For the younger motorists amongst us, the practice of clocking might not be something that they would be altogether familiar with. For those who don’t know, clocking is an act that saw dodgy garages and dealers manually roll back the odometer in a car, so it displays a lower overall mileage, and artificially increases the potential sale value of the car.
However, in more modern settings, the odometer is no longer such a manual piece of kit, and the majority of it is handled by a computer. As a result, people have assumed that the practice of clocking is something that would have been confined to the history books, but they were wrong.
In a recent piece of research from Glass’s Motoring, it now seems that the motorist themselves are turning to mileage adjustment companies to reduce the miles on their digital odometer. Which has lead to the number of cars showing mileage discrepancies rising to one in 16, which is a 25% increase on 2014’s data.
The upshot of this is, that this then leads to a one in 16 chance of a driver purchasing a clocked vehicle, with combined costs standing at over £800 million per year for UK motorists. Where it is estimated that reducing the mileage on the odometer of a Range Rover Evoque, Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Qashqai can increase their resale value by up to £4,000.
This practice, however is not strictly illegal. While there are restrictions and rightful punishment for dealers that sell clocked cars, when owners sell a clocked car, it is their responsibility to declare if the mileage has been altered or changed. Therefore what exists is a loophole while it is illegal to knowingly sell a clocked vehicle, it is not illegal for a driver to alter the mileage on their odometer. With this, mileage adjustment companies are still able to continue to practice.
While this remains an issue, the advance of technology will hopefully soon eradicate clocking overall, as odometers will become more digitised, data feeds will keep accurate logs on an individual car’s mileage.