Avoid unroadworthy cars

Nottinghamshire County Council
Nottinghamshire County Council

Roadside rescues can be avoided this summer by following some top tips on how to avoid buying unroadworthy cars.

In the last 12 months Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards team received around 1,600 complaints about second hand cars, 45 of which included some serious element of concern about their safety.

Selling a vehicle with ineffective brakes, steering, defective suspension or major body corrosion could be a criminal offence and a serious danger to the buyer and other road users. Sales of such unroadworthy vehicles should only be for spare parts or under the understanding that the buyer needs to make the necessary repairs.

Residents are being advised not just to rely on a valid MOT certificate or service histories to decide if a car is safe for the road.

Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, chairman of the council’s Community Safety Committee, said: “Whilst you have legal protection when you buy a car from a dealer, you should still check the car’s condition and history thoroughly and if you are in any doubt walk away. Better be sure before buying than have to sort a problem later. As with many buying decisions, seek recommendations from people you know to find a reputable dealer with a good track record.”

Top tips to avoid buying an unsafe car include -

• Checking the car thoroughly for faults or take someone with you who has some knowledge about cars. Motoring organisations offer a pre-purchase inspection service which involves a cost but could be much cheaper than buying a car that needs lots of work

• Taking the vehicle for a test drive – do not just take the sales person’s word that it is a good runner

• Looking at the vehicle’s history and carry out a history check such as HPI to see if it has been involved in any accidents.

• Inspecting its MOT history – it will show the mileage and might indicate if it is done a greater mileage than its currently showing

• Checking that the trader is signed up to a known code of practice.

For advice on consumer rights or to report a dealer contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.