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One in three used cars has a hidden past

Used car lot

Hundreds of thousands of cars on UK roads could potentially have a chequered history – and most drivers are unaware of their vehicle’s unknown past.

That’s according to used vehicle database which has revealed an alarming one in three used cars in the UK is missing important details about its past.

What’s more, the research shows that 93% of 18-24-year-olds who visited Cazana’s website are buying used cars without bothering to request the vehicle’s full history, meaning they have no idea if it is stolen, on finance, ex-rental, or even safe to drive.

The stark warning comes amidst the latest used car selling scandal, which has left many car owners potentially entitled to compensation after being given misleading information prior to buying their vehicle.

Lawyers have ruled that buyers are entitled to huge compensation pay-outs if they bought an ex-rental car from dealers without warning, after traders were shamed for not always volunteering information on vehicles that were previously used within rental fleets.

Five things every motorist should do before buying a used car

1. Request a full vehicle history check. It may cost you a few quid in the short-term but could potentially save you a lot of hassle down the line. Most give you a timeline of vital information including the car’s MOT history, if it is on finance, if it has ever been written off, if it has ever been stolen, number plate change history, vehicle specification and much more. Cazana and other companies offer history checks.

2. Check the service history details. This will give you peace of mind that the vehicle has been well maintained. It will also flag up if it hasn’t been looked after, or if there have been lots of recurrent issues with the vehicle. It also doesn’t hurt to check the records of any previous accident damage.

3. Do a Google search on the previous owner, especially if it is a company. Try and get some information on what the vehicle was used for and how often it was used.

4. Ask to see the V5C (vehicle registration document) and look at the front page. This will have the current owner’s name and address, along with notes about the car, for example if it has ever been written off.

5. Check the vehicle for signs it has a hidden history. High-mileage vehicles often have chip marks on the bonnet, chipped or cracked headlights and worn pedal rubbers. The steering wheel pattern may be rubbed off and leather interiors worn.


About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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