We like to think that all our customers who get in touch with us because they want to sell a car for cash are honest, upstanding folk, as indeed, we have found the majority to be, over the years. But of course, there will inevitably be circumstances where a potential car seller thinks they might be able to obtain a much better price by trying some very well-known and obvious tactics!
We all know that vehicle ‘clocking’ - the winding back of the odometer on a high–mileage car in order to raise the selling price – is still a widespread practice. At the end of 2010, more than 600,000 cars on UK roads were estimated to have been clocked to show lower mileages, rising to over 716,000 when vans and motorbikes are included.
Obviously, we all know this is illegal but when the value of a car for cash sale can be substantially increased for every 1,000 miles taken off the clock, the temptation is obviously there for some individuals! A professional car buyer will know all the specific details to look for.
While it is difficult, but not impossible to physically check if a digital odometer fitted to today’s vehicles has been wound back by using a laptop and specialised software, older cars can show more conventional clues, such as worn screws on the dashboard. However, it’s not so easy to avoid those tell-tale clues which are likely to reveal the real condition of the car and the mileage racked up!
A car with an extensive history of motorway journeys might betray slight chipping to the surface paintwork caused by stones across the front of the bonnet, grille and bumper. A quick check on the driver’s side can show worn pedal rubbers or a ‘shiny’ steering wheel.
When an older vehicle possesses virtually a new set of pedals/gearstick and/or upholstery, it could very well be an indication of an attempt to hide true mileage or covering up accident damage repair! When checking that the mileage on the clock roughly ties in with the age and appearance of a car, the vehicle documents will support the evidence either way!
Mileages on the service records and MOT certificates can be verified by contacting the garages concerned to confirm the mileage they recorded at the time of the service/MOT as well as speaking with the previous keeper named on the V5C/logbook to confirm the mileage at the time they bought and sold the vehicle.
Experienced car dealers are also likely to have an extensive knowledge and access to national computer records and other resources by which to confirm the true age of a vehicle under any circumstances!