The practice of vehicle clocking has been a problem for decades. In the 80’s and 90’s the practice of turning back the mileage on a vehicle was rife with unscrupulous car dealers pushing back the miles. At the time most people who purchased a vehicle were aware that they should look for signs of a vehicle being clocked.

Over the past few years, cars have been constructed with more computer technology, which has given the consumer a false impression of security, believing that the likelihood of a vehicle having its mileage altered would not be possible. However, research has shown that vehicle clocking is increasing and the availability of devices to alter odometers to purchase online has made this a growing issue.

UKDPF have compiled the facts that every potential vehicle buyer should be aware of.

What is vehicle clocking?

Vehicle clocking is the practice of dropping the mileage on the odometer of a vehicle to increase its value. A lower mileage vehicle will generate a higher sale ticket.

Is vehicle clocking illegal?

Yes and no, it is legal for a mechanic to alter the odometer if they are correcting a fault. It is however illegal to sell a vehicle that has been clocked without disclosing the genuine mileage. A seller can be prosecuted under the Consumer Rights Act if it can be proven that the mileage was wound back for financial gain.

Why is vehicle clocking on the rise?

The first and foremost reason for clocking is to inflate the value of a vehicle, the lower the mileage, the higher the selling price. The newer and more recent reason for the increase in this practice is the increase in the demand for purchasing vehicles on lease or with finance, and the leasing companies providing low mileage allowances in their finance contracts. Penalties for driving over the mileage can be costly, so some consumers are choosing to commit fraud and get their vehicle clocked to show less miles.

Is car clocking dangerous?

The modern car has electronic components that are very complex, and the entire system works to ensure the driver is safe, alerting the user to any problems. When a vehicle is clocked it can interfere with the computerised system, readings will be out on other electronic components, which can lead to a malfunction in any warning lights and service alerts.

In the event of an accident, investigators will examine the vehicle’s onboard computer as this will assist in identifying any issues with the mechanics. Any deliberate interference with the system will cause a problem for the investigators, it will also likely result in the clocked vehicle’s insurance being declared invalid and void.

What are the warning signs of a clocked vehicle?

When purchasing a used vehicle, it is always recommended to obtain an online history check, this information will confirm the correct mileage for the vehicle.

There are a number warning signs to look out for when looking at a used vehicle.

  • Check all the documents, mileage on older MOT certificates and in service books should be noted.
  • The bodywork on the vehicle should match the mileage. A lot of stone chips on the front could indicate heavy motorway driving. A considerable number of dents on side panels could suggest a lot of use.
  • Seats, particularly the driver’s seat, should be checked for wear and tear. Seatbelts, carpets, and mats can demonstrate how heavy a vehicle’s use has been. A well-worn steering wheel is another indication of a lot of miles on the clock.
  • Know the value of the vehicle you are viewing if it is slightly undervalued, double-check the above.
  •  If it just doesn’t feel right, walk away.

This information was brought to you by UKDPF the UK’s No.1 DPF (diesel particulate filter) cleaning company. We provide a professional, reliable and competitively priced mobile DPF and engine cleaning service across London and the Homes Counties.