Clocking Is Still A Problem For Second-hand Cars


You would be forgiven for thinking that clocking was an unscrupulous practice left behind decades ago in backstreet garages, but the unfortunate fact is that it’s still rearing its ugly head. Clocking occurs when someone turns a vehicle’s odometer backwards in a bid to make the vehicle look less used than it is, deliberately cloaking its true mileage. Worryingly, there has been a 25% increase in the number of second-hand cars that have had their mileage altered in the last three years, according to WhatCar?

Bizarrely, the practice of mileage clocking and the sale of mileage clocking equipment is still legal, even though the sale of clocked vehicles is strictly prohibited.

How to spot a clocked used car

Although specific signs of a clocked vehicle are becoming harder to spot in the current climate, there are still some tell-tale signs that a vehicle’s odometer may have been tampered with:

A vehicle’s service history book should record how far it has travelled in between services. If a seller has purchased a new service book or, worse still, amended an existing one, this might be an early warning sign.

Assess the condition of the vehicle’s interior. If the seats are looking particularly tired but the car has only done 30-40,000 miles, this could be cause for suspicion.

Today, newer models display odometer readings in digital format. So, if you have concerns about the use of the vehicle, check for any malfunctions with the vehicle’s trip computer.