It is no secret that British drivers like a bargain.  And that is always very good news used cars online market.  We canny motorists buy over seven million second hand cars every year.  That compares to just over two and a half million new cars. Buying new means that we know the car has not been clocked or cloned or crashed but it is a different story where the second hand car is concerned. Being a woman driver entering the lion’s den of the second hand car seller might be quite challenging.

Lots of tricks up their sleeves.

The unscrupulous second hand car seller can have many ways to trip up the unwary.  Green Flag have come up with some great ideas that can help prevent you ending up a victim.  So just how do you spot a dud? These are a few of the less obvious things that you should look out for when you are buying second hand wheels.

Have an open mind

It is easy to be seduced by the idea that everything German is going to be wonderfully engineered and everything Japanese will go on forever.  Head for the Reliability Index when you are considering a car, where you can enter you car’s model and see what warranty claims have been made to Warranty Direct for the model you are thinking of buying.  

Zooming ahead: Peugeot, Citroen, Renault    

Lagging behind: BMW, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Mercedes

The unscrupulous second hand car seller,
can have many ways to trip up the unwary.

If it seems too good to be true…

Used car websites are full of them – sharp operators latching on to any car that is listed cheaply. Next, they duplicate all the aspects of the advert without the knowledge of the genuine vendor and list it at a higher price. Once the sharp operator has found a buyer at a higher price he will buy up the original car at the lower price and then sell it to his buyer.

This way he has none of the risks of buying a car for stock but will also probably neglect any safety or other checks on the vehicle. But this practice can be taken a step further with ads for cars at very cheap prices posted with explanations for the cheap price being due to the fact that the seller is moving abroad and is selling in a hurry.  The sting comes when the dishonest seller asks for a deposit or even the full amount before the car is seen, and if they are plausible it can be easy to get sucked in. If you do cough up, chances are you will never even see the car or your money again.

We’d advise that you NEVER send any money before seeing a car and that you should always see that car in daylight so that nothing like rust or different coloured doors can be disguised by the dark. If they refuse or are insistent about money upfront, walk away!

It’s not just private sellers either, some dealers can be dodgy too. Avoid those cowboys by learning their game too.

A local Garage will oblige for a small sum
that might save a big loss later.

Go for TLC over price

A car that turns out to be a dud will often be one that has not benefited from OWO or any owner that took care of it.  You might come across a car that has low mileage and is being offered at a cheap price, but is obviously a stranger to a sponge and bucket, car vac or TLC. Even if that does not put you off, if the car has a patchy service history, it is best to pass.  A car with much higher mileage that has obviously been lovingly looked after and has a full service history might, in the end, be the better bet.

Inspection is key

If you don’t know a camshaft from a big end, then it is always worth having your prospective purchase inspected.  A local garage will oblige for a small sum that might save a big loss later! Motoring organisations also often do this, for their members.  

Buying a second hand car from an ad is always going to be a bit of a risk, but if you follow this cautionary advice things should have a better chance of working out well and have you driving off in a car that any OWO reader would treasure.

Join our community of empowered drivers for exclusive deals, offers & goodies.