Vehicle history experts are warning that used car buyers saw an increase in the number of vehicles on the road with a mileage discrepancy, potentially signalling a worrying trend of more dodgy sellers ‘clocking’ cars to earn extra money.
The practice of clocking a car – adjusting the mileage reading to make it worth more – has been around for a number of years, and was in fact made easier with the introduction of digital odometers which removed the traditional tell-tale signs, as well as a surge in the number of so-called ‘mileage correction firms’ popping up that would alter a vehicle’s mileage no questions asked.
However in recent years, HPI had seen a drop in the number of mileage discrepancies uncovered by consumer checks, which was a positive sign that consumer vigilance might be winning the fight against the clockers – hopes which have now been dashed with these latest statistics. In fact, based the SMMT’s used car sales figures for 2013, HPI estimates there could be as many as 486,000* vehicles with a false mileage on the road in the UK.
“But it’s not just an issue of money with clocked cars, there is also a safety concern. Any vehicle that has done a lot more miles than the owner realises could have components that have been excessively worn, even if it looks okay to the naked eye. Plus these cars are likely to have missed out on their scheduled servicing, meaning a mechanic missing vital signs of wear and tear.” Shane Teskey, Senior Consumer Services Manager for www.hpicheck.com, comments, “These are really shocking statistics and represent a worrying trend. Dodgy sellers will take advantage of any angle they can when offloading a car and clocking is one of the easiest ways they can make a fatter profit. In fact, research we conducted with CAP last year found that popular models such the VW Golf can double in value if they have 60,000 miles wound down.
In addition to confirming whether a vehicle is stolen, has been written off or there is finance outstanding, the HPI Check includes a mileage check against the National Mileage Register as standard, now with over 160 million mileage readings – making it the most comprehensive protection against buying a clocked vehicle available. In addition, the HPI Check offers a Guarantee of up to £30,000** in the event of the information it provides being inaccurate or incomplete.
Teskey concludes, “While the rise in mileage discrepancies we’ve seen is a worry, consumers can help stop the clockers by simply being more aware and conducting the appropriate checks before purchasing a used vehicle. This is one of the oldest cons in the book, simply because it is so easy to do and is so profitable, but by the same token it is easy for consumer to be vigilant and conduct a history check. If they do so we can stop dodgy sellers making a fast profit duping buyers.”