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Beware: car clocking cases are accelerating

Car clocking on the increase

The number of cars on UK roads showing mileage discrepancies has also risen to one in 16, according to the latest data.

hpi, the UK’s leading authority on vehicle checking services, claims the figure has worsened from one in 20 cars less than three years ago.

What’s more, it reckons that clocking is costing motorists more than £800 million every year.

The illegal practice of clocking takes place when drivers look to deliberately defraud second-hand car buyers when the vehicle is sold on.

“The problem of clocking and mileage discrepancies in used vehicles does appear to be worsening and that’s bad news for motorists and car retailers as they are left to foot the bill,” said hpi’s Barry Shorto.

“There are a number of reasons why clocking is on the up. Technology is partly to blame as the continued development of tools to alter digital odometers and the access to this technology online is becoming increasingly easier.

“The boom in mileage-related finance arrangements such as PCP and PCH may also be playing aggravating the problem.”

hpi has produced a new video explaning how to avoid buying a car that has been clocked.

How to spot clocking

Check the service history – Check the mileages displayed in the service history and look for service stamps from a genuine dealer. Ideally the service invoices will accompany the service history. If in doubt, contact the servicing dealers and check the mileages they recorded at the time of the service.

Speak to the previous keeper – Get in contact with the previous keeper (details can be found on the V5/logbook). They can identify the mileage of the vehicle when they sold it. Make sure this adds up with the current mileage.

Trust your judgement – Check who the car was last registered to on the V5. Was it registered as a company car but has done less than 12,000 miles per year? Or is it 15 years old with only 20,000 on the clock? Look for any evidence that indicates clocking.

Check the mileage – It has been known for clockers to wind back the mileage when you first view the vehicle and then return it to its original value once the transaction is complete. Make sure you check the mileage is the same when you pick up the vehicle.

Look for signs of wear and tear – Does the wear and tear on the vehicle match its mileage? Be careful to look out for signs such as worn seats, steering wheels and other vehicle parts. Also look out for brand new easily replaceable parts; the wear and tear should be consistent with the vehicle’s displayed mileage.

Conduct an HPI Check – HPI’s National Mileage Register has more than 150 million mileages recorded on it, and can identify mileage discrepancies recorded against the vehicle.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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