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‘Car Clocking’, ‘Cut-and-Shut’, ‘Car Cloning’ – these are just some of the more common techniques used by rogue car dealers to fool you into buying a car that isn’t what it seems.

Don’t get stung! Ensure you check you are buying from a reputable dealer and do your homework! Check price guides and compare similar makes and models of the car you are interested in. Also ask about the service history and ask to see previous MOT certificates, service records and any repair bills.

Also ask to see the V5C registration document as this shows the registered keeper not the legal owner. If the person selling you the car is different to the person on the registration document, then ask why they are selling it.

So what is car clocking, cut and shut and car cloning?

Car Clocking is illegal as it changes the odometer reading (mileage), usually on a particularly high mileage vehicle to increase the sale value. Digital odometers can also be tampered with using specialist software. If you work on the basis that an average car will do around 12,000 miles per year, you can do a quick spot check and determine if the mileage is unusually low. If you are suspicious that the car you are interested in has done more miles, also check the pedal rubbers, condition of the steering wheel, and wear on seat belts. Cars which have travelled a lot of miles will have noticeable wear in these areas.

Cut and Shut vehicles are two different cars welded together. Usually they are accident damaged vehicles. It is often difficult to spot a 'cut and shut’ car from the outside, but careful examination by someone with a more experienced eye will likely pick it up.

Car Cloning is when the registration plates from one car is used on another of the same make, model and colour and is often used on stolen vehicles or to avoid speeding tickets and parking fines, so keeping the identity of the owner unknown.

It pays to be wary and buying from a reputable dealer who has credence and a long trading history is strongly advised. If you would like further advice on buying a second hand car, and are currently looking for a car, Foster & Heanes have a good range of quality cars, all covered with a 3 month warranty. Please pop along to our forecourt in Dogmersfield to have a look at the current cars for sale, or visit for full specs on all cars currently available.