Clocking is the slang name for the crime of altering the odometer of a vehicle. It will almost always take the form of ‘rolling the clock back’ on a vehicle to make it appear that it has done less mileage. Criminals do this to increase the value of the car when they sell it. They don’t care that they’re ripping off buyers and possibly putting your safety at risk. When a car has been clocked you don’t know whether parts that are scheduled to be replaced at certain mileages have been replaced. So apart from risking your safety with an unroadworthy car, you may also end up paying far more fixing your car than you planned on.
Clocking only became a crime two years ago in Ireland but that doesn’t mean it has stopped. It has meant that criminals got a bit smarter about it and make it still harder to spot. It is estimated that 15% of cars are still clocked. Our advice is to:
- Get a car history check – but make sure you do it on the right car eg. one verified by TrustHub.
- Get a mechanic to have a look at it
- Check the NCT certificate and the mileage history printed on it – TrustHub automatically does this for you.
There are also some clues to look out for whatever you choose to do. The average privately owned car does 17,000 km (10,500 miles) a year. One used for business may have 24,000km (15,000 miles) on the clock. If a car has substantially less mileage on the odometer than comparable examples look for:
- excessive wear on the pedals
- a shiny/worn steering wheel
- worn gear knob
- heavy wear and tear on the seats – for example sagging springs and worn seat covers
In general, you get a better deal when you buy and sell privately but you still have to keep your wits about you. Use TrustHub to help you buy and sell your car with confidence.
You may have seen some statistics on the number of stolen cars in Ireland – the good news is that they’ve on a downward trend. There is a lead lining to this cloud though as most stolen cars for sale are now have been stolen with their keys by breaking into the owner’s house. In 2014, there were nearly 8,000 vehicles stolen from their owners but what isn’t apparent is the recovery rate. The Gardai actually recover the majority of cars but sometimes they recover them after you’ve already bought one.
What does this mean? It means that you as the buyer lose the car and all the hard-earned money you paid for it. You’re left with no wheels, no cash and no comeback. The car will be returned to its lawful owner – many times that will be the insurance company that paid out on a claim. I have personally dragged cars off of driveways when they’ve been discovered to be stolen. It gave me no pleasure to do so and I’ve dealt with some very upset people but it had to be done. That’s why TrustHub exists – so that people like you never fall afoul of car criminals. We make sure the car you’re looking at isn’t stolen and we’re the only ones who can do that. No car history check is capable of doing the same.
While I was writing another blog I suddenly wondered why an unreliable car was called a ‘lemon’. One quick Google later: In America a pool hall hustle was called a lemon game (1908); while to hand someone a lemon was British slang (1906) for “to pass off a sub-standard article as a good one.” Or it may simply be a metaphor for something which leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth.
It’s first known use in relation to cars was this Volkswagen beetle ad:
When dodgy dealer has a sub-standard car and wants to get rid of it the best thing they can do is tell you as a buyer as little as possible about it and hope you don’t find out for yourself.
Car criminals rely on both pressure tactics and knowing things about a car that you don’t. This information unbalance is what TrustHub fights. We give you the ability to show that the car is owned by the owner for at least three months and that it’s not stolen or otherwise untrustworthy. That way everybody involved is left, not with a bad taste in their mouth but, with a good deal in their pocket.