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4Runner Odometer Rollback

Posted By: Maddog1337

4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 01:38 AM

Hello Oil Connoisseurs,

I'm looking at the following vehicle: a 2002 Toyota 4Runner 4WD V6 Limited Trim. Here is the Craigslist ad:

https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/cto/d/streamwood-2002-toyota-4runner-limited/6894394777.html

I checked out the vehicle today, and the odometer matched the listing at ~155K mi.

The VIN is JT3HN87R129076790.

The free MyCarfax lists the last reported mileage at 202K for emissions testing on 2/15/2018. I know in some cases discrepancies exist in mileage on Carfax reports that can be the result of an error or a fat finger, etc. However the entire service history progresses incrementally, therefore I believe the 202K in 2018 is correct.

The backstory on this one is that this guy is selling it on behalf of his Uncle, who has moved out of the state. The vehicle is also titled in the name of a used car dealership (red flag? curbstoning?). However I got a peek of the title and it's filled out and signed by this guy's Uncle, all ready for me, the buyer, to sign.

Investigating further, I created a MyToyota account, which will give you the service records for when the car was taken to a Toyota dealership. The last service at Toyota for this 4Runner was 12/19/11 at 130,528 mi. It goes without saying that I should give increased credibility to the mileage reported by Toyota. It also makes sense, going back to the Carfax, with emissions testing 1/7/2012, at 131,000 mi. Comparing the 131K to the 155K odometer reading currently on the car, I find it hard to believe the vehicle was only driven around 25K miles from 12/19/11. That's around 3K miles a year!

I put down a $100 deposit because I requested extra time to gather funds. We are scheduled to meet tomorrow to complete the sale. I feel after further research that I should walk from the sale. I'm struggling back and forth because I believe the guy is genuine, or at least acted very genuine. The car was last registered 10/2018, with a new owner reported. I believe this is when his Uncle purchased the vehicle. Perhaps the current owners were victims of odometer fraud?

We settled on a purchase price of $4,000, which honestly is pretty good at 155K or 200K+. The vehicle drove great, no leaks, and minimal rust. However, I can't trust anything else that guy said, so I might be looking at large repairs down the road. I could pay for a full $40 Carfax report but I don't want to dump anymore money in this investigation. What do you guys think? Walk? I signed that my $100 deposit was non-refundable, but I'm not sure if I should request it back in the name of fraud.
Posted By: eljefino

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 01:43 AM

So if you like it, you like it.

The guy is definitely curbstoning.

You could ask for your money back if you get cold feet. You put money down on a 155k mile car which the seller is unable to follow through with. If you don't ask, the answer is definitely no.

Rust is about the only thing that's tragic to fix.

What bugs me more than anything are those oversized rims and tires.
Posted By: Maddog1337

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 01:49 AM

Originally Posted by eljefino
So if you like it, you like it.

The guy is definitely curbstoning.

You could ask for your money back if you get cold feet. You put money down on a 155k mile car which the seller is unable to follow through with. If you don't ask, the answer is definitely no.

Rust is about the only thing that's tragic to fix.

What bugs me more than anything are those oversized rims and tires.


Curbstoning or not, I don't really care, as long as I can get the car titled in my name. My problem is what looks to be a clear odometer rollback. And if he's curbstoning, then it's his dealership who did it. I don't want problems down the road, a title with a mileage inconsitency, trouble selling it later, etc. In addition the timing belt was done at 100k, and should be done every 90-100k. Well if the truck is at 200k+ then it's due. That's not a cheap fix.
Posted By: JLTD

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 01:51 AM

It's a bit fishy, but if the vehicle is in good condition....AND he allows you to take it to a mechanic to have it checked out....AND it's not a salvage, it might be a good buy. If he balks at all about the inspection, it's time to walk run away.

After further investigation:

It's priced a little high....private sale is about $4100 in "outstanding" condition. It looks pretty nice but with the oversize tires I'd beware of higher wear on the driveline.

Could be a flood damaged vehicle so caution there.


edit: I'd pass. Too many question marks.
Posted By: hallstevenson

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 01:56 AM

Originally Posted by Maddog1337
However I got a peek of the title and it's filled out and signed by this guy's Uncle, all ready for me, the buyer, to sign.

Ask to see the title again - it should have the mileage at the last sale.
Posted By: JC1

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:00 AM

Could he have changed the cluster due to issues with the old one?

