Warning on surge in 'clocked' cars
Motorists are being urged to be alert for a wave of 'clocked' cars as latest figures show fraudsters are knocking an average of 120,000km off vehicles' true mileage.
The level of 'clocking' (lowering a car's odometer reading) rose again in 2016 - despite it being a criminal offence.
Experts say the problem is now widespread, even though current legislation criminalises the practice.
Potential buyers are being warned they could be stuck with a car that has covered an average of 120,000kms more than the odometer shows.
The figures were compiled for the Irish Independent by history-check specialists Motorcheck.ie and involved a sample of more than 85,000 vehicles.
The analysis also found:
The overall clocking rate has increased to 15pc (up from 14pc in 2015) despite legislation;
All major brands were effected. The top 10 makes include models from Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Renault, Nissan, Vauxhall/Opel, Peugeot and Mercedes;
70pc of all clocked cars were diesel-fuelled. Diesels are generally bought by people who put up bigger annual mileage. Around 120,000km fewer would significantly enhance a car's asking price;
The average age of a clocked car is eight years.
Cars with two-litre engines account for 28pc of all those that were interfered with.
Michael Rochford, managing director of Motorcheck.ie, said the rise in clocking may be explained by the increase in used imports.
He says that is because "the rate of clocking for UK imports is normally slightly higher than that for Irish cars".
With at least 70,000 cars expected to be imported in 2017, there is every likelihood that more clocked vehicles will come on the Irish market.