Nearly five million cars in the UK may have had their mileage digitally altered and affordable finance plans with expensive penalties for exceeding mileage could be to blame.
According to Carly, a market leader in car electronic apps, nearly five million cars in the UK may have had their mileage digitally altered with London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds the top four UK cities for this fraud.
One of the reasons for the rise in mileage fraud is thought likely to be the increasing popularity of affordable car finance plans. Personal Contract Purchases and Personal Contract Hire deals often come with strict mileage limits where each additional mile can be charged at as much as 30p.
This has led to some owners turning to ‘mileage correction’ firms that offer to dial back the odometer to avoid expensive financial penalties.
The knock-on effect on the used car market means unsuspecting motorists are paying over the odds for vehicles which have had their mileage digitally altered. And modern cars rely on mileage to determine when and which car service is needed and when parts need replacing. Which could result in dangerous driving conditions.
Carly’s study also found large discrepancies between actual fuel consumption and data stated by manufacturers, in some cases these figures differ by almost 75 per cent, as well as changes to UK driving behaviour, with 40 per cent of all journeys on UK roads said to cover just three miles.
How to protect yourself from mileage fraud
Vehicle history report.
Since the mileage has to be recorded with each ownership/title change, a history report from AutoCheck ought to provide an alert if the number of miles at some point went down instead of up.
When you’re looking seriously at a car, make sure the mileage on the odometer is in line with mileage recorded in recent service, maintenance, and inspection records.
A car with really low miles ought to have both the original tyres and the original brakes. If not, be suspicious and find out why. Does the wear and tear in general seem in line with the mileage on the odometer? Look especially at wear on the steering wheel, gear stick and pedals.
Signs of tampering
Look at the odometer itself for signs of tampering. On analog odometers, make sure all the numbers line up correctly, aren’t crooked, and don’t have gaps.
If you suspect your car’s odometer has been tampered with, I’ve read that in the US they have successfully sued the seller and got triple the damages.
Hopefully this won’t ever happen to you, but at least you know that if it does there are ways to address it.