Ore. bill would prevent dealers from rolling back used car mileage

Ore. bill would prevent dealers from rolling back used car mileage »Play Video
A buyer searches through long lines of unsold 2007 Camry sedans at a Toyota dealership in Boulder, Colo. (Fie photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Monty King is passionate about Oregon House Bill 3137.

“We’re talking about odometer fraud. Is there other dealers doing it? You bet there are,” said King, who is the president of the Oregon Vehicle Dealers Association. “I’m gonna bring this bill back to the legislature session after session after session until you pass it.”

A KATU Problem Solvers investigation in 2010 inspired the bill to stop dealers from using a common trick: rolling back the mileage on used cars.

Right now, the Oregon DMV does not keep track of mileage on cars that are more than 10 years old. That means if you’re buying a used car, you may have to trust that the seller – and the odometer – are telling the truth.

The DMV started keeping track of mileage in 1990, when there were fewer older cars on the road. Now, the average car is nearly 11 years old.

The bill would require the DMV to keep odometer records on every car from the last time it was bought or sold. King says honest car dealers want the DMV to keep track.

“We want everybody to do it because that’s what gets rid of the bad guys,” he said.

Amy Joyce with the Oregon Department of Transportation said keeping those additional records would require an upgrade at the DMV.

“The current system has the computer system set up in a way to only accept certain numbers,” said Joyce. “So if the bill passes, the computer system needs to be changed and it costs money to change the computer system.”

Joyce said that cost would be about $80,000. For King, that’s not too much.

“For less than a penny a person in the state of Oregon, a one-time fee, we can do better,” he said.

The bill is currently on the agenda of the House transportation committee. There was a public hearing on Monday, although future action has not yet been scheduled.