Jail time could be on the cards for dodgy dealers in South Australia who wind back odometers on used cars amid warnings digital devices are increasingly being used to scam motorists.

Any dealer found guilty of winding back a car odometer could be jailed for up to two years or face a maximum fine of $30,000, under legislation to go before state parliament before the end of the year.

For those found to be operating while unlicensed, the proposed penalty for a third or subsequent offence would be increased from one to two years behind bars with the maximum fine climbing from $100,000 to $250,000.

Fines for a first or second offence will rise from $100,000 to $150,000.

The changes would give SA some of the toughest penalties across the country.

Only Queensland and NSW impose jail sentences for unlicensed dealing and only Queensland and Victoria have jail as an option for winding back an odometer.

They also come amid warnings from the Royal Automobile Association that motorists need to take extra care when buying a used car considering recent developments in technology.

“When buying a used car the odometer is one of the most obvious ways to gauge how much life is left in the car and if that has been tampered with then you might be buying a car that may have expensive repairs waiting for you,” RAA mobility expert Mark Borlace said.

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