EU Takes Stand On Clocking
In 2018, the European Union will ban “mileage correction” firms that might wind a vehicle's odometer back to increase its value.
In extreme cases, this “clocking” process can raise a vehicle's value by thousands of pounds. At the very least, it makes it easier to sell. These firms tend to justify their existence by claiming to only correct inaccurate readings caused by dashboard faults - and perhaps some do - but countless others have less honest intentions.
A motorist that buys a clocked vehicle faces a wide range of consequences. Firstly, he/she has overpaid for a machine that has more wear than expected. Parts might have to be replaced sooner rather than later. Secondly, it will be hard to sell on in the future if it is honestly represented. A dealer that inadvertently sells a clocked car might also damage the businesses' reputation.
HPI Discusses New Law
Neil Hodson, Managing Director of HPI that helps second-hand buyers confirm vehicle mileage and history, said of the new law: “HPI has been a committed campaigner against clocking and the exploitation of this loophole, so we applaud the EU decision.” He added: “Of course, the new rules won’t end all instances of clocking, but it removes the firms that hide behind the label of legitimacy to help dishonest sellers adjust their mileage to make a fast profit.”
How To Spot A Clocked Vehicle
A motorist cannot eliminate the risk of buying a clocked vehicle, but can minimise it. Start by cross referencing the mileages shown on MOT test certificates with the service history and invoices. If the paper certificates are missing then electronic copies can be viewed online. Visit: https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-history-vehicle.
The key is to check for consistency and natural progression. If, for example, MOT mileage on February 1st 2015 is eighty thousand then a service stamp two days earlier at eighty-five is suspicious.
Documents should also be free of corrections and time gaps. Imagine a vehicle is backed-up by paperwork that suggests it travelled sixty-thousand miles in its first three years. Now at five years its odometer says it has covered seventy thousand miles – just ten-thousand more - and the paperwork for the last two years is missing. It might be that the owner used the vehicle less and genuinely misplaced its papers - but the documents might have been binned to conceal tampering. Condition, further research, common sense, gut instinct and the how the seller acts indicate the truth.
Furthermore, service history can be faked so contact the garage that has (apparently) maintained the vehicle. Confirm its records match the paperwork. Tracing previous owners can be beneficial too.
It is also wise to look for comparisons. A Ford Mondeo that has covered ten-thousand miles should feel superior to a high mileage model. Finally, order a history check from a company such as HPI.