Beware of cars that appear cheap with a suspiciously low mileage. Fiddling with the odometers to display lower mileages than the car has actually covered is a common problem here.
It’s easily done. Rogue technicians can charge as little as AED100 ($27) to make your odometer display 54,678km instead of its actual 178,432km!
A friend once told me a story about how he got tempted by a low mileage Infiniti FX with ‘just 50,000km’ on the clock. Taking it to the dealer revealed it had had its last service at 120,000km! And there in lies the solution – always check the car’s service history, and verify the mileage with the garage or service centre that carried out the work.
It gets more difficult if the car has been serviced privately, or is so old that no official records exist anymore. You can also be taken in by an apparently realistic mileage. A five-year old Mitsubishi Lancer with over 120,000km might seem about right. But what if it has been in fleet service and has actually done over 300,000km?
Some telltale signs for higher mileage cars can be things like worn-through driver’s floor mats and carpets, worn pedals and steering wheel rims. Mechanically it’s harder to tell because some cars these days are just so well built and robust that they barely show their miles – witness any 300,000km squeak and rattle-free Toyota Camry taxi.