More than a quarter of UK motorists admit they would deceive a car buyer to sell their car, according to a new survey from RAC Car Data Checks.
The most common ploy, used by a quarter of sellers, is to hide scratches, but more serious deceptions include omitting to mention that the car had been in an accident.
One in 50 private sellers would lie about the details of a car just because they don't like the look of the buyer.
Such tactics are leaving motorists with big repair bills when they buy a second-hand car - one in 10 got lumbered with a car that had problems that were impossible to fix.
Over half a million second-hand cars sold failed their MoT, and in total, 1.8 million used cars sold in the last year had faults that needed repairing.
Nearly a third of buyers say they rely on the seller having more knowledge than themselves, and a quarter of motorists admit they 'act' when selling a car, so it's vital that car buyers do their homework before they go to view a car, so they know what to look for.
Tips for looking at a second-hand car
• If you don't know much about cars yourself, take a knowledgeable friend along when you view a car;
• View the car at the seller's address, so you can confirm the address is the same as the one on the V5C registration document;
• Ensure the engine number on the car matches the one on the V5C;
• Always view the car in daylight and when the car is dry, so you can easily see any faults or blemishes;
• Look for signs of 'clocking' - does the car's condition match the mileage? Look for worn, shiny gearknobs and steering wheels as signs of heavy use. Also check for wear on the seats and pedals;
• Check for rust, and ensure the tyres are in a roadworthy condition. Look under the bonnet - is anything leaking? Are all the fluid levels correct?;
• Listen out for any unusual noises on a test drive, paying particular attention to the engine and suspension;
• If you're not sure about anything, walk away;
• Find out whether the car has been stolen, written off or is a victim of outstanding finance by doing a vehicle history check.
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