Consumers need to protect themselves from the risk of buying a clocked car, warns vehicle history expert HPI.
Clocking can add potentially hundreds of pounds to the perceived value of a car. The latest figures from HPI's National Mileage Register reveal that in the past five years the number of used cars recording a mileage discrepancy has increased by more than 10%. Over one million cars checked in 2011 had an inconsistent mileage reading, leaving buyers vulnerable to paying over the odds.
The other worry is that unsuspecting buyers could be saddled with higher running costs further down the line, as the vehicle is likely to have more general wear and tear than expected, and may have missed vital servicing intervals.
"It is easy for sellers to hike up the value of a car by turning back the miles on the odometer," said Kristian Welch, the Consumer Director for HPI. "Worryingly, we are seeing a new trend whereby some owners are clocking a car regularly during their ownership. We know there are people returning leased cars to a leasing company, having adjusted the mileage to meet the terms of their PCP (personal contract plan/leasing) agreement, which is further adding to the problem."
That is why most reputable used car retailers guarantee the mileage of their stock by including an HPI Check with every vehicle they sell. If a seller has clocked a vehicle, the HPI Check will know.
"With one in every 20 cars we check recording a discrepant mileage, buyers need to take steps to be sure their potential purchase really is everything it seems," Kristian Welch added.