As others have said too many questions. It does look nice. You might want to tell him that you did a search and the mileage is 200K not 154K. See what he says before you walk.
Posted By: atikovi

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:02 AM

Originally Posted by Maddog1337
We settled on a purchase price of $4,000, which honestly is pretty good at 155K or 200K+. The vehicle drove great, no leaks, and minimal rust. However, I can't trust anything else that guy said, so I might be looking at large repairs down the road.


It's a 16 year old SUV with certainly over 155K so you might be looking at large repairs down the road anyway. Would you buy without hesitation if it didn't have the odometer issue? Either take it to mechanic for a quickie $60 ppi and or inform the seller about what you found out about the mileage and ask for a $500 price cut.
Posted By: Chris142

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:03 AM

Typical car flipper deal. Buy a truck with 200k. Get a lower milage dash and swap it in saying its lower milage.

I can guarantee you that its not his uncles truck.
Posted By: The_Nuke

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:12 AM

I would not purchase the vehicle if it were me trying to decide. There are too many downsides and not enough upsides to this deal.

There is an old adage about buying used cars which states something like, "if the person selling the vehicle is not the person listed on the title, then don't walk, run the other direction."

If that were the only thing about this deal, I could understand talking yourself into it. However, the mileage thing is another, big, speed bump to buying this vehicle. Who knows how that could come back to haunt you after you have purchased it. You could run into trouble trying to register it, you could pay more in sales tax, etc. This alone would scare me away.

Add in the mismatch of seller and titled owner, and it's a hard pass in my book.
Posted By: atikovi

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:14 AM

Doesn't look like he bought from auction.

Date Price Odo (mi)  Cond Eng/T Ext Color Type Region Auction
5/15/19 $1,200 271,457 2.0 6G/A White Regular Midwest Cleveland
4/10/19 $4,900 186,169 4.0 6G/A Silver Regular Midwest Minneapolis
5/1/19 $3,500 172,149 3.6 6G/A Black Lease Northeast New Jersey
5/21/19 $3,300 156,750 3.4 6G/A Burgundy Regular Northeast NY Metro Skyline
5/7/19 $5,600 140,556 2.9 6G/A Red Regular Northeast Baltimore-Washington
4/11/19 $4,500 114,641 - - 6G/- - Brown Regular Midwest Chicago
Posted By: The_Nuke

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:18 AM

One more thing to add: If you absolutely must have the vehicle and decide to buy it, you should consider doing the following as a condition of the sale -
1. request the seller accompany you to the DMV to do the registration/title transfer.
2. request a xerox copy of the seller's driver's license.
3. type up one of those quick Bill of Sale docs you can find for this sort of thing, filling in the relevant info and adding another part that explains why the person signing the BOS is not the titled owner. List their name and DL number and have them initial that portion in addition to signing the document. Then take it and have it notarized.

I realize all of that may be excessive and unlikely to get complete agreement from the seller, but I would be more interested in seeing the seller's reaction to the requests than actually getting them to agree to all of them.
Posted By: Soggydog

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:25 AM

A co-worker of mine traded his 430k mile 2002 F150 for a 2017 F150. They gave him $500 for his trade in. Several weeks later I noticed his truck on Facebook marketplace for sale for $2500 and only 190k miles....no doubt in my mind it was his truck. Small town dealer sticker on the tailgate and a solid white fender on a white/Gray 2 tone truck.
Posted By: incognito_2u

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:30 AM

Something smells rotten , and we ain’t in Denmark........something tells me there’s more up this Sellers sleeve than we know...........Walk away While you can and continue your search from a somewhat legitimate Seller!
Just saying........
Posted By: Maddog1337

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:37 AM

Thanks everyone for your responses. This forum is such an outstanding resource. I am young, and continuing to learn. I'm glad I did some due diligence. This would have been my first used car purchase. It is disconcerting that the used car market is full of scammers, but that is life I suppose. If anyone on here is selling a third gen 4Runner, please, let me know.

I think I need to walk. The $100 won't break me, but I will be requesting it back - hopefully a name drop of reporting to the Secretary of State will help (or escalate, ha... that's why the breaker bar is in the trunk).
Posted By: Kira

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:44 AM

Does the sentence, "The vehicle is also titled in the name of a used car dealership (red flag? curbstoning?). However I got a peek of the title and it's filled out and signed by this guy's Uncle, all ready for me, the buyer, to sign.", make sense?

Used car dealership name on the title...the guy's uncle signed it. How do you type that without knowing you were lied to? Am I missing something?

