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Here’s a fact.

Over 1 million cars checked by vehicle history experts HPI had a mileage discrepancy in 2011.

This, besides being illegal (only if the fact that the mileage change hasn’t been notified), obviously will lead to buyers paying over the odds for a vehicle.

And it’s on the increase. The HPI also revealed that there had been an increase of more than 10% over the last 5 years in the number of used cars it checks recording a mileage discrepancy.

“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.

Clocking a vehicle can add potentially hundreds of pounds to the perceived value of a car and digital odometers make it easier than ever for clocked vehicles to evade detection. And it’s not just the worry about paying over the odds. Wear and tear on a car increases with mileage, and a ‘clocked’ mileage could mean that services haven’t been carried out at times when they should, leading to the unsuspecting buyer paying higher running costs and unexpected repair bills further down the mileage line,

Kristian continues: “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. 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.”

And this mileage problem is even extending itself to the world of leasing. The number of people that 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.

HPI offer a Check that looks at mileage as standard, linked into the National Mileage Register (NMR) that contains over 135 million readings and is accepted as standard by leading motor retailers and manufacturers. This, of course, brings assurances that a vehicle checked by HPI has not been clocked – and if it has, the buyer is informed. So sure are they of this service, they even offer a £30,000 Guarantee in the event of their information proving to be incorrect.

Kristian Welch concludes, “It’s alarming to think that people are exploiting new ways to reduce the mileage on a vehicle in order to put hundreds or even thousands onto the price tag. Unsuspecting buyers are being caught out every day, but they don’t need to be. HPI always has the most comprehensive mileage data available, so if the seller has clocked a vehicle, the HPI Check will know.”

So, how do you spot a clocked vehicle? Although some of the answers to these questions may be perfectly innocent, a combination of these should set off warning bells in your wallet.

  • Check the service history (if there is one!) – Check the mileages and look for service stamps from a genuine dealer
  • Speak to the previous keeper – Ask them to confirm the mileage of the vehicle when they sold it.
  • Trust your judgement – You’re not going to hand over any cash until you’ve had a good look round are you. Look for anything out of keeping with the rest of the vehicle.
  • Check the mileage – Yes! It’s obvious. Make sure that the mileage when you viewed the vehicle is the same when you pick it up. ‘Clockers’ sometimes wind back the mileage for the first viewing and then return it to its original value once you buy.
  • Look for signs of wear and tear – Wear and tear on seats is usually a giveaway for a high (or large) mileage. Does it match the mileage shown?  And be wary of brand new parts that may be there to mask the old ones.
  • Conduct an HPI Check – Don’t take the risk, let HPI check its mileage database of 135 million mileages.

Keep ‘em peeled and Beat The Clock!

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