Buyers urged to watch out for car clocking

7th May 2013

With car sales rising in the UK, HPI is warning buyers to carefully research vehicles prior to purchase. Last month, the automotive industry grew 14.8 per cent, with private purchases accounting for approximately half of sales. Buyers need to be especially cautious at the moment, as many scammers are looking to cash in on the expanding market.

Illegitimately adjusting a vehicle’s mileage, a process called clocking, can increase a vehicle’s value significantly, hence why it has become such a widespread problem. One of the UK’s bestsellers, the Volkswagen Golf, is worth as much as 47 per cent more once it’s been clocked, while a 4x4s’ value increases by about a third. The value of a hatchback rises by about 42 per cent if its mileage has been manipulated.

“With the value of a typical family car varying by anything in the region of 20 per cent upwards when 30,000 miles are wiped off the clock, you can certainly see the motive for the clockers”, said Derren Martin, senior editor of CAP Black Book Live.

Dishonest sellers are targeting any and all unsuspecting buyers, whether they be private customers or franchise dealers – anyone they can make a quick profit from. “Dealers are hurt just as much by this practice as the motorist”, said Mr Martin. Reputations and sales suffer following a clocking scandal. To crack down on this problem, the Office of Fair Trading is requiring more than just mileage disclaimers to verify a car’s history. Now, buyers must do everything in their power to prove car mileage is accurate.

Provenance services and the National Mileage Register are leading the battle against clockers. HPI has a mileage investigation team whose services are highly valued by dealers and consumers alike. Managing director for HPI, Daniel Burgess, said: “A sound mileage verification strategy which is backed by a thorough investigations process is not only best practice but can provide dealers with a sound legal defence.” In addition to preserving dealers’ reputations, it can save consumers quite a lot of money – in that way, the service pays for itself.

To ensure your car is in optimal condition and performing as it should, get it checked out by a professional at ATS Euromaster.