posted 1 year ago

Clocking: Drivers Not Traders Winding Back Mileage

Glass: Clocking Returning To Used Market

Clocking “is returning” to the used market but motorists rather than dodgy dealers are more likely to wind back mileage, Glass claims. The problem – the price expert argues – is that a driver might obtain a vehicle on a short term basis via (say) a personal contract plan. This incorporates a mileage limitation, so the motorist has to pay “x” pence per-mile for exceeding the limit.

A motorist might, therefore, conclude that it is cheaper to pay a “mileage correction” firm to wind back the odometer before the vehicle is returned. Whereas there are legitimate reasons to adjust mileage – such as to correct a dashboard fault or replace an odometer – deliberate misrepresentation is considered fraudulent. 

Clocking Is A Growing Problem

Historically, dealers rather than motorists were more likely to clock vehicles – but Glass claims it has “come across very, very few cases of dealer clocking in recent years”. Strict penalties serve as a deterrent. At the same time, the rise of the personal contract plan – and similar schemes that have a mileage limit – ensure there are more and more motorists watching their odometer. 

Glass says it is “very difficult” to establish how many drivers clock their vehicles, but it is “certainly seeing an increasing amount of industry chatter”. It says it is “considered a growing problem” and it has “come across several cases” in recent months. 

Hard To Spot A Clocked Vehicle

It might be reasonable to assume that a motor manufacturer can instantly spot a clocked vehicle – but this is not necessarily true. A car supplied via a personal contract plan is brand new, after all. It is typically returned before its first MOT and – depending on the model - having only required one service. This ensures there is a limited paper trail to confirm mileage. The alarm rings when the manufacturer connects a diagnostic tool as part of the resale process, and it reveals a clocking error code.

Hard To Prove Who Acted Illegally

The manufacturer is then is a tricky situation. The paperwork to return the vehicle has been completed and – even if the supplier challenges the motorist - he/she denies all knowledge. It is difficult to prove otherwise. Glass says the solution is to check for a clocking code before a vehicle is returned, and that “closer regulation of mileage adjustment” firms should be beneficial too.