Shocking number of clocked cars on UK roads

Published 07 August 2019

There could be as many as 2.5 million clocked cars on UK roads according to fresh research by a car history check firm.

Rapid Car Check analysed a random sample of one million cars and discovered that 6.5 per cent showed a mileage discrepancy as part of their MoT history - while 6.05 per cent appeared to have had their mileage lowered at some stage.

With around 38.5 million vehicles currently registered in the UK, that means there could be close to 2.5 million clocked cars on UK roads. These could be hiding issues that owners aren't aware of, meaning there are potentially millions of dangerous cars on our roads.

The research discovered that, on average, a clocked car has had its odometer wound back by a shocking 70,000 miles.

Buyers are advised to check a car's history before parting with their cash. Thankfully there a number of free or affordable history check services which go further than analysing a car's MoT history - revealing whether a car has been involved in a crash, has outstanding finance or has previously been reported stolen.

Check your car's MOT history


Arminius JP    on 8 August 2019

Is it not long past time that manufacturers were obliged to fit odometers that are tamper-proof or at least allow easy detection if tampering has occurred?

Manufacturers benefit from there being a secondary market where their customers can in turn sell their products and it seems wrong morally that they facilitate dishonest acts that harm buyers in that secondary market.

CHASBEE52    on 12 August 2019

Mot history is one thing but what about the first 3 years what's to stop a dealer winding the clock back before the first MOT and supplying a new doctored service record. we need mileage recorded every year why not mot every year don't see any problem with this but not by the dealer selling the car.
Electricians are not allowed to sign off there own work on grounds of safety so why should dealers be allowed to MOT vehicles they sell. Personally I would like to see all Mot tests carried out by independent agencies that are unable to repair the car. This would get rid of another problem the cheap MOT that ends up costing loads of money for work not necessary.

rcdbasher    on 20 August 2019

Unfortunately it wouldn't take long for some of these independent mot companies to form alliances with repair facilities, there are always people who spend as much effort trying to circumvent rules rather than doing an honest job, you just have to look at how many crooked mot's are still around that enable dangerous cars to be on the road.

Brendan Fleming    on 12 August 2019

I've had two instances of mileage tampering, both with VW group cars.
I owned a VW Passat V5, and traded it in to a franchised garage locally, with 109,000 miles on the clock. The following week, the same car was up for sale in an independent dealers, not far away, with 81,000 miles on the clock. I not only reported it to Trading Standards, but as I had just taken my private plate off the car, received the new V5, and promptly wrote my final mileage on the appropriate section before posting it back to the DVLA.
More recently, a family member bought an ex-Seat lease car. It had done 60,000 miles, full service history, and was being sold by an independent garage. The family member subsequently drove the car for 3 years, and an independent they use for servicing plugged into their VCDS (aftermarket diagnostic equipment suitable for VW group cars) and the true mileage was actually discovered to be 60,000 miles higher than previously thought.
The independent garage didn't want to know as so much time had passed, and Seat UK - who were ultimately deceived by their leaseholder who did 120,000 miles in the car but told them it was 60,000 - wouldn't respond to e-mails or letters.
Mileage tampering is incredibly common with leased cars, and it's deception. People lease cars with a 10,000 mile per year limit, exceed that by some margin, but have the mileage altered for £50 or so before each service, taking thousands of miles off the odometer. With three or four year leases, the actual mileage of a car is often far higher than officially recorded, but things like MOT & service history all point to a lower mileage.
Not all mileage correction is illegal though; I had a replacement speedometer on one car, and called one of the £50 guys to come & correct the mileage to what it should have been. I asked him if this was the first time he had actually added miles on to a car, not taken them off, but he said it was about 50/50.
Manufacturers can do more to address the situation, storing the mileage in various locations onboard, but some are very complacent - and therefore complicit - on the whole issue.

Ray Blackwell    on 12 August 2019

I bought a Skoda Octavia from FRANCHISED dealer and paid cash for the 2 and a half year old car, 10 months after purchase i received a letter from a solicitor advising me i was driving their clients car. It not only had £10,000 finance outstanding, but on researching further found it had been clocked by 30,000 miles. The stress made me ill, to which the Skoda dealers general manager sarcastically said " oh dear, shall i write you a cheque and make it better" .

Model Flyer    on 12 August 2019

It was common to see traders offering "mileage Correction" at car auctions here in the south east certainly up until a few years ago. I have't visited any auctions for some years now but it was out in the open for anyone to use . Very wrong.

Brian Sallows    on 12 August 2019

Can the true mileage be seen by using a plugin diagnostic meter ?

Michael Wardle    on 13 August 2019

Yes it can!

as003    on 14 August 2019

Beware Mini Cab (Private Hire Vehicles) Drivers. A large majority of them clock thier cars by 20,000 miles before each MOT. So after about 5 years, they show 100,000 miles less than the odometer. I would never trust a taxi driver. They are all crooks as I say.
A mate bought a Vauxhall Zafira, 57k, fir £3,000, a week later, the gearbox went, then the engine blew. It had been clocked by 180,000 miles.
Allways read the advert, Genuine Warranted Miles.

paul robert watson    on 20 August 2019

If a factory fitted GPS can be remotely unlocked to give details of where the car is at the time.I can't believe that it (GPS) dosn't know
what the actual mileage is.Could be checked at MOT and new ones
could just be checked for mileage,although some at the end of three
years are worse than an old one.

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