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Discussion Starter #1
I am planning to purchase a used G1 RL and have a question about the digital odometer.

Does anyone know, or has anyone heard of whether it is possible to tamper with the digitial odometer used by Honda in the Ridgeline? Or is there something about the design that makes it "hack" proof?

I am looking at model years 2012-2014, in case that matters. Thanks.
 

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I am planning to purchase a used G1 RL and have a question about the digital odometer.

Does anyone know, or has anyone heard of whether it is possible to tamper with the digitial odometer used by Honda in the Ridgeline? Or is there something about the design that makes it "hack" proof?

I am looking at model years 2012-2014, in case that matters. Thanks.
Nothing is hack proof, but there are some other aspects of ODO memory to consider.

I'm no expert but I can describe the gauge panel ODO sensitive journey I took on another Honda vehicle - in this case an 01 Accord coupe.

First: ODO memory is contained in EPROM attached to the gauge panel CCA (circuit card assembly), just above the ODO LCD. While I can't provide factual evidence, I believe the ODO display and EPROM are addressed to one another - in other words, if someone were to attempt removing EPROM for the purpose of replacing or reprogramming, the ODO would fail to recognize the information it is being fed - meaning ODO no worky.

EPROM is inside the red circle:
GaugeODO.jpg

The read/write path to EPROM is thru one of the multi-pin ports, top-o-the-gauge panel assembly. I suppose a really dedicated hack oriented geek could fashion a hardware and software solution to access EPROM in its native state, but that probably isn't practical from a financial reward perspective:
GaugeTop.jpg

The gauge panel assembly in all Gen1 RL's is remarkably similar to this 01 Accord example - all the way from assembly technique to the physical/electrical interface. Even the CCA on my 06 RL looks remarkably similar to this one, so I'm 99.5% sure there is little appreciable difference in overall design.

And then there are public records. I can say with confidence the state of California tracks ODO readings via pink slip ownership transfer with each sale. Any gross delta between ODO readings UP or (especially) DOWN at time of title transfer is tightly scrutinized. Very little room for hanky panky in this state.

I came to believe there is little to no financial reward to roll back ODO readings these days - mostly because even it it were tamped with, the ODO couldn't be rolled back far enough to make it worthwhile.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you very much for that great reply.

Regarding the financial reward for tampering, I was poking around on-line and the consensus seems to be that tampering is most often committed with vehicles coming off-lease, that have exceeded the mileage quota.

One G1 I am considering has an anomalous odometer reading associated with the purchase of an extended warranty. It is off by about 10K miles (high). All the other mileage indicators are consistent and show a steady progression of miles over 3-year period. Carfax flags it, but also says it could be a clerical error.
 

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AH, that makes perfect sense. A lease return - by definition - is the first after new sale so other than service records, there would be no incremental ODO record. Depending on lease terms, $.15/mile can add up quick. Wouldn't be much of a stretch to build a systematic solution for this "issue".

Some people would do nearly anything to cheat the system and avoid financial penalties/responsibilities, BUTT... if penalties associated with emission control tampering are an example of potential punishment, people sure do risk serious legal repercussions when they get involved in chit like this. Money is money. I guess.
 

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Yeah, the lease mileage scenario could be the financial incentive to do the hack.

In the case of this particular vehicle, it does't exactly fit the circumstances. First, Carfax seems to show a private sale, not a lease. Second, even if it was a lease, the anomalous mileage reading was still WAY below the mileage permitted for a typical lease.

It's a bit puzzling, but I wanted to see if there might be an easy explanation (other than clerical error) as opposed to something nefarious.
 

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As a follow-up, I went and looked at the vehicle in question today. It supposedly has only 22K miles. It shows like a vehicle with 40K+ miles. Far too much wear and tear, scratches, paint chips, bumper bumps, etc for a 3-year old 22K vehicle.

So let this be a warning to everyone -- it does seem very possible that the odometer can be tampered with.
 
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It is possible and can be accomplished in 5min or less. This happens all of the time with digital odometers. I have not seen this specifically with a RL, but many other Honda and Acura vehicles, as well as BMW, Ford, Chevy, and Toyota to name a few. The instrument clusters do not have to be removed from the vehicle.

Carfax, although not 100% reliable, is our best defense when buying a used vehicle. Also look for dealer service history as many people seem to have their vehicles serviced by the dealer throughout the warranty period.

In CA (hopefully other states as well) you can search for smog test history online with the VIN or license plate. You can match smog test dates to Carfax.
 

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It is possible and can be accomplished in 5min or less. This happens all of the time with digital odometers. I have not seen this specifically with a RL, but many other Honda and Acura vehicles, as well as BMW, Ford, Chevy, and Toyota to name a few. The instrument clusters do not have to be removed from the vehicle.

Carfax, although not 100% reliable, is our best defense when buying a used vehicle. Also look for dealer service history as many people seem to have their vehicles serviced by the dealer throughout the warranty period.

In CA (hopefully other states as well) you can search for smog test history online with the VIN or license plate. You can match smog test dates to Carfax.
I'd be curious to know how it can be accomplished so quickly w/ these digital odometers? Why don't the manufacturers address this?

I agree, CarFax is worth the money. Many dealers will provide a free CarFax w/ their advertisement for the vehicle. In this particular case, none was provided so I spent the money as part of due diligence. Glad I did -- the anomalous mileage tipped me off to look carefully and go in with a skeptical eye.
 
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