Fleet News

Clocked cars are a growing threat to used buyers

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.

“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.”

HPI’S Tips on spotting a clocked vehicle

  • Check the service history – Check the mileages displayed in the service history and look for invoices and service stamps from a genuine dealer
  • Speak to the previous keeper – Contact the previous keeper to confirm the mileage of the vehicle when they sold it.
  • Trust your judgement –Look for any evidence that indicates clocking – anything out of keeping with the general condition of the vehicle.
  • Check the mileage – Clockers sometimes wind back the mileage for the first viewing and then return it to its original value once you buy. Check the mileage is the same when you pick up the vehicle.
  • Look for signs of wear and tear – Does the wear and tear on areas such as seats and the steering wheel match its mileage? Look out for brand new easily replaceable parts, which don’t match the vehicle’s displayed mileage.
  • Conduct an HPI Check – Don’t take the risk, let HPI check its mileage database of 135 million mileages

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