Does Your Car Have Fraudulent Mileage?
Mileage clocking is still fairly common in the second-hand car market. Cars with lower mileage command a higher price so sellers can clock cars to make vehicles appear more valuable. For buyers though, cars with mileage fraud often result in costly repair work and unwanted surprises.
Whilst vehicles with low mileage seem like attractive buys, checking for signs of clocking will ensure there’s no nasty surprises. Digital odometers are easier to tamper with so modern cars are still susceptible to clocking.
A new report from car history service carVertical reveals the cars that are most prone to mileage fraud. Data gathered from 1.11 million history reports over the last year in America and Europe shows the most clocked car is the Audi A8. Of the A8s checked with carVertical in 2022, 30.6% of them had suspected mileage fraud.
To establish whether a vehicle might have clocked mileage, reports like MOT checks were analysed to see if there was a significant drop in recorded mileage. High value German cars were found to be the most prone to mileage clocking with Audi, BMW and Volkswagen models accounting for 15 of the top 20 most clocked cars.
Other models on the list include the Ford Mustang in second place with 25.7% clocked and the Ford Mondeo in 10th with 22% clocked. Expensive vehicles like the Audi A5, A6, A7 and Q7, and the BMW X5, X6, 5 Series, 6 Series and 7 Series all featured in the top 20 most clocked cars.
Despite mileage fraud traditionally being associated with petrol and diesel vehicles, hybrid and electric vehicles can have odometers tampered with too. CarVertical estimates the percentage of clocked vehicles in Europe to be 15.6%, and the percentage of clocked EVs is 13.4%.
A key concern with clocked vehicles is missed maintenance milestones like cambelt replacements and oil changes. Mileage fraud can also void manufacturer and used car warranties, making repairs costly. In electric vehicles with mileage fraud, the condition of the battery can be disguised, affecting expected battery capacity and life.
To avoid purchasing a vehicle with mileage fraud make sure to check MOT history. In the UK MOT records can be accessed online and show the recorded mileage of a vehicle at every MOT check. A vehicle that has been well maintained will have yearly MOT history documenting annual mileage increases. Records showing significantly decreased readings would suggest a vehicle has been clocked.