How to avoid buying a “clocked” car

Motorists are paying thousands of pounds more for cars that have had their mileages illegally turned back, HPI and CAP have reported.
The “clocking” process – based on reductions of 60,000 miles -increases the value of an average car such as a hatchback by up to 42%, and other models such as the VW Golf by 47%. Extraordinarily 4×4 prices increase by an average of 30% and Land Rover’s Discovery’s are increased by 37%. The cost of the average people carrier can rise by 50% and sports cars rocket 40%. The most sought after models in these two classes – such as the VW Sharan and Alfa Romeo Spider Convertible can rise by up to 60% and 47% respectively. The ” Clocking” process ultimately has implications for the average motorist and for motor traders that unwittingly sell clocked cars. CAP’s examples include:

30,000mls 60,000mls 90,000mls
Manufacturer Model. £. £. £
VW GOLF HATCHBACK (2009 – 2012). £9,125 £7,475 £6,225

FORD FOCUS HATCHBACK (2008 – 2011) £6,075 £4,975 £4,150

HONDA CIVIC HATCHBACK (2009 – 2011) £7,150 £5,850 £4,875

FORD MONDEO SALOON (2007 – 2010) £6,650 £5,450 £4,550

VAUXHALL INSIGNIA SALOON (2009 —-) £8,250 £6,750. £5,650

VW PASSAT SALOON (2005 – 2010) £7,475 £6,120. £5,125

SAAB 9-5 EST SPECIAL EDITIONS (2007 – 2010) £5,350 £4,225 £3,400

VOLVO V70 ESTATE (2007 —-) £16,100 £13,200. £11,050

BMW 5 SERIES TOURING (2010 —-) £18,400 £15,600. £13,500

ALFA ROMEO SPIDER CONVERTIBLE (07 – 2010). £13,000 £10,650. £8,925

MAZDA MX-5 CONVERTIBLE (2009 —-) £8,800 £7,175 £6,025

AUDI TT ROADSTER (2007 —-) £14,700 £12,900 £11,600

RANGE ROVER SPORT DIESEL ESTATE (2009 –). £29,600 £26,050. £23,350

VOLVO XC60 DIESEL ESTATE (2008 –) £17,300 £15,250. £13,650

DISCOVERY 4 DIESEL SW (2009 –) £29,150 £24,750 £21,350

VW SHARAN DIESEL ESTATE (2000 – 2010) £11,200 £8,850 £7,075

FORD GALAXY DIESEL ESTATE (2010 —-) £12,050 £9,850 £8,225

SEAT ALHAMBRA DIESEL ESTATE (2000 – 2010) £9,375 £7,675 £6,400

So how do you spot a car that’s been clocked?

Of course the only way to guarantee the mileage on a car is to buy new. There are ways to minimise the risk on the second-hand market. The first thing would be to cross reference the mileages shown on all of the previous MOT certificates along with any service history/invoices.
If the certificates are not available then you can access the information online at: If, for example, the MOT mileage on April1st 2013 is 70,000 then a service stamp two days later at 75,000 miles is a red flag and you should walk away from any deal for it. If there is a lack of paperwork then can also be a concern too as you have nothing to cross reference. Another thing to bear in mind is that service history can be faked so a good idea would be to contact the garage that (according to the service book) maintained the vehicle. They should be able to confirm that service book matches the information they hold for the vehicle.
Another way is to find comparisons. Why you may ask?
A Ford Focus that has covered 10,000 miles should feel a lot better in comparison to a high mileage car. So you should test more that one to ensure that you are familiar with the range. One vitally important way is to buy a history/mileage check from a company such as HPI: as they will hold information such as mileage, any accidents such as, has the car been involved in a major accident and repaired. If you notice any discrepancies in this information from what you physically see on the odometer in the car then walk away and inform the relevant authority!

In essence take care when buying a used car and ensure that you go through all of the steps to ensure that you don’t get conned by unscrupulous dealers or indeed individuals who are looking to add value to a high mileage vehicle.