Bureau of Investigation & Identity Protection


When is an odometer disclosure required?

Depending on the age of the vehicle you’re buying, the seller may be required to provide an odometer disclosure statement verifying the mileage. A change in federal regulations that took effect on Jan. 1, 2021, extends the vehicle age required to provide an odometer statement. The new rule begins with the model year 2011 and newer vehicles.

Until the year 2031, all vehicles of the model year 2011 or newer must have an odometer disclosure. Beginning in 2031, all vehicles less than 20 model years old will be required to have an odometer statement when transferring a title.

How do I complete an Odometer Correction, if an error is made on a title?

Your certificate of title for your vehicle establishes legal ownership, so it is very important that all the information is correct when you complete the document. An odometer is an instrument on your vehicle that records the number of miles the vehicle has traveled. You can find the odometer's readout on your vehicle's dashboard. State and federal law require the seller to disclose the mileage to the buyer. In Iowa, this is done on the title document. Other states may allow this to be done electronically if they have adopted an online electronic odometer disclosure system.

If you make a mistake on this odometer disclosure, we may be able to correct the mistake, but this is not always possible. In addition, we may be able to correct an odometer error that is typed onto the face of a previously issued Iowa title. However, we cannot correct odometer errors typed onto the face of an out-of-state title, so your foreign title would need to be returned to the state that issued the title for a possible correction in that scenario.

There are two options available for an Iowa customer with an odometer discrepancy:

  1. Transfer the title with mileage listed as “Not Actual” miles, knowing that it will not be corrected at a later date.
  2. Email us at invbureau@iowadot.us and ask for an odometer correction review.

Customers asking us to review their odometer discrepancy should provide copies of as much of the following paperwork as possible:

  • Certificate of title (front and back side)
  • Purchase agreement
  • Supplemental reassignment forms, Power of Attorney forms, and supplemental odometer disclosures, if the seller supplied any of them at the time of purchase
  • Service and maintenance records that provide a mileage history
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement signed by seller & buyer.
  • Notarized Statement of Fact completed by the seller as well as one completed by the buyer for each title reassignment with an odometer error.

We will review the paperwork you submit and decide if an odometer correction is warranted. If approved, we will update the odometer changes to the state’s computerized titling system, so a corrected title may be issued at the county treasurer’s office.

What is Odometer Fraud?

When you buy a vehicle, you should be able to count on the vehicle’s odometer reading (the number of miles the vehicle has been driven) to be correct. There are criminals who tamper with odometers to reduce the number of miles shown, assuming that will increase the value of the vehicle.

Odometer fraud occurs when a motor vehicle's odometer is disconnected, reset, or altered with the intent to have the vehicle reflect a mileage different than the actual mileage the motor vehicle has been driven. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with false odometer readings, and the crime costs American car buyers more than $1 Billion annually. We investigate odometer fraud, in conjunction with the Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General’s office.

How do I legally repair or replace an odometer?

If the odometer in your motor vehicle is broken, state and federal laws provide guidelines on how to repair or replace the odometer. The following requirement applies to all motor vehicles that are subject to registration, regardless of the age of the vehicle.

The odometer reading on a repaired or replaced odometer SHALL be set to one of the following:

  • Odometer reading that was on the vehicle’s odometer just prior to you performing the repair or replacement.

  • If the odometer is incapable of registering the same mileage, then the repaired or replaced odometer shall be adjusted to read zero.

How do I report odometer fraud?

If you suspect you are a victim of odometer fraud, contact us at invbureau@iowadot.us, or submit a Notice of Complaint Form.

If you would like to discuss a potential complaint or have questions, you can email an investigator in your local area. Please include copies of your paperwork with the email.


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