Car 'Clocking' on increase


Car 'Clocking' on increase

A recent study of second-hand cars in Ireland has found that 1 in 10 second hand cars currently listed sale have a false mileage displayed. The figure is even worse for cars imported from the UK where nearly 1 in 5 has an unreliable or questionable mileage reading.

The study was carried out by in co-operation with AA Ireland. Over 120,000 vehicles were checked on the database, which is the most complete vehicle database in the country.

The results show that “clocking” is widespread in the market locally and is worse for potential buyers of UK vehicles. and AA Ireland examined a random sample of 60,047 vehicle history checks on Irish vehicles carried out recently by potential buyers. Of those checks 11.04% returned mileage discrepancies (6634/60047) – which would each require further investigation to establish if the vehicle had been “clocked” in a given case.

In addition, a supplementary study which examined a random sample of 64,742 vehicles which displayed at least two mileage readings on the National Mileage Register (NMR), where at least one entry was added in the last 12 months, found that 11.15% of these vehicles had a mileage discrepancy.

The supplementary study also examined a random sample of 13,026 imported vehicles (vehicles which currently display an Irish registration but previously had a UK or Northern Ireland plate) which displayed at least two mileage readings on the NMR and one entry in the last 12 months. This aspect of the study found that imported vehicles were significantly more likely to have been clocked, with 18.43% of the imported cars assessed as having a mileage discrepancy.

These results represent a rise in the overall numbers of both domestic and imported vehicles recording a mileage discrepancy since the enactment of legislation criminalising the practice in 2014.

In 2013 the Government reviewed the NCT mileages on 59,528 cars and found that 9.8% of those returned lower mileages on a subsequent test – in other words returned a mileage discrepancy. Those vehicles would have all been at least 4 years old and this may have impacted on the result.

John Byrne, Legal and Public Relations Manager,, says: “These results are very concerning: on the Irish side we are painting a picture worse than the Government did when they conducted their own research in 2013 when they returned a rate of 9.8%. More worrying still is the situation with respect to imports – at 18.43% this rate is alarming. We would encourage anyone who is importing a vehicle to conduct a vehicle history check before buying and take your time with respect to the purchase of any new vehicle.”

Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs at AA Ireland stated, “Clocking is a very serious issue and something that anyone looking at purchasing a second hand car, whether in Ireland or from the UK, needs to watch out for.

“For example, our AA Rescue team regularly encounter car breakdowns which can be directly connected back to mileage discrepancies in the car. If a car has been clocked it’s highly likely that the car also has a questionable service history.”

“Repairing damage associated with car clocking can be very expensive and it’s also more likely that someone who owns a clocked car will experience a breakdown. Anyone looking at purchasing a second hand car in the near future, particularly if it’s a UK import should consider their breakdown assistance options to ensure they avoid any lengthy delays in the hard shoulder,” Faughnan added.

Clocking is now a criminal offence in the Republic of Ireland pursuant to section 14 of the Road Traffic Act 2014. Cartell had long campaigned for the introduction of such an offence. In 2010, Cartell presented to the Dáil draft legislation which sought to criminalise the practice. That legislation was initially rejected by the Government but a modified version of it was subsequently moved as a Private Members Bill in December 2012. The Government then decided to move on the issue.