Over 1m 'clocked' cars found in 2011
The car history checkers over at HPI Check have said that more than one million of the cars it looked at last year had an inconsistent mileage reading, suggesting they'd been clocked.
The surprising number shows that, far from being an dying issue limited to older cars that are easier to fiddle with, clocking is still rife.
HPI says that modern digital odometers make it easier for someone to clock their car without anyone noticing.
Over the last five years, HPI has seen a 10% increase in the number of cars whose mileages have been tampered with.
"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," said HPI's Kristian Welch.
"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," he added.
The act of altering a car's mileage isn't illegal itself, but deceiving a buyer (or anyone) by not declaring it is; some contract hire users will 'hide' extra, penalty-incurring mileage by clocking their car before handing it back.
HPI has helpfully shared a few tips on spotting a clocked car:
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.
And, of course, the payoff for the press release...
Buy an HPI Check: Don't take the risk, let HPI check its mileage database of 135 million mileages.