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Obsession with mileage helps 'clockers' – RMI

The number of cars with clocked mileages could be reduced if traders placed a higher value on good condition high-mileage used cars, according to the Retail Motor Industry Federation.

The organisation says the emphasis placed by dealers on car mileage rather than overall condition and age, when second hand cars are valued, may be contributing to the rise in clocking.

“Just because a car has a high mileage it does not mean that there will necessarily be anything wrong with it,” says Ray Holloway, director of the RMI's independent garage and fuel division.

“The build quality and engineering of modern cars means that if it has been well looked after, and has a full service history, there shouldn't be anything actually wrong with it.”

Holloway believes the industry needs to update its attitude towards high mileage vehicles. “If the motor trader placed a higher value on good condition high-mileage second hand cars, we could help reduce this illegal activity,” he says.

Computer technology has made it even easier than ever to alter the mileage on a second hand car, and even modern vehicles are not immune. According to HPI, mileage discrepancies now affect almost 10% of popular second hand cars. Volume family models pose the greatest risk but 'clockers' are beginning to target a range of vehicles including off-roaders and MPVs.

“Cars are now built better than ever and are designed to withstand increasingly high mileages. This plays into the hands of the 'clockers' because many of the tell-tale signs may not be present,” says HPI director Martin Brassell.

CAP recently reported that dealers are increasingly unable to achieve the profit margins they expect on lower mileage cars compared with high milers. Research shows that the 'concertina effect' of reduced value gaps between mileages is growing and vehicle age is now given greater priority.

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