ST. LOUIS – “When we look at the St. Louis area, CARFAX estimates there’s about 12,600 vehicles on the road today that have a rolled back odometer,” said Emilie Voss with CARFAX.

Voss says odometer manipulation did not go away with the advent of the digital dashboard. CARFAX data suggests more than 1.9 million vehicles on the road have had their odometers rolled back, a 7% increase over last year.

“Once I alter this, you’re not going to be able to go back and trace it through hooking up a scan tool or anything a mechanic would use,” said Josh Ingle, owner of Atlanta Speedometer.

Ingle said that with the right equipment, odometer fraud can happen in seconds.

“150,000 on there right now. At the count of three, I’ll push the button to program the mileage that I’ve input,” he said. “One. Two. Three. You’ll see the display change, and it goes right to 50,000 miles. It’s that fast, and the number is locked into this car. I can unplug the tool, and there is no trace this ever happened without looking at vehicle wear.”

“On average, we see the impact to value is about $4,000 if the vehicle has a rolled back odometer,” Voss said.

CARFAX recommends that people looking to buy a used car use the company’s vehicle history reports and have a trusted, trained mechanic check out the car before buying.

“They can see if there is wear and tear on that vehicle, whether it be the gas and brake pedals,” Voss said. “Or something more mechanical about the vehicle that is showing signs of age that doesn’t match what they’re seeing on the odometer reading.”