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Car Clocking: How Many Miles Has My Car Done?

Posted on 28th March 2022
Car Clocking: How Many Miles Has My Car Done?

Normally a simple look at the display in your car would answer this question. Is it accurate though and has it been tampered with to create a false mileage?

You would think, the mileage shown is what the car has travelled in its lifetime. This isn’t always true though. The illicit trade of winding back the miles to make a cars mileage appear more appealing is still just as prevalent as it was many years ago.

How though do you know that your mileage is accurate and why do people clock cars? Read below and find out how to spot a clocking and what you can do.

What is car clocking?

Put simply, car clocking is the process of adjusting the mileage of a car to make it more appealing to potential buyers. A car with less mileage will sell for a higher price than one that has travelled thousands and thousands of miles. It is thought that it has cost British motorists over £800m per year as they pay inflated prices for vehicles.

Cap HPI, a company that specialize in vehicle history checks, recently stated that there has been a 30% increase in clocked cars over the past few years. Strangely it is not illegal to alter the mileage on a car, but it is illegal to knowingly sell one that has been clocked.

Who clocks cars and why?

It would be cliché to think that dodgy car dealers are the only ones trying to wind back the miles in order to make a better profit. Some trade experts have, in recent times, stated that it could be car owners themselves, like those looking to sell their car privately and make extra cash where possible.

It has also been thought that people financing a car via PCP and PCH finance deals have started to clock cars to avoid penalty fees that come with exceeding the mileage limits these deals have in place. Whilst this cannot be totally proven, industry experts believe it could be a contributing factor to the increase in clocked cars.

At Euphoria Finance, we do not offer finance via PCP or PCH methods meaning you can drive safe in the knowledge that there will be no penalty fees for the number of miles you cover.

Dangers of car clocking

Many cars have systems that are linked together and when they are activated, they communicate with each other. For example, if a system is set off, such as an airbag or ABS it sends information to a central system where a snapshot of the mileage is recorded.

This means that if someone has clocked the car, they run the risk of causing the safety warnings on the vehicle to fail to operate properly. The odometer and the stored data not matching causing potentially dangerous problems for the driver.

This problem further extends to legal complications should they arise. If an accident has happened, some of the stored data will need to be retrieved in order to investigate the problem. If the mileage has been altered on the odometer, it will not match the stored data and therefore conflict with the investigation and make any potential evidence inadmissible.

It isn’t just stored data that may compromise the safety and legality of your car. You may buy a car with an advertised mileage of 10,000 miles, perhaps expecting the brakes to still be in good condition. If though, the car had actually driven 50,000 miles these parts may be significantly worn and contribute to a major accident.

Clocked car warning signs

Some things will be harder to discover than others and with digital displays more prominent now, it is a little harder to know if your potential new car has been clocked. Look out for the following:

  • Worn pedals – these would indicate high use and as a result may not match with how much mileage is shown
  • Shiny steering wheel – much like the pedal, a shiny steering wheel indicates a lot of use.
  • Chips – chips to the bonnet or window may be an indicator of a lot of driving
  • General wear and tear – a car with low mileage will look in fairly good condition. If it looks well used, it’s been well driven.
  • Check the service history and old MOT certificates


Euphoria Finance is fully regulated and authorized by the FCA. We specialize in securing finance for drivers looking for new car finance, used car finance and poor credit car finance. We also love to help new drivers get on the road with our personalized finance packages.

Contact our expert team today to find out how we can get your safely and affordably on the road. A free quote will give you an answer in minutes!

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