Mileage Clocking On The Increase

Friday, 2. February 2018

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

According to Cap HPI, one in 16 cars on our roads has been clocked, i.e. had their mileage adjusted. The number of instances of clocking has increased by 25% over the last 3 years with over 40% of dealers having bought a second-hand car that they later found to be clocked. Cap HPI have estimated that an average family car can increase in value between £2,000 and £4,000 after wiping off 60,000 miles from the mileage reading.


The RAC agreed with the Cap HPI findings saying, ‘Our vehicle check data shows that discrepancies with MOT recorded mileages are on the increase for vehicles more than 3 years old.’ The cost of clocking to buyers has been estimated to be £800 million with an estimated 5 million cars showing incorrect mileages.


Years ago someone would climb underneath the car, attach a drill bit to the speedo cable and run the mileage forward till the desired mileage was reached after starting again from zero. Or someone would remove the speedo and with a screwdriver fiddle about with the counters but that often left telltale scratches on the dial and the counters. Not that I ever did anything like that.


It was as wrong then as it is now. But not illegal as long as you told the new owner that the mileage has been adjusted – yeah right. The trouble is these days mileages can be adjusted with a laptop and connector within a few minutes. There are companies out there who will ‘adjust your mileage’ for £100. Frankly, it’s a disgrace.


As always the press has turned on those taking out PCP agreements who realise how much the excess mileage bill will be at the end of the agreement and decide that it would be cheaper to adjust the speedo reading. As a result, it has been suggested by the press, that 3-year-old car are being returned to the leasing companies with an adjusted mileage. Of course years ago the only reason why cars were clocked was to increase value. These days it is suggested that it’s because drivers are trying to avoid excess mileage charges.


The fact is that years ago we had no warning lights in the cockpit. We either had the car serviced whenever we reached the service mileage or at the end of the year, whichever came sooner. Or, as was the case with this struggling accountant, we waited till we heard a crunching noise from the brakes, clutch, suspension etc. and got them replaced. So whilst we were being conned out our hard earned money by the clockers they weren’t putting lives at quite so much risk as those clocking these days.


As I’ve mentioned before, many of the safety systems in modern cars are triggered by the mileage on the car when repairs or replacements are necessary. So if a driver has had the mileage changed on a modern car he or she could be putting theirs and other’s lives at risk by throwing out all the safety alert systems that rely on mileage.


So if you are considering clocking – don’t! And if you are buying a used car check the service history for dates and mileages, look carefully at the condition, worn carpets on a low mileage car is always a giveaway. Test drive the car and ask the seller questions if you have concerns. Don’t get caught out by a dealer who puts a caveat into his sales agreement that states that the mileage isn’t verified.


Another trick of the trade is to show one mileage on the car when you test drive then adjust it back to the original true mileage when you collect it so that they can’t be prosecuted for selling you a car showing an incorrect mileage.


The crazy situation is that clocking can put lives at risk. I, like others feel that the Government should make the selling of the equipment that they use to adjust mileages online illegal and the clocking of cars by anyone other than a registered garage, who only does so after a fault is repaired, to be made completely illegal. As usual our laws are not fit for purpose. By Graham Hill

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