Scuzzy dealership
Posted By: Dinoburner

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:54 AM

The 4Runner is a desirable vehicle for many people but since so many feel this deal hinky as do I let it go before massive buyers remorse. Even if you lose your deposit your money ahead, but if you mention what you found out about it----
Posted By: Maddog1337

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:58 AM

Originally Posted by Kira
Does the sentence, "The vehicle is also titled in the name of a used car dealership (red flag? curbstoning?). However I got a peek of the title and it's filled out and signed by this guy's Uncle, all ready for me, the buyer, to sign.", make sense?

Used car dealership name on the title...the guy's uncle signed it. How do you type that without knowing you were lied to? Am I missing something?

Scuzzy dealership


It does and it does not make sense. As I understand it, there are many interpretations of curbstoning. One of them is a dealer acting as a private party, in order to avoid being registered as a dealer, amongst other potentially negative consequences. If the truck was as-is, but with 155k actual miles, and registered in my name without error, then I wouldn't really care about the curbstoning. However, I will admit the title situation is one of many red flags with this sale.

Sometimes you have to talk these things out. I am just learning, and hope my experiences will allow me to contribute more to Bitog later down the road.
Posted By: JayhawkRoy

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 03:18 AM

If you have to name-drop, use the Illinois Attorney General's office, rather than Secretary of State.
Some consumer fraud hot lines for Illinois (if you want to pursue the odometer rollback issue):
Consumer Fraud Hotlines:
1-800-386-5438 (Chicago), 1-800-243-0618 (Springfield) or 1-800-243-0607 (Carbondale)
Posted By: daves87rs

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 03:36 AM

Yep, for sure issues there...

And something about it screams abuse....maybe it is because the stance on it just looks off...
Posted By: maxdustington

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 03:42 AM

Originally Posted by incognito_2u
Something smells rotten , and we ain’t in Denmark
Nice literary reference!

My friend caught a guy selling a rolled back civic with Carfax in 2006 or 2007. When confronted he told us that someone rolled it back on him, so he did the same. Nice.

This is the sort of thing that makes me not really interested in Toyotas, specifically trucks. Too many people want them and their resale is too high. You're not going to have time to really investigate things before you put money down because you know there are people who will without hesitation. Those old ones really are to die for, though.
Posted By: rubberchicken

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 06:00 AM

Originally Posted by atikovi
Originally Posted by Maddog1337
We settled on a purchase price of $4,000, which honestly is pretty good at 155K or 200K+. The vehicle drove great, no leaks, and minimal rust. However, I can't trust anything else that guy said, so I might be looking at large repairs down the road.


It's a 16 year old SUV with certainly over 155K so you might be looking at large repairs down the road anyway. Would you buy without hesitation if it didn't have the odometer issue? Either take it to mechanic for a quickie $60 ppi and or inform the seller about what you found out about the mileage and ask for a $500 price cut.


I nominate Atikovi as the resident expert in sniffing out questionable car sales. Not kidding- I think he (she?) has a lot of practical experience in this area. Personally I would pay for a Carfax to see what it says if you intend on going through with the deal. If your walking away, then omit it. I have a contact who is an auto insurance adjuster, and he can run a Carfax for me, but only gives me a verbal Yes-No if he thinks its worth a follow up. If Yes, then I go get my own copy.

Also re: Atikovi - I am not trying to be sarcastic- I bet you have a lot of secrets in spotting red-flags on used cars.
Posted By: atikovi

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 11:21 AM

Carfax is a good first step if you suspect a rollback although not foolproof, and sometimes there are people on Craigslist offering $5 or $10 Carfax reports.
Posted By: MoneyJohn

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 12:43 PM

I am sure, you have seen this, still claims rear-end collision with 200K+ miles

It would be great if someone experienced makes a detailed post on how one should go about checking a used car (on the web) before buying. I am not talking about inspections but history, accident reports etc.
Posted By: ls973800

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:06 PM

If the truck was as-is, but with 155k actual miles, and registered in my name without error, then I wouldn't really care about the curbstoning

Then you deserve every bad thing that would happen regarding rolled back mileage, inability or difficulty to register this vehicle, etc. By crubstoning the seller is illegally circumventing state and or local laws and taxes due!

But hey, if you can get a "good" deal, go for it!
Posted By: Dave9

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 02:53 PM

Originally Posted by atikovi
Originally Posted by Maddog1337
We settled on a purchase price of $4,000, which honestly is pretty good at 155K or 200K+. The vehicle drove great, no leaks, and minimal rust. However, I can't trust anything else that guy said, so I might be looking at large repairs down the road.


