Automotive theft has grown steadily in recent years, moving to the forefront of vehicle-related problems most of us are concerned about, in addition to distracted drivers and reliability. But there’s another issue that Ford Mustang owners should apparently be worried about as well – odometer fraud. A recent study from Car Vertical found that the Mustang is one of the top 20 “clocked” vehicles across the globe, which means that the odometer has been altered to make it look like a vehicle has less miles than it has actually traveled.
In the U.S. alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with altered odometers, a crime that costs customers around $1 billion annually. Vehicles with lower miles obviously sell for more money than higher-mileage examples, which is what motivates dishonest folks to commit odometer fraud.
Car Vertical analyzed over 700,000 used car history reports generated between November 2020 and November 2021 from 18 different counties to come up with its top 20 list of most clocked vehicles, which is dominated by German makes and models. A whopping 33.6 percent of BMW M5 models included in the study had altered odometers, and BMW vehicles make up around half of the top 20 list in total.
Meanwhile, the Ford Mustang ranked ninth at 25.9 percent, a still-significant number that should serve as a major warning for anyone looking to purchase a used pony car. According to Car Vertical, the most clocked model years of the Mustang are 2014, 2015, and 2016. Coincidentally, the Mustang became a global model when the S550 generation launched for the 2015 model year.
Odometer fraud is a common crime because it’s extremely easy to commit, and the rewards can be high. However, there are ways that consumers can avoid purchasing a vehicle that’s been clocked. Those looking to buy a used vehicle should always compare the odometer reading to the mileage listed on the car’s title, and look to see if the title appears altered in any way. It also helps to look over maintenance and inspection records, as well as oil change stickers, the condition of the tires, and overall wear and tear to see if it matches the vehicle’s mileage. Finally, obtaining a vehicle history report might cost a few dollars, but it could also save buyers thousands in the long run.