Vehicle clockers are in the sights of business minister Anna Soubry, who has pledged a law change to close the loophole which allows fraudsters to wind back the miles on an odometer.
Vehicle history check firm HPI estimates that 1.7 million used cars on the UK’s roads could have a fraudulent mileage reading.
Last autumn the National Franchised Dealers Association lobbied MPs for a crackdown on companies who are allowed to legitimately advertise mileage correction services, and highlighted that DIY kits for such purposes are freely sold over the internet.
The NFDA and HPI argue that the legitimate occasions to change a vehicle’s odometer are very infrequent, however doing so fraudulently allows unscrupulous sellers to boost the sale price of a vehicle.
Neil Hodson, deputy managing director for Cap HPI said: “Clocking is a blight on the used car industry. It’s a fast and easy way for unscrupulous sellers to make money, with many simply thinking, ‘Why not?’. But here is a perfect example of why not – serious problems can occur with a vehicle.
“Firstly, there is the potential to miss important servicing and warning light indicators, as the car’s various different components will be reading different mileages. By changing the mileage, a clocker will actually be causing conflicts within the cars electronics and interfering with the normal routines for servicing and repair. In addition, the manufacturer’s warranty is likely to be void if the car is discovered to have been clocked.
“There is also a very serious legal issue to be considered. In modern vehicles crucial evidence of a cars performance and speed at the time of an accident will be stored in the car's on board computer.
"Such evidence may have an important contribution to make in an accident investigation, but sadly if a vehicle has had its mileage tampered with, the integrity of the data could be said to have been compromised and likely inadmissible as evidence in court. So an innocent party in an accident could find themselves unable to prove this if they had been driving a clocked car without realising.”