Winding back the clock – don’t be a victim

As far as we are concerned there are 3 reasons why anyone would want to correct the mileage on a car

1) There has been a malfunction with the odometer or dashboard display in which case a documented speedo change would be required

2) The mileage is ‘corrected’ to falsely increase the value of the car when sold on

3) The mileage is corrected to avoid paying mileage excess charges on a PCP agreement

In simple terms there has been a rise in companies set up to “correct” a vehicles mileage, you only need to do a Google search for “mileage correction service” and look at the results. By all accounts there are at least 50 firms in the UK selling mileage correction (let’s call it clocking) services.

We’re led to believe that the process involves a lap top and about 20 minutes of a customer’s time and the mileage can be set at whatever is required (although zero may set off a few alarm bells presumably).

This in itself is apparently perfectly legal as “correcting” the mileage is not actually an offence as long as the owner declares the fact at the time the car is sold on. Sell a car with an adjusted mileage and keep schtum about it and you are breaking the law and this is where people talk about it being a “loophole”.

In an economic downturn there will always be people who look to gain an advantage (legal or otherwise) and let’s not beat about the bush altering a vehicles mileage is a spurious practice which down the line will ultimately cost someone a lot of money. In extreme examples it could even mean someone driving a car that could potentially be dangerous as parts are not changed at the correct time.

The motor industry is constantly battling to minimise the risk of these kinds of vehicles ending up with unsuspecting customers and great time, effort and investment is spent proving a vehicles provenance. However as we all know there are always those that slip through the net. The fact that spotting a car which has been clocked is far harder than it used to be begs the question, with the emergence of so many mileage correction businesses, just how many people who are driving on Britain’s roads are blissfully unaware that they are potentially in a ticking time bomb? Sadly they may only find out the true history of their car when parts start mysteriously wearing out long before they should do.

Our advice is to ensure that you carry out your own car data check if you are buying privately and insist on seeing all relevant service invoices and MOT’s and when buying from a dealer, ask to see the documentation and evidence of their own data check and compare it with the car in front of you.

Preparing properly before you part with your cash my save you a fortune in the long run.

Finally if a car with abnormally low mileage for its year is presented with no proof of mileage or service history even if the price looks too good to be true, walk away because it probably is.

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3 Responses to Winding back the clock – don’t be a victim

  1. danjo h June 30, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    great article but fairly shocking,so how does anyone really know if they are buying a jekyll?

  2. MTI July 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    A motor dealership in Ballymena that was exposed by BBC Newsline for clocking cars has been fined £400 for breaking consumer laws.

    In December 2009, Seven Towers Autos, which is based on Moorfields Road, offered to sell two cars that had had their mileage wound back.

    In one of the cases more than 100,000 miles had been taken off.

    The firm pleaded guilty to two charges under Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs).

    Moira Todd of the Trading Standards Service (TSS) said: “All second hand car dealers should take steps to ensure that the mileage on a vehicle is accurate.

    “They must not allow a prospective buyer to rely on the mileage indication unless they are absolutely sure it is accurate.

    “In this case, the company could have easily established that the mileage readings on these vehicles were incorrect by carrying out simple enquiries.”

    “Clocking the mileage of a car is downright deceptive and the TSS will take formal prosecution action against any trader who is found to be engaging in this practice.”

    News Source:

  3. Mark R July 5, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Only a fool tampers with speedometer mileage and only another fool buys it !

    It really is very simple, if you are buying a decent priced car between two and ten years old (although be realistic with the ten years old one) ask to see history and MOT’s, the thing about so called “clocking” is most old cars will not be worth the hassle to the unscrupulous dealer, so anything a few years old would normally have it’s service history record anyway, if not, find another, it’s not like there’s a shortage?

    Use a recognised vehicle check company, get a VMC check (vehicle mileage check) modern speedometers have mileage “brains” linked to the ECU so adjusting it will be pointless as it will only show up at the next service? and last but not least, buy from a reputable dealer, if you see an ad in the classifieds or the net and turn up at a yard or backstreet with dubious characters and buy on price alone what do you expect?

    “Caveat Emptor” has never been truer………….

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