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Dec 12

What’s Legal And What’s Not With Mileage Correction

What is Mileage Correction?

Mileage correction is the manual ‘clocking’ of a vehicle’s mileage so that the meter assumes a desired reading. It is performed by specialist mileage correction firms and can be done on cars, bikes, vans, lorries and any other type of vehicle.

Mileage correction is not technically illegal in itself; however, the UK’s Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) is worried that it is being used to dupe drivers into buying used cars that are older than they look.

When Is Mileage Correction Okay?

Mileage correction is normally used when a vehicle’s digital odometer has been damaged or there is a fault with the mileage reading. A mileage correction firm can reset the meter to its original reading.

In modern cars, data stored in the digital odometer becomes corrupted due to a collision or other kind of traumatic impact. Digital mileage correction can correct this, as well as speedo recalibration, also offered by most firms.

This type of mileage correction is designed to help the owner of the car and is perfectly legal. Legitimate firms will require the owner to verify the vehicle’s correct mileage before the correction process.

The Darker Side of Mileage Correction

A recent report by the BBC’s Radio 5 Live has shown that some people are using mileage correction as a way to sell vehicles at a higher price than their actual value.

Of ten secretly recorded calls made to ten web-based mileage correction services, six said they would willing to wind back the clock on the car, even though there was no legitimate reason for doing so. In fact, the firms were all aware that it was being done in order to deceive a potential buyer.

A Freedom of Information request to VOSA revealed that in the year to March 2010, recorded mileage on MOT certificates for 669,127 cars had dropped when compared to the recordings taken 12 months earlier. The same was also found for 26, 512 motorbikes and 19,224 delivery vans.

Although Trading Standards told the BBC that these firms account for only a small number of cases, it is a worry for anybody buying a used car. It advises all buyers to check a vehicle’s MOT history on the gov.uk website before purchasing.

Meanwhile, if a driver is in need of a mileage correction following a collision or meter fault, they shouldn’t be tempted to go lower for the sake of extra gains when they sell the car.

How to Spot When a Car Has Been Clocked

Trading Standards has recorded many cases where drivers have purchased a used car only to find out later on that its mileage had been clocked.

To tell if a vehicle’s been clocked, look out for:

  • Wear and tear on the vehicle, combined with an appealingly low mileage that seems ‘too good to be true)
  • Pedals, a gear stick and/or steering wheel that look newer than the rest of the vehicle
  • A misalignment of the numbers on the odometer.

You will be able to claim compensation if you have been sold a car with a higher mileage than what was quoted to you by the seller. This is also the case if the seller was not aware of the real mileage but failed to check before selling the vehicle.

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