Trick Rogue Dealers Use to Reduce Car Mileage to Zero

A photo of a rogue dealer manipulating the mileage of a car.
A photo of a rogue dealer manipulating the mileage of a car.
Sikika Road Safety

When determining the cost of a car in Kenya, one of the key price indicators is the vehicle’s mileage.

The less the mileage, the more expensive the car costs as it is an indication of its newness. 

To capitalise on that, rogue car dealers manipulate the vehicle’s odometer and reduce the mileage to zero to dupe potential buyers that the car is new.

Speaking to Peter Mwathi a car dealer based in Mombasa stated that it was regrettable that the practice was on the rise.

Loading Cars on Containers
Shippers loading cars on containers at the port of entry on Monday, March 21, 2023.

“We have rogue car dealers who manipulate the odometer so that they can sell the vehicle at a relatively higher price.

“This habit is also rampant among individual car owners who want up the price of their second-hand vehicles,” he explained.

Peter advised Kenyans to be buying cars from registered car dealers to avoid being conned.

“If you are buying from an individual, make sure you trust him since you can buy a car that has 1,000-kilometre mileage only to find out later that it has clocked over 10,000 kilometres,” he warned.

The dealer revealed there are two ways Kenyans can check if the mileage has been tampered with.

“You can use a Quality Inspection Services Japan (QISJ) free tool or a short messaging service (SMS) provided by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) in conjunction with the National Transport and Safety Authority,” he stated.

QISJ is a website where you are prompted to enter the chassis number and it gives you the mileage of the car.

For the SMS service, you sent the chassis of the car to 20023 and NTSA will reply with the car’s mileage.

“The two options have limitations since they only show mileage at the time the car was imported.

“For example, if a Kenyan imported a second-hand car with 2,000-kilometre mileage and used it for 5 years, NTSA will only give you the initial mileage of 2,000 kilometres,” he explained the limitations of the system. 


Car Auction Kenya
Cars being auctioned at Mombasa Port on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021.
Mombasa Car Auction