New mileage warning: Classic car owners must beware to avoid potential pitfalls

Vintage car enthusiasts have been alerted to a disconcerting revelation – their beloved classic vehicles may be concealing a secret: inaccurate mileage. Mark Ellingson, the owner of EllingsonClassicCars, has issued a warning, informing collectors that historic cars often have misleading odometers, leaving potential buyers unaware of the true condition and mileage of the vehicle they are considering purchasing.

Ellingson emphasizes that mileage clocks can be reset during the restoration process, and some analogue models may be intentionally designed to display incorrect data after years of use. To illustrate their point, the classic car dealership showcased a vehicle that is over 65 years old, claiming to have only traveled less than 40 miles.

During a discussion on their YouTube channel, Mr. Ellingson elaborated, stating, “People often raise eyebrows at the mileage of these cars and wonder what the story behind it is. This particular car is a 1957 Bonneville, displaying a mere 39 miles. Let me explain what happens.”

“When undertaking a complete body-off restoration, the odometer is often set back to zero to accurately track the car’s milestones from the moment the restoration commences and is completed.”

“It’s important to note that these cars typically have odometers with only five digits. As a result, they can only display up to 99,999 miles before returning to zero.”

“Therefore, it’s possible to come across a car and assume it has only covered 40,000 miles, when in reality, it could be closer to 140,000 miles. The odometer keeps secrets.”

Aside from potentially inaccurate mileage readings, classic cars are also vulnerable to mileage fraud, commonly known as “clocking.” Dishonest sellers intentionally manipulate the vehicle’s mileage to inflate its apparent value. Shockingly, the RAC reports that one in every 14 vehicles on the market has inaccurate mileage, and instances of mileage tampering have increased by approximately 25% in recent years.

The breakdown group, however, highlights the serious long-term implications for owners if incorrect mileage figures are taken at face value. They caution, “If a car’s mileage is inaccurate, it could mean that certain parts are in need of replacement.”

“For instance, timing belts should be changed every 60,000 miles. But if you buy a car with a claimed mileage of 40,000 miles, you might unknowingly continue driving for an additional 20,000 miles, unaware that the belt is at risk of snapping at any moment.”


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