It's a 16 year old SUV with certainly over 155K so you might be looking at large repairs down the road anyway.


While a record indicating otherwise is definitely a cause for concern, you cannot assume an SUV is over 155K mi merely because it's 16 years old. I'm the original owner of an SUV over 20 years old with only 100K mi on it.

They're great for off-road, hauling something large in the rear, snowy winter days, etc, but also a gas guzzler and more suspension maintenance needed per mile than a car, so it's not a daily driver year round so it's easy to put few miles per year on it.

As far as the larger tires and rims on the one being discussed, they aren't that big, I wouldn't worry that much about it except that the off road tread pattern is going to cause a drone noise and vibration. Could it need suspension or drivetrain work done soon? Of course, it's a 16 year old SUV. It will nickle and dime the owner with a $75 CV axle here, a $120 hub there, but you can buy a heck of a lot of $100 range parts, DIY repair so no labor cost, and still end up at a lower cost per year ownership than buying something newer.

I would contact the local DMV (dept motor vehicles) to see what they think. It's not just whether you're getting screwed out of somewhere over 45K mi or the principle but also that if the odometer is wrong, you could have trouble if/when you try to sell it yourself.
Posted By: Maddog1337

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 03:36 PM

Follow up:

Presented the free Carfax service history report along side the official Toyota maintenance history written up by the dealership's service writer. Both sources paint a pretty convincing picture of the odometer being rolled back. Referenced the title, sold to this guy on 10/2018. Title was in the dealership's name, and signed for by the seller after the lien was released. The seller never bothered to register it in his name.

The seller put those wheels and tires on the car, so I highly doubt they were up to anything malicious given the large investment. The seller is retired Chicago Police, and I believe he just didn't do his due diligence. Money was refunded without question, guy was apologetic, kept the hard copies of my research, and is now seeking to make restitution with the dealership, who had the car listed with 140K on 10/2018. Again as a reminder Toyota had the car at 130K in 2011.

For any future Google searches, the used car dealership is:

JBA Auto Sales, Inc.
3913 W Lake St
Stone Park, IL, 60165


On to the next one. If anyone is selling a 3rd gen 4Runner, please let me know.
Posted By: David2431

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 04:27 PM

Seriously: You might want to see if your state has a "finder's fee" for odometer fraud.

This extra cash might help you upgrade to a better vehicle.
Posted By: atikovi

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 04:31 PM

Originally Posted by Maddog1337
Title was in the dealership's name, and signed for by the seller after the lien was released. The seller never bothered to register it in his name.


So how was he driving it around if he didn't register it? What tags did it have on it? Is that why none of the pictures show a tag?
Posted By: ThirdeYe

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 04:44 PM

A fun side note, when I sold my 1995 Integra it had 217k miles on it. It had a lot of cosmetic flaws/rust/etc. and I didn't sell it for much. I eventually saw the car for sale again on Craigslist, but it magically now had 150k on it. I started asking questions about it and its miles and VIN number, and he stopped replying. Not sure why someone would try to rollback the odometer (or replace the cluster) on a car just to try to sell it for a couple hundred dollars more than what I sold it for a year or two prior. I tried doing some research into whether or not law enforcement would even do something about it, and I was under the impression that they probably wouldn't bother unless it was a huge operation.
Posted By: Maddog1337

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 04:47 PM

Originally Posted by David2431
Seriously: You might want to see if your state has a "finder's fee" for odometer fraud.

This extra cash might help you upgrade to a better vehicle.


This is Illinois friend, the most corrupt state in the Union. Not worth exploring - unfortunately passing the ball to the next guy in line.

Originally Posted by atikovi
Originally Posted by Maddog1337
Title was in the dealership's name, and signed for by the seller after the lien was released. The seller never bothered to register it in his name.


So how was he driving it around if he didn't register it? What tags did it have on it? Is that why none of the pictures show a tag?


Tags were current to 5/2019. In IL, you have until the end of the month, so they were still valid. Said the guy didn't want to pay the extra money (~$100) to register it in his name.


The CL posting was updated BTW, indicating the odometer fraud.
Posted By: JustinH

Re: 4Runner Odometer Rollback - 05/27/19 08:37 PM

Sounds like too much nonsense over a 4k car? Does carfax or service records really matter?

A true inspection would matter most to me.

155k or 200k matters not when we get into this. You are going to spend quite a bit on this car, and probably throw a hundred dollars a week in gas at it.

To each his own..
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