Fleet News

EU cracks down on vehicle mileage-adjuster loophole

Companies that offer to wind back the mileage on cars and other road vehicles will be outlawed across the EU by mid-May 2018, AA Cars has learned.

As part of The AA’s work with motoring organisations across Europe, lobbying by the Czech motoring organisation revealed the clampdown on mileage adjusters.

In response to a question from the Czech group, EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said: “The new directive* on periodic roadworthiness tests foresees the compulsory check of the odometer during a roadworthiness check.”

She added: “The directive* explicitly stipulates that if the odometer is found to have been manipulated with the aim of reducing or misrepresenting the distance record of a vehicle the Member State shall ensure that appropriate penalties are in place.

“Consequently the Commission considers that offering services linked to the manipulation of the tachometer cannot be considered as a legal activity.

“Member States are obliged to transpose the provisions of the directive by May 20, 2018, at the latest.”

AA Cars has outlined the potential safety and financial dangers of mileage adjustment in the past. These include:

  • Critical mileage-related servicing and maintenance may be delayed or missed because the odometer indicates that the vehicle has done far fewer miles
  • Mileage-dependent parts replacement, such as cam belts, may be missed, potentially leading to catastrophically expensive engine and other damage
  • Car buyers may be scammed into paying thousands of pounds more for a car that has done many more miles and is therefore worth far less.

David Bruce, director of AA Cars said: “This will close a massive loophole that some dodgy car firms and owners were using legally to knock miles off the clock and push up the value of a vehicle.

“I don’t expect that this will call time on ‘clocking’ for good, but it will remove the veneer of legitimacy that mileage adjustment firms were able to hide behind.”

* Directive 2014/45/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers and repealing Directive 2009/40/EC, OJ L 127/51. (Source: European Parliament Register, 2015)

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