How to spot car clocking 0

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In the old days, car clocking could be achieved easily by just popping off the odometer cover and winding it back with a screwdriver.

The digital age has made ‘clocking’ a good deal more complex. Rogue operators are using a vast array of illegal software to manipulate all manner of car functions, from reducing displayed mileage to even taking control of vehicles.

To be expected perhaps; as long as computer software continues to develop, so will the skills of hackers attempting to penetrate it. In the UK, the number of cars suspected to have had their mileage lowered has risen by 25% since 2014. When you consider that removing 60,000 miles from a car’s clock can add up to £4,000 to the value, the fraud is big business for unscrupulous traders.

The practise is not even particular well hidden. Adverts posted by car clockers selling their services appear online via a wide variety of highly visible, easily accessible, well known websites.  

The RAC says: “It’s absolutely ludicrous that shady operators are able to advertise their services, putting motorists at risk of buying a car with a tampered mileage, disguising its true history and likely level of wear and tear.”

Surprisingly, it’s not technically against the law to alter a car’s odometer than sell the vehicle without mentioning it.

The digital nature of new cars mean that anyone with a medium understanding of computer software can access a vehicle’s hard drive.

When buying a used car, it’s important to scrutinise the paperwork to ensure everything stacks up. Do the mileages look realistic? Check for any unusual periods where the vehicle was inactive.

Due to the digital nature of today’s clocking, cars that have been tampered with will normally show side effects. Electrical malfunctions, glitches and bugs will be commonplace. If a prospective car shows a lot of electrical bugs on a test drive, question why and exercise caution.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a used car, be sure to conduct a thorough vehicle history check by visiting the gov.uk website. This will reveal the car’s performance at every MOT since 2005.

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