What is the National Mileage Register?

It’s here to protect you from fraud.

Have you received a National Mileage Register letter in the post? Wondering what it means and whether you can trust it? Is the National Mileage Register legitimate?

This service may appear a little suspicious at first, but it’s totally genuine. In fact, it’s been put in place to protect you from being scammed when you buy a used car. It helps you make sure that the miles on the clock align with the car’s age. 

Still got a few questions? Not to worry, we’re here to answer them.

What is the National Mileage Register?

The National Mileage Register (NMR) is a service run by a company called HPI (Hire Purchase Investigation). HPI collects data about vehicles’ mileage and logs it on a public database. If you’re a car dealer, or you’re buying a used car privately or online, you can take a look at HPI Check to make sure that no one’s tampered with the mileage on the car’s odometer.

The odometer is the counter on the dashboard that shows how far a car has been driven. Scammers will sometimes try to manipulate (or “clock”) the odometer so that it looks like the car’s been driven less than it has. 

If there’s a mileage discrepancy between the odometer and the number that the National Mileage Register has on file, this should be a big red flag to you. It could be a sign that you’re being scammed, and it’s probably best to walk away from the deal.

Why have I received a letter from the National Mileage Register?

The NMR will usually send you a letter when the mileage history of a car you once owned needs to be confirmed. 

It doesn’t mean that there’s any suspicion that you ever tampered with the car, or that it’s been tempered with since. It just means that some routine car mileage checks are being done, usually by a dealership.

Dealerships have to make sure that the mileage of the vehicles they sell is accurate. If they don’t, they could be prosecuted under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. The letter you receive is part of that process. 

It will point you to the NMR website, where you’ll need to enter your car’s registration number and a 10-digit reference number provided in the letter. After that, all you need to do is answer a few quick questions — that’s it!

Where did the NMR get my details?

HPI, which manages the NMR, has an agreement in place with the DVLA. According to this agreement, HPI can ask for the details of the previous owners of a car that is being investigated for mileage discrepancy. That’s how they get the details they need to send you a letter.

HPI will only ever use your details as part of a mileage investigation, and won’t pass them on to any dealerships, buyers, or third parties. 

Is the National Mileage Register legitimate?

Yes. The National Mileage Register is totally legitimate.

We hear you: receiving a National Mileage Register letter unannounced might appear a little strange. But there’s nothing to worry about. It’s a genuine service from a company that has all the right legal agreements and affiliations in place.

How do I find out the mileage of my car?

A car’s odometer, which can be found on the dashboard, will show how many miles the car has driven. It can usually be found near the speedometer and will either be digital (in newer cars), or a set of mechanical numbers (if the car’s a bit older).

You can also find the mileage of a car online by checking its service records or its MOT history. The MOT history will tell you what the car’s mileage was at every MOT test it’s had. And, of course, you can check the National Mileage Register.

What is an NMR check?

An NMR check means that your car, or the car you are considering buying, has been checked by the NMR for any mileage discrepancies. An NMR check usually reveals one of two results:

  • Discrepancy found: This means that the NMR has a higher previous reading than the car’s current odometer. It could mean that the car has been clocked.
  • No discrepancy: This means that the NMR doesn’t have a higher mileage reading on file, and that car likely hasn’t been clocked.

How common are mileage discrepancies?

Today, HPI estimates that one in 11 cars in the UK have mileage discrepancies. That’s the highest level of fraud ever seen in the motoring industry according to HPI. It’s up from one in 14 cars in 2018, one in 16 cars in 2017, and one in 20 cars in 2014.

Why does this keep getting worse? 

Well, cars with lower mileage have higher value, and fraudsters are always thinking of new and innovative ways to clock cars so that they can sell them for more than they’re worth.

Can you sell a car with mileage discrepancy in the UK?

While it isn’t ethical to change the odometer reading on a car, it isn’t technically illegal. What is against the law, however, is to sell a clocked car without telling the buyer what the real mileage is. That’s why car dealerships take the NMR so seriously. 

As we mentioned above, dealerships could get into legal trouble if they don’t have the right information on file.

Should I buy a car with a mileage discrepancy?

No. If you did, you’d likely land yourself in a bit of a mess.

  • Since the car is older than you initially thought, you could be inheriting a host of mechanical issues
  • Other areas of the car might also have also been tampered with.
  • And if you wanted to sell the car, you’d be committing an offence, since it would be your responsibility to check its mileage status.

Even if it’s a tempting offer, our advice would be to step away.

Can the National Mileage Register be wrong?

It’s very unlikely. 

HPI is so certain of the cutting-edge technology it uses that its HPI Check comes with a £30,000 guarantee. This means that you could be reimbursed up to £30,000 (or £15,000 for written-off vehicles) for any financial loss you suffer if HPI supplies you with inaccurate or incomplete information.

Quickfire summary

To recap, what is the National Mileage Register?

The National Mileage Register is a service that collects data about vehicles’ mileage and logs it on a public database. If you’re a car dealer, or you’re buying a used car, you can use the NMR to make sure that no one’s tampered with the car’s mileage.

If the mileage has been tampered with, it’s a good idea to walk away from the sale. Your car could be much older than the seller is telling you, and there could be a number of other issues that you’re not aware of.

And is the National Mileage Register legitimate? 

Yes, absolutely. It’s one of the most important ways to check that the used car you’re buying is really in the condition the seller says it is.

And remember, when you drive your NMR-approved car out of the dealership, you’ve got to have it properly insured. Get ready today by grabbing your car insurance quote here

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