valued higher, hence the motivation to tamper with the mileage is obvious.

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What you can do to protect yourself from tampered mileage?

Check the service records of the car with the respective auto distributor.

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As for the vehicle warning lights, an easy way to tamper with it is to “erase” the light all together. Modern cars come with more electronic systems and have their respective warning lights on the gauge cluster.

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Erasing warning lights is a simple way to hide defects in the car. If not careful, you could end up with a car with failed ABS but have no idea about it.

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A check engine light could indicate some serious problems with the car, so it's not something you could ignore by just erasing the light.

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How can you protect yourself from erased warning lights?

Simple. Turn the car on and observe the warning lights on the gauge cluster. All warning lights should light up in the process of starting a car. 

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Photo: itstillruns.com

If it starts with a key, put it in the “ON” position, and if the car has a push-to-start button, press the button without applying the brakes. Pay attention to any missing warning lights.

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The lockdowns and slower economic activity has turned some sellers desperate to sell some cars. If you’re looking for a second-hand car, practice patience and the check the car thoroughly. Happy shopping!

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Arif

Writer

Previously an engineer in an automotive manufacturing company and a highway concessionaire. A part-time research student on biofuels and diesel engines. Obsessed with vehicle electrification and the future of transportation.

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