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New data released by sees 400% surge in ‘car clocking’. 

Data available at


Speaking ahead of RTE’s 1 Buyer Beware programme on Wednesday the 18th at 8:30pm,  Shane Teskey of highlights the massive increase in car clocking (tampering with the mileage of a car). 
Releasing data ahead of the programme, the Motorocheck statistics show car clocking has gone up at least 400% since March. In episode two, Philip explores the pitfalls consumers can encounter when buying a used car. He exposes the sophisticated manner in which cars are ‘clocked’ and ‘cloned’, how easily these cars move around the Irish market undetected, and learns what to look out for to avoid ending up with a ‘hot’ car in your possession

Commenting on this, Teskey said:

“In the past 9 months the number of mileage discrepancies identified by the Motorcheck database has risen by 400% from March 2009 to today’s date. We believe poor sales in the new car market as well as attractive second hand options from abroad have meant that the Irish motor industry is finding the current recession very difficult to survive.  There is always going to be a degree of car clocking by unscrupulous sellers but the numbers for 2009 are just staggering and we fear that even some car dealers are now utilising this dangerous practice.

 In the programme to be aired Wednesday the 18th at 8:30pm on RTE1 Shane Teskey helps journalist Philip Boucher Hayes of RTÉ’s Investigative Unit find out the real story behind some cars that have recently appeared on the Irish market. 

Clocking a car can be lethal:

The real danger associated with a clocked car is not the modified odometer but the false impression a prospective buyer may have of the vehicles mechanical condition. Interfering with a vehicles ECU (Engine Control Unit) can lead to malfunctions with other vital safety equipment. Problems that the the new owner may not be aware of until it’s too late and an accident is caused. 

Teskey also gives simple advice for all buyers and sellers to ensure a safer purchase: 

Top Ways to Avoid a Clocked Car

      • Compare the vehicle’s current odometer reading against the Irish National Mileage Register at

      • Ensure that the vehicle has a fully documented service history. Phone the garage/s that stamped the book and verify the odometer recorded at the time the work was carried out.

      • Ask for previous NCT records if available from the owner. The mileage reading taken at the test should be evident on the results.

      • If the vehicle doesn’t have a service history look around the interior. You’d be surprised at what you might find. Some service garages put stickers on the inside top right of the windscreen to indicate – “next service due at” – look for these stickers and call the garage detailed. If you find evidence that a sticker was previously there and has since been removed – be cautious!

      • Check the badge in the rear windscreen for a dealer logo or sometimes you’ll find out who has worked on the car by looking a the rear number plate. A lot of garages put ‘Number plate surrounds’ on the actual number plate to advertise their business. Any clues as to who’s been maintaining the car are invaluable and need to be confirmed.

      • High mileage generally leaves a number of physical indicators. Look for wear on the gear stick and steering wheel. Lower mileage cars (>50k) should have very little wear. On higher mileage vehicles you would expect to see a smoothing/shining effect on the plastic or leather due to usage.  If the clock is the old style cylindrical shaped dials (Non-digital), make sure all of the numbers line up in a straight horizontal line. With clocked vehicles sometimes these dials go slightly off centre. For digital clocks a diagnostic check of the vehicle engine control unit (ECU) could indicate if the mileage has been reprogrammed (this is part of the Motorcheck pre-purchase inspection).

      • Look for excessive wear on the carpets, mats and pedals. If there are new carpet mats look under the mats for wear on the original carpet. Under the bonnet – look for a “greasy” or “creamy like” substance under the water cap (this is the cover on the radiator / expansion bottle) could indicate that the head gasket is failing. This would be common on cars with high mileage. 

Motorcheck’s Irish National Mileage Register can be accessed by anyone carrying out a car history check on the revamped website. The site now includes car history data for vehicles registered in the UK and Northern Ireland as well as Irish registered vehicles that have been previously imported from the UK thereby providing car buyers with comprehensive vehicle information from both sides of the Irish Sea. 

For further information on identifying a clocked car go to

November 17th, 2009