Regulation

New NHTSA odometer disclosure rule goes into effect January 1

Odometer fraud costs American car buyers more than $1 billion annually.

Photo by Getty Images

You've seen it mocked on the silver screen. A car's odometer displays high mileage and in order to get fewer miles displayed, the villas runs the car in reverse trying to get the miles off of it. Nowadays, that sort of trickery doesn't work, instead giving way to more sophisticated odometer fraud.

January 1 doesn't just mark the beginning of the new year. It also marks the beginning of a new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rule regarding odometers in regard to title transfers.

Starting January 1, 2021, odometer disclosures will be required for every vehicle transfer of ownership for the first 20 years of the model's life, beginning with Model Year 2011 vehicles. Model Year 2010 and older vehicles will continue to be subject to the previous 10-year disclosure requirements. Sellers of Model Year 2011 vehicles must continue to disclose odometer readings until 2031.

The aim of the measure is to address an increase in odometer fraud involving older vehicles.

The NHTSA defines odometer fraud as the "disconnection, resetting, or alteration of a vehicle's odometer with the intent to change the number of miles indicated". They estimate that more than 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with false odometer readings, a crime that is estimated to cost American car buyers more than $1 billion annually, according to the agency.

On its website, the NHTSA offers the following tips for detecting odometer fraud:

  • Examine the vehicle's title and compare the mileage on it with the vehicle's odometer.
  • Compare the mileage on the odometer with the mileage indicated on the vehicle's maintenance or inspection records, including stickers on the windshield and door.
  • Check to see if the numbers on the analog odometer are aligned correctly. NHTSA advises, "If they're crooked, contain gaps or jiggle when you bang on the dash with your hand, walk away from the purchase."
  • Check for wear and tear that is consistent with the vehicle's age and where it was stored and driven. Vehicles with under 20,000 miles on the odometer typically have the car's original tires while newer models won't have nearly as much wear and tear on the car's accelerator and brake pedals.
  • Request a vehicle history report and check the odometer for inconsistencies.
The agency says that buyers who suspect fraud should contact their state's enforcement agency.

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The Ford Mustang Mach-E did not perform as well as the Volvo XC40 Recharge in IIHS testing.

Photo courtesy of IIHS

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has released the results of its latest round of crash testing, which includes two new-to-market electric vehicles (EVs), the 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge and 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. The Volvo earned a Top Safety Pick+ designation while the Ford got a Top Safety Pick award.

The 2021 XC40 Recharge joins the Audi E-Tron, Audi E-Tron Sportback, and Tesla Model 3, all EVs, that have received 2021 Top Safety Pick+ designation.

"It's fantastic to see more proof that these vehicles are as safe as or safer than gasoline- and diesel-powered cars," says IIHS President David Harkey. "We can now say with confidence that making the U.S. fleet more environmentally friendly doesn't require any compromises in terms of safety."

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge IIHS crash test

Photo courtesy of IIHS

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In order to earn a 2021 Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must get all Good ratings in each of the six IIHS crashworthiness tests — driver- and passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. Winners must also be available with Good or Acceptable headlights and a front crash prevention system that earns Advanced or Superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

To qualify as a Top Safety Pick+ award winner, vehicles must come with Good or Acceptable headlights across all trim levels and packages in addition to the Top Safety Pick criteria.

The XC40 Recharge's adaptive LED reflector headlights, which are installed on every XC40 Recharge model. The SUV's standard front crash prevention system also earns Superior and Advanced scores in the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to- pedestrian evaluations, respectively.

Ford sells the Mustang Mach-E with Good-rated LED projector headlights on Premium, GT, and First Edition trim levels. However, LED reflector headlights that are on the Mustang Mach-E Select and California Route 1 grades are rated as Marginal, which prevented the Mustang from earning the top-tier rating. IIHS found that these headlights provided inadequate illumination around curves.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E IIHS crash test

Photo courtesy of IIHS

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The Mach-E's standard front crash prevention system earned Superior ratings in both the vehicle- to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

A recent study of electric and internal combustion engine vehicles from 2011 to 2019 by the IIHS-affiliated Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found that rates of injury claims related to the drivers and passengers of electric vehicles were more than 40 percent lower than for identical conventional models over 2011-19.

HLDI points to the weight of EVs as being one of the key drivers of this statistic. Large batteries that are required to run EVs are substantially heavier than traditional powertrain components. Occupants of heavier vehicles are exposed to lower forces in multi-vehicle crashes.

The XC40 Recharge has a curb weight of 4,787 pounds, compared with 3,811 pounds for the conventional model. The Mustang Mach-E weighs 4,516 pounds.

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The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a desirable car for enthusiasts of all ages.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

In 2020, Americans were given a lot of time to sit at home and distract themselves by surfing the web. Often, they found themselves daydreaming about owning a classic or collector car.

Hagerty has released some interesting results of a survey of the company's web traffic during that period, detailing which vehicles had their quotes searched for the most and what age groups were doing the searching. Scroll down to see the results.

2000-2006 BMW M3 (E46)

BMW E46 Convertible

The E46 generation BMW M3 was available as a coupe or a cabriolet.

Photo courtesy of BMW

Gen-Xers and Millennials are looking hard at the BMW M3s of the early 2000s. Seventy-eight percent of the quotes Hagerty received were from that age group.

The E46 edition of the car was produced as a coupe and a convertible, getting its power from the last of the S54 straight-six engines BMW produced. The automaker sold the model in a variety of special editions but the CSL was never brought to market in North America.

1997-2004 Porsche Boxster

Boxster (986), 1996

Porsche introduced the Boxster in 1996.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

The Porsche Boxster celebrated a big birthday this year, but last year it was the first-generation model that was on the minds of browsers. Boomers represented 51 percent of the quotes for the Boxster followed by 33 percent by Gen-X.

The mid-engine Boxster was Porsche's first road vehicle to be originally designed as a roadster since the 914, which was in production from 1969 to 1976. A couple different engine choices were available for the first-gen Boxster when it was new and the model underwent a mid-generation update for the 2002 model year.

1984-1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

1989 Jeep Wagoneer

This 1989 Jeep Wagoneer sold for over $100k at Barrett-Jackson.

Photo courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer's popularity is picking up just as Jeep announced that they're bringing the SUV back. The new Grand Wagoneer is expected later this year.

Hagerty reported that 65 percent of all quotes for the vintage version of the SUV were from Gen-X and Millennial buyers - the target market for the new one as well.

1993-2002 Pontiac Firebird

Pontiac Firebird

The Pontiac Firebird was discontinued just before the Great Recession hit causing the brand to fold.

Photo by Ken Morris/Shutterstock.com

The final generation of the Pontiac Firebird is still turning heads, nearly 20 years after it left the market. During the pandemic, 63 percent of the quotes that were searched for are from Gen-X and Millennials

1990-1998 Mazda MX-5 Miata

2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The third-generation Mazda Miata went out of production six years ago.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Gen-X and Millennials represented 56 percent of all quotes for the second- and third-generation Mazda Miata. The second-gen MX-5 debuted in 1997 and was put on sale for the 1999 model year. This was the generation that got rid of the pop-up headlights.

The third-gen Miata was in production from 2005 to 2015. Design-wise, the car stayed pretty true to its roots but there was one notable innovation. This generation was the first to have a retractable hardtop variant.

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