Odometer Rollback on a Rebuilt Vehicle
As any other vehicle, a rebuilt title can have an odometer rollback or any other inconsistent mileage status. There has been a lot said about odometer tampering and how to spot in. But in relation to rebuilt vehicles it is important to realize the following.
An odometer rollback or mileage inconsistency all by itself is not a reason to total out a vehicle, although once discovered the Odometer Rollback brand or an equivalent accepted in your state should permanently remain on the title. For example, you will see TMU or True Mileage Unknown brand in California, Not Actual Mileage in a number of other states. Mileage indicates wear and increased maintenance costs, not the damage that disables the vehicle so that the insurance company prefers to pay settlement and total out the vehicle rather than repair it.
For a buyer, that all means that the vehicle with a problem odometer status rehabilitated to a Rebuilt (of another roadworthy status, depending on the state) has had a Salvage title (or was issued a Salvage Cetificate as ownership proof instead of the Title, like it is done in California) due to some major issue, other than odometer rollback - damage or theft. If the seller says that the only issue is that it has a mulfunctioning odometer or some rollback in the past which has already been registered, don't take it at face value. Dig deeper for the real cause for it may be water damage or bent frame.
Another good example of a branded title and odometer correlation is that 10-year-old and older vehicles are exempt from odometer reporting and you will see that mark on a vehicle history and in many states on the title. That simply means that the exact mileage can no longer be accurately confirmed and a lot depends on the seller's conscientiousness. However, many of such vehicles have clean titles.
How to spot odometer rollback and evalute the vehicle?
If you are considering a rebuilt vehicle you will most likely have detailed vehicle history reports on hand, which makes the task easier. In any case:
Get a vehicle history report . Today most major providers, including CARFAX and Autocheck, include service records althogether with odometer readings. More than that, you won't even have to check every mileage reading manually - the report does it for you and in case of discrepancies will display a warning in bold letters. Many of such vehicles will have an Odometer Rollback branding on their title history, which will also be displayed on the report.
Get vehicle history reports from several providers (CARFAX, Autocheck). One provider may have service & mileage records missing from another provider, that's normal because every private company uses its sources and doesn't share them with competitors. This way you'll have a more complete picture of how much your vehicle has run in between multiple time-stamps.
If you notice that the inrerior is worn but the mileage is low, suspect rollback
Check inspection stickers which should have odometer readings (on windshield, door frames, license plates) for discrepancies.
Look at the tires. Bald tires and low mileage are incompatible.
Watch out for asterisk marks on the odometer display. On some models these signs appear if the system is interfered with.
You can however tell approximately how much of the milieage is missing if you examine the history and see the point where the the reading was less than the previos one. The closer the time between the two inconsistent readings the more the chance that the actual mileage is close to the current reading plus that 'rollback gap'. Provided that the odometer is not malfunctioning and all other readings are adequate with timing, for instance, two readings taken at a year's interval are not too close.
To Err is Human...
There are cases when an odometer discrepancy in the history occurs due to a human error. It can be the case if mileage records registered altogether with service records run like this: 1000, 2434, 5343, 15444, 20044, 35756, 4010, 45322, 56423, etc. The '4010' is out of the place and then the readings run normally. So it is most likely an error, like missing last digit.
If if runs like this: 10000, 24340, 53430, 154440, 200446, 357560, 40100, 45325, 56425 etc, then it's a rollback and the mileage starting from '40100' is not actual.
The bottom line is, if you see a vehicle with a Rebuilt (Salvage) Title and it DOES have an Odometer Rollback (or a similar) brand, the odometer issue was not why it was totaled out. Search for the actual reason in the history. Mileage inconsistency delavues the vehicle because since it takes place it is impossible to know how much it ran and what the actual wear is, when you would need an overhaul or replacement for major parts. Resale and trade-in value would also be affected by wound odometer IN ADDITION to the fact that the vehicle has been totaled out.