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Wrong mileage on MOT

Don't get clocked - check your MOT mileage

The government has announced that there’ll be a temporary period of MOT exemption during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. The length depends on the type of vehicle. This exemption is to help you carry on shopping for necessities and to travel to work, if you can’t do so from home. You can find out more on our main MOT page.


Car mileage

When you take your car for its yearly MOT, the garage will make an official record of your car's mileage.

But, if the garage gets the mileage wrong on the MOT certificate you receive at the end, it could make things difficult for you down the line.

Find out how your MOT mileage is recorded and what to do if you see that it's incorrect.


Tips for checking mileage

If you own the car - Check the mileage on the MOT certificate when you collect the car. If the garage has made a mistake it can be corrected within 7 days. But if missed, an error can affect the value of the car or make it more difficult to sell.

If you're buying a car - Bear in mind that MOT certificates can be forged. Use the mileage record on the certificate as a guide only and check the official record online.


Where's my car's mileage recorded?

A new type of MOT certificate was introduced in 2012. It made sure that the car's current mileage - and up to three previous recorded mileages - is printed on its MOT certificate.

A car's recorded mileage history is also available online through the gov.uk MOT history tool

The risk is very small, but there's a slight chance that the tester could record your mileage incorrectly during your car's MOT.


Why is the mileage recorded on my MOT?

The measure was meant to deter criminal clocking. That's where the mileage of a car is illegally turned back to make it look lower, so the used car can be sold for a higher amount.

Vehicle clocking is rife in some parts of the country, which can make things less safe and more expensive for used car buyers.


Why do I need to check my recorded mileage?

Unwary car owners could end up with a car that looks like it's been criminally clocked if the garage records the mileage wrongly at the car's MOT. There's even been cases where the tester's taken the mileage from the trip meter rather than the odometer.

If you're an innocent owner, you don't want to be accused of clocking a vehicle when you try to sell it on or get it re-tested.

It is highly unlikely that the tester will make a mistake but the consequences are serious enough for the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) to issue a specific warning to check your mileage.


How do I check my mileage is correct?

When you get your MOT certificate, check that the recorded mileage matches what's on your car's odometer. 

There's some concern that the MOT certificate printed by the tester can be forged or tampered with. You should treat a used car's MOT certificate as a guide rather than proof of its road-worthiness, ownership or mileage.

That's why checking VOSA’s online MOT database is an important step before buying a used car. You can check that the mileage you see on the car's odometer is in line with the recorded mileage online, so you know the vehicle hasn't been clocked.


What do I do if my recorded mileage is wrong?

If the MOT test station makes a mistake, the car owner only has 7 days to get the tester to correct the error and issue a new certificate. If not, the car’s mileage record is frozen and cannot be changed.

Make sure you check the mileage on the MOT certificate as soon as you get it, and let the tester know straightaway if it's wrong.