Buyer Beware


With the internet and social media, it may seem that sourcing and buying your new second-hand car can't be much easier now-a-days. But a recent study has shown that most buyers drive away in their new motor as pleased as punch, without taking the time for a few vital safety checks.

Research by Kwik Fit, the UK's leading automotive servicing and repair company, reveals that less than half of the 20 million British motorists who bought their current car second-hand, undertook such checks and then many waited for at least six months before even having it serviced. In fact, 1.7 million admitted that even though they had thought about it, after 6 months they still hadn't had their new car serviced at all.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: "Most of us are excited at the prospect of buying a car, but it would appear from this research that many drivers let their hearts rule their heads and forget to make some of the most obvious checks."

What to Check

When purchasing a second-hand car, wise buyers will test the condition of the brakes, thoroughly examine the bodywork for knocks and signs of repair, check the depth of tread on the tyres - including the spare, and make sure that all the lights are working.

Other things to consider are the conditions of the seats and carpets, which are an indication of the vehicle's age and driven mileage; how clean the engine bay is and any oil leaks under the engine, and don't forget the response of the suspension. Looking through any service history, MOT records - including advisories and the presence of a handbook, will also give a good indication as to the way it has been looked after. This is in addition to database checks to prove the identity of the car.

Kwik-fit found that older drivers are more likely to show caution that younger ones when purchasing a car. "It may seem like common sense," added Griggs, "but drivers should not rely on what the seller tells them about the condition of the car, but make sure that they look for themselves."

Drivers can find a wide range of advice and tips on car maintenance by visiting For the latest news and updates from Kwik Fit, customers can also follow the company on Twitter at @kwik_fit.