Classic car owners could be caught out as experts issue fresh mileage warning

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Classic car owners have been told their vintage vehicles may be “keeping secrets” with their mileage likely to be wrong.

Mark Ellingson, owner of EllingsonClassicCars, has warned that historic cars may not have accurate odometers with many hiding how far the model has really travelled.

This could be a blow to car collectors with many buyers likely to be unaware of the true condition of a machine they are looking to buy.

They stress mileage clocks may be reset during a car restoration while some models with analogue displays may be built to display the data wrong after so many years.

To demonstrate their point, the classic car dealership showed off a vehicle over 65 years old claiming to have driven just under 40 miles.

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Speaking on their YouTube channel, Mr Ellingson said: “A lot of people wonder when they see some of the mileage on some of these cars, they go ‘what is the story’. This is a 1957 Bonneville. It shows 39 miles. I’ll tell you what they do.

“Many times when you do a complete body-off restoration you set the odometer’s back to zero so you know exactly when it started, when the car was done.

“Remember also that these cars only had five digits. So it only goes up to 99,999 miles and then it goes back to zero.

“So sometimes you’ll get a car and you’ll look at it and go ‘maybe it has only 40,000 miles’ well maybe it’s 140,000 miles because you can’t tell from the odometer. They keep secrets.”

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Classic cars may also be susceptible to mileage fraud, otherwise known as clocking.

This is where sellers will purposefully tamper with the mileage to increase the vehicle’s apparent value. According to the RAC, a staggering one in 14 vehicles show inaccurate mileage.

Meanwhile, they stress the number of vehicles on the road with manipulated mileage has surged by around 25 percent in recent years.

However, the breakdown group warns that incorrect figures could lead to major long-term consequences for owners.

They explained: “If a car’s mileage is not accurate this could mean you are buying a car that may have parts that need replacing.

“For example, timing belts should be changed every 60,000 miles. However, if you buy a car that needs a new belt but the odometer only shows 40,000 miles, you could then be driving for another 20,000 miles unaware that at any time that belt could snap.”

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