Sunday 15 December 2019

Concern as 177,000km slashed off the clock of car for sale

One in five cars was found to be clocked in a new survey
One in five cars was found to be clocked in a new survey

Eddie Cunningham Motoring Editor

ONE in every five cars examined have been 'clocked' – with more than 177,000km slashed off the mileage of one ageing vehicle.

Concerns are deepening over the extent of cars having their odometers altered, with estimates showing some unscrupulous sellers are wiping upwards of 40,000km off the true mileage of many cars.

It is now claimed that 20pc of cars that are officially checked out have had their mileage altered – which may be costing buyers as much as €60m a year in inflated values.

While the mammoth reduction of nearly 177,000km on one car is a dramatic example, figures obtained by the Irish Independent show there are others with up to 90,000km being wiped off the odometer.

A 2006 Louth-registered car had 187,254km on the clock in March 2009. Yet when its history was checked on behalf of a potential buyer this month, its 'mileage' read as 10,000km.

The firm, which carried out the history check, told the Irish Independent that around 20pc of the cars it is asked to investigate have been 'clocked'.

The practice of 'clocking', which lowers the mileage shown on the odometer, is now a criminal offence here. By rolling back the distance on the odometer, unscrupulous sellers can charge a higher price for a car.

Other examples of reduced mileage uncovered by, and provided to the Irish Independent, include:

* An 06-WX reg car had 207,417km on the clock in July 2010. In August 2011, it showed 120,001km. Difference: 87,416km.

* 03-D car on April 17, 2012, had 220,158km. On April 26, 2012, it showed 130,000km. Difference: 90,158km.

* English reg (import): December 2013, it had 153,750 miles. In January 2014, it showed 113,000 miles. Difference: 40,750 miles (65,000km approx).

Buyers are being warned to have intended purchases checked out because of the perceived increase in clocking.

Altering mileage can be highly lucrative for the seller. It is reckoned that a secondhand Volkswagen Golf, for example, can double in value if it has had 100,000km wiped off.

There are potentially serious knock-on effects for unsuspecting buyers. The obvious one is a car worth significantly less than paid for. But brakes, suspension and engine may be badly worn and represent a much higher risk of failure.

Irish Independent

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