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How to Check a Car’s Mileage: A Guide for UK Drivers

Knowing a car’s mileage is crucial when purchasing a used vehicle or assessing its overall condition. In the United Kingdom, there are several ways to check a car’s mileage and ensure its accuracy. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do so:

1. Paperwork Inspection: Start by examining the vehicle’s logbook (V5C). The recorded mileage should be listed here, and any discrepancies could indicate tampering.

2. Service History: Review the car’s service records, including invoices and receipts. The service history should reflect the mileage at each maintenance interval.

3. MOT Certificates: The UK requires all vehicles aged three years or older to undergo an annual MOT test. Check the certificates to verify the recorded mileage during each test.

4. Online Vehicle Check Services: Utilize online platforms like the DVLA’s vehicle information checker or reputable commercial services. These services provide detailed reports that include mileage history, MOT records, and more.

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5. Dashboard Inspection: Check the car’s dashboard for any signs of tampering or replacement. Mismatched screws, loose panels, or an incorrect mileage display can indicate foul play.

6. Odometer Check: Physically inspect the car’s odometer, ensuring it matches the recorded mileage. Additionally, verify that the digits are aligned and not obscured.

7. Professional Inspection: If you’re unsure about the accuracy of the mileage, seek a professional inspection from a trusted mechanic or vehicle inspector. They can provide a comprehensive assessment and verify the car’s true mileage.

7 FAQs about Checking a Car’s Mileage in the UK:

1. Can the mileage be reset on a car?
Yes, it is possible to manipulate a car’s mileage, which is why careful checks and inspections are essential.

2. Do digital odometers make tampering easier?
Digital odometers can be tampered with, but they often leave electronic traces that can be detected during inspections.

3. Is it illegal to tamper with a car’s mileage?
Yes, tampering with a car’s mileage is a criminal offense in the UK, punishable by fines and imprisonment.

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4. Can I trust a car’s service history?
While most service histories are reliable, it’s essential to cross-check the information with other sources to ensure accuracy.

5. What happens if the mileage is incorrect?
If you discover that a car’s mileage has been tampered with or inaccurately recorded, it’s best to avoid purchasing the vehicle and report the incident to the authorities.

6. Are there any other signs of mileage tampering?
Other signs may include excessive wear on the pedals, steering wheel, or seats, inconsistent service records, or unusually low mileage for the car’s age.

7. Can I check a car’s mileage if I only have the registration number?
Yes, numerous online services allow you to obtain a vehicle’s history report by entering its registration number.

By following these steps and conducting thorough checks, UK drivers can ensure they make informed decisions when purchasing a used car and avoid falling victim to mileage tampering.