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Turning back the years will only end in tears

15th March 2013 Print
Mileage correction

“Clocking” – otherwise known as illegitimately adjusting a vehicle’s mileage - has been practiced by dodgy used car sellers for many years as a means to make extra money. However vehicle information expert, HPI, is warning that the risks from buying a clocked car could hurt consumers in more places than just their wallet.
Nicola Johnson, Consumer Services Manager for HPI explains, “Clocking is used by fraudsters to boost the sale price of a vehicle, but the act of clocking also hides the fact that the car is likely to have done considerably more miles than the driver realises. If vital components are excessively worn and/or not replaced as recommended by the manufacturer, that vehicle could be a real danger to the driver and other road users.”
HPI’s concerns are echoed by vehicle inspection experts at the RAC.  “Vehicles displaying untrue mileages carry an increased risk of costly defects being present. With use comes wear, and therefore higher mileages are a likely indication of when maintenance costs could start to rise,” comments Michael Hill, Vehicle Inspections Manager for the RAC.
Despite some obvious tell-tale signs of general wear and tear, a higher mileage vehicle may look in reasonable condition; however, behind the bodywork there may be some less obvious wear that isn’t reflected by the reported mileage.  An incorrectly reported mileage could also lead a new owner into believing that their scheduled maintenance is up-to-date, missing out on vital service work such as a timing belt change that may lead to catastrophic engine failure.”
An RAC Inspection offers used car buyers a thorough vehicle examination that will help highlight unexplained gaps or leaps in maintenance records, a potential sign of clocking or a hidden history. And whilst a vehicle examination cannot authenticate recorded vehicle mileages, the RAC Inspection does provide used car buyers with an independent condition report on vehicle performance, offering added peace of mind and protection against the threat of clocking.  Prices start from £135 and details can be found at
This latest warning comes as the RAC backs HPI’s campaign to hit back against legitimate  ‘clockers’ in the form of Mileage Correction firms with the launch of its DirectGov e-Petition.  The OFT estimates there are over 70 mileage correction firms operating in Britain by exploiting a legal loophole.  HPI calls upon motorists to sign its e-Petition to force a change in the law and ban these firms.
David Bizley, RAC’s Technical Director says, “This is an important campaign which will help raise awareness of this shady practice which can cost unsuspecting motorists thousands of pounds.  We urge drivers to sign the e-Petition and to be on their guard when looking to purchase a second hand car.  It’s always wise to get an independent vehicle inspection done and conduct a vehicle history check for added peace of mind.”
“I’m more than happy to join HPI’s campaign and sign their e-petition calling on the government to clamp down on mileage correction firms,” confirms John Leech, MP.   “I find it astonishing that tampering with a car in this way is not actually illegal.  The practice is said to cause Greater Manchester motorists to be swindled out of an estimated £22m per year, and nationally car clocking costs consumers up to £580m a year according to the Office of Fair Trading.  I have long argued that this should be made illegal having previously raised this with Government Ministers and called on the Transport Select Committee to hold an enquiry into this immoral practice.”
Johnson concludes, “The dangers associated with a vehicle that has done considerably more miles than the owner realises are all too clear. And even if these issues are identified in time to prevent danger, the cost of servicing the car to bring it up to a maintainable standard could run into the thousands. However, a mileage and vehicle history check, as well as a full vehicle inspection can help protect consumers from buying a vehicle that’s hiding its true age behind a low mileage and a bargain price tag.”
To sign-up to the HPI e-Petition which calls upon Government to put a stop to Mileage Correction Firms simply, visit

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Mileage correction