Consumers need to protect themselves from the risk of buying a clocked car, warns vehicle history expert HPI. Latest figures from HPI reveal an increase of more than 10% over the last 5 years in the number of used cars it checks recording a mileage discrepancy. According to figures from HPI's National Mileage Register (NMR), over 1 million cars it checked in 2011 had an inconsistent mileage reading, leaving buyers vulnerable to paying over the odds for a vehicle.
An HPI Check includes a mileage check as standard, offering used car buyers a safeguard against the growing danger of clocking. "It is simply too easy for sellers to hike up the value of a car by turning back the miles on the odometer, making clocking one of the biggest risks for consumers," explains Kristian Welch, Consumer Director for HPI.
"Worryingly, we are seeing a new trend whereby some owners are clocking a car regularly throughout their ownership, making it even harder for buyers to establish if a vehicle's mileage is correct. We also know there are people who are returning leased cars to the leasing company, having adjusted the vehicle's mileage so that they meet the terms of their PCP (personal contract plan/leasing) agreement, which is further adding to the problem. With 1 in 20 cars we check recording a discrepant mileage, buyers need to take steps to be sure their potential purchase really is everything it seems."
Modern digital odometers make it easier than ever for clocked vehicles to evade detection. Whilst altering a car's mileage is not illegal itself, not declaring that mileage change to a potential buyer is. Clocking a vehicle can add potentially hundreds of pounds to the perceived value of a car. The real worry is that unsuspecting buyers could be saddled with higher running costs further down the line, as the vehicle is likely to have more general wear and tear than expected, and may have missed vital servicing intervals.