An odometer disclosure statement is a type of form that you need to attach to a vehicle’s bill of sale. Attach this document at the time of purchase if your vehicle weights 16,000 pounds and below or is less than 10 years old. The federal law in all the 50 states requires you to file this federal odometer disclosure statement for the purpose of finalizing the sale and allowing the buyer to apply for the vehicle’s registration.

Odometer Disclosure Statements

What is an odometer disclosure statement?

An odometer disclosure statement is a document which declares the mileage of a vehicle as shown on its odometer. This serves as proof of the accuracy of the reading. Anyone who has experienced selling a car already knows how to accomplish this form. The odometer disclosure statement by state is a requirement of the law in all states, except for some types of vehicles.

If you don’t file this document, you have to pay a fine or face imprisonment. But not all types of vehicles need this statement. For instance, in the state of California, if you’re selling a vehicle which older than 10 years, you don’t need this document.

You won’t need this document if you’re selling a commercial vehicle with a weight limit or when a manufacturer sells the vehicle directly to an agency, and the new vehicle gets transferred before the first retail sale.

Federal Odometer Disclosure Statements

What does odometer disclosure mean?

Dealers must keep their records along with the odometer disclosure statement for a minimum of 5 years. These records are completely open for inspection from the different agencies in charge of transportation. As a seller, you must disclose the accurate odometer reading of your vehicle at the time of purchase through the document.

This is what the odometer disclosure means. If you’re a seller, make sure to enter the actual mileage in the document. Or use the term “exempt” when your vehicle doesn’t require an odometer disclosure. Conversely, the buyer should acknowledge the declaration of the seller by printing his name and affixing his signature on the document.

What’s the importance of an odometer disclosure statement?

There are several reasons why you would choose to sell your car. You may have already paid off your car’s loan, you need the money for something more important, or you want someone else to enjoy your precious vehicle. No matter the reason, it’s important to follow the proper procedure for selling.

Before transferring the title of your vehicle, you need to perform some steps to ensure that the process goes smoothly for yourself and your buyer. One important step to take when selling your car is to fill up and odometer disclosure statement. Here are the steps to guide you through the entire process:

  • First of all, check if your state requires you to submit an odometer disclosure statement by state. If yes, then download the template here to make the application fill-up process easy.
  • Before writing anything on the form, make sure that you understand its purpose.
  • In the document, certify the accurate odometer reading at the time of purchase.
  • Remember that the document will also help prove if the mileage increases over time or if the vehicle exceeded its mechanical limits.
  • The document will also help prevent the tampering of mileage and retain the vehicle’s actual retail value upon purchase.
  • After you’ve written down all of the required information, make sure that both parties affix their signatures.

Most of the times, the buyer has to give a copy of the odometer disclosure statement to the motor vehicle agency of the state. This is an important document in the application of the vehicle’s title. After both parties have affixed their signature, the seller should also keep a copy of the statement for future reference.

After you have reported everything to the vehicle agency of your state, the reading of the odometer mileage will appear on the vehicle’s record and on the new Certificate of Title. Providing an accurate odometer reading is essential when you’re transferring ownership of your vehicle. It also keeps both parties protected in case there are any misunderstandings.

Odometer Disclosure Statements By State

How do I get an odometer disclosure?

There are certain situations where you need to have a federal odometer disclosure statement. However, you won’t need this document if:

  • The vehicle doesn’t have an odometer
  • The vehicle is older than 10 years
  • The vehicle isn’t self-propelled like a camper or a trailer
  • The vehicle has a gross weight rating of more than 16,000 pounds
  • The vehicle is a snowmobile or a class 1 atv
  • When at least one of the owners remains on the vehicle’s title after the title transfer

It’s important for both the seller and the buyer to write on the form. To get the form, you can either download a template here or secure a copy from the DMV. If you purchase a vehicle that’s less than 10 years of age and its title is already destroyed or lost, the seller should acquire a replacement title. The reading of the odometer is typically disclosed at the back of the new title.

There may be cases when your vehicle’s odometer is already broken. If your odometer:

  • shows a blank display, indicate that it’s “not readable”
  • isn’t working properly, write down the reading shown then include a note which says that the reading is “not actual”

When these words appear on the new title, you cannot change this information any longer. In the case when your odometer rolled over, write down the reading that’s shown and then indicate the condition of the odometer by writing the words “rolled over.”

How do you calculate mileage with odometer?

There are certain steps you need to take if you need to calculate mileage using your odometer:

  • First, fill up the gas tank of your vehicle all the way.
  • If you have a trip odometer, you can either record the mileage or reset it.
  • Drive your vehicle normally until you have depleted half of the gas in the tank.
  • Refill your tank.
  • Take note of how much gas it took for you to refill the whole tank.
  • Then take note of the new mileage on the odometer.

After these steps, it’s time for you to start making calculations. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Subtract the original odometer shown by your odometer from the new reading.
  • Divide the number of miles you’ve traveled by how many gallons of gas you needed to refill your tank.
  • The result you get will be the average miles per gallon of your vehicle.

How to make an odometer disclosure statement?

Making your own odometer disclosure statement can be a difficult chore. Since this is an official form, it would be better for you to download a template or get it right from the DMV. After that, fill up the form using these steps:

  • The first thing to do is to document the identity of the seller. If you’re the seller, write down your full name on the form.
  • Then define the reading on the odometer. Usually, you have to round up the number of miles to the nearest tenth. Check the reading on your vehicle’s odometer and write it down.
  • After that, define your odometer’s accuracy. This depends on the condition of your odometer. If you know that it shows an inaccurate reading, make sure to indicate this on the form.
  • Provide information about the vehicle. This includes the:
    body style
    make
    year
    model
    vehicle identification number or VIN
    the state where your vehicle had its most recent license plate
    the license plate number
  • Verify all of the information by affixing the required signatures. Remember that both the buyer and the seller should sign the document.
  • If you’re the seller, find the “Seller’s Signature” section, print your name, then affix your signature. Then on the “Seller’s Address” section, write down your complete physical address. You also need to write down your city, your state, and your zip code. Your address is important, so the buyer knows where to reach you in case any issues arise.
  • If you’re the buyer, you should only write down your information once you’ve seen the odometer reading and you have already reviewed the entire document.
  • Then find the “Buyer’s Signature” section, print your name, and affix your signature. Make sure to write your name clearly and legibly as this is an official document.
  • Below this section, you should also write down your complete address along with your city, your state, and your zip code.
  • Finally, when both parties have written everything down and placed their signatures to verify the document, it’s time to include the date when the document got signed on the section entitled “Date of Certification.”

After you have completed the form, make sure to attach the statement to your Bill of Sale. Although this isn’t a requirement for all vehicles, it’s still prudent to accomplish and attach it. That way, you would have submitted everything required for the selling process.

TemplateLab May 5th, 2019