Most manufacturers ditched the analogue mileage clocks over 10 years ago, which you’d have thought would spell the end for fraudsters winding back the miles on vehicles. Sadly, the change to digital mileage clocks has actually seen an increase in mileage fraud. Criminals are now hacking the computer systems of modern cars and editing the mileage counter digitally, giving prospective buyers a false representation of the vehicles wear and tear.
Clocking is now at an all-time high, and HPI have released a statement saying that 1 in 14 cars on the roads nowadays are believed to have been tampered with. In 2014, this figure was just 1 in 20. A massive increase of 30% in the last 5 years and the risk to second-hand buyers has never been greater.
The act of altering a vehicle’s odometer itself is not actually illegal, on the premise that it is done with honest and genuine intent. Car clocking only becomes illegal when a dealer clocks back the mileage and then sells the vehicle to a second-hand buyer without stating the genuine mileage. Dealerships can make greater margins on cars with lower mileage, so that’s why some dodgy dealers feel the need to trick their customers.
Accessing technology that can change a vehicle's odometer has never been easier thanks to the internet. It literally takes minutes to find a tool online that can alter a vehicle's mileage, and there is another factor that has contributed to the rise in ‘clocking’...
More people than ever before are buying vehicles on PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) and HP (Hire Purchase) deals. These deals are pretty much always loaded with mileage limitations throughout the term of the deal and surcharges if the customer exceeds the limits, often around 5p per mile over the limit. Owners who find themselves exceeding the mileage limitations that they signed up to at the start of the deal are therefore more likely to clock back the miles to save themselves money when they return the car at the end of the term.
In the recent statement, it's estimated that the practice of ‘clocking’ cars is costing UK motorists about £800 million every single year. This is money that motorists will struggle to get back when they go to re-sell their car, and money that they’ll have to fork out for - what they believe - are premature mechanical faults.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, at the moment the best option you’ve got when buying a car is to do a comprehensive history check. Luckily, we’ve got just the tool for you.
Our new car-check tool offers a variety of information on a vehicle. You can find out if it has outstanding finance on it or if it has been stolen, written off or deported. Of course, you will also find out the vehicle’s MOT status and history as well as the vehicle’s current market value - so you know roughly how much you should be paying for it. Then, of course, you’ll also be given a breakdown of any mileage discrepancies within the vehicles lifetime. This last part is key to finding out whether or not the vehicles odometer reading has been tampered with. The Full check costs £9.99, although there is a Basic check available for just £1.99, however, the basic check won’t detect if a vehicle has outstanding finance owed on it and it doesn’t come with a £30k data guarantee, unlike the Full car-check.
So, while clocking back the miles is at an all-time high, there are tools in place to help protect you as an honest motorist. Do the safe thing and make sure you do a full check on any second-hand car you’re thinking of buying.