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When selling a vehicle, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires sellers to disclose the odometer reading in a paper format – with handwritten names and signatures in wet ink.

That process ends this week as the NHTSA has published a Final Rule that establishes standards that allow odometer disclosures in a paperless format.

"This Final Rule was written after carefully considering comments received from the public, including state motor vehicle departments," NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said.

"As more records are kept digitally, this rule will allow electronic filing of odometer information. Electronic records are more efficient than paper documentation and are harder to forge, helping to prevent fraud," he added.

With this new rule, the processing of vehicle sales will be faster plus cases of odometer fraud will be lessened. Part of the requirement of the rule will be paperless odometer readings with electronic disclosure systems that have robust security and authentication. NHTSA also sees that paperless transactions will "save time and reduce costs for consumers and industry, create economic efficiencies, and improve security."

In addition, odometer disclosures aren't required for vehicles that are at least 10 years old. However, NHTSA states that the current average age of vehicles is at 12 years old, which heightens the risk of odometer fraud.

In NHTSA's Final Rule, paperless odometer disclosures will be required until vehicles are 20 years old, which means MY2010 vehicles and above will need to have a proper odometer disclosure moving forward. This is to lessen instances of fraud even on older vehicles.

Just to reiterate, fraud involving odometer disclosure is a federal crime, so just be honest about it when selling a car, okay?

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