Only around half of drivers carry out MOT and service history checks before buying a used car, new research has found.

With just 54% of drivers looking at these documents before buying, even fewer (36%) will check a vehicle’s history to see information such as whether it has been written off or stolen in the past.

A poll of over 15,000 drivers by the AA found that most also fail to carry out basic checks on a vehicle before buying.

For example, just 38% said they checked the windscreen wipers were working before buying their last used car, and only 41% check the lights.

Meanwhile, 25% checked the oil levels and 39% inspected the tyres for wear and damage.

Overall, 41% of drivers say they do not feel at all confident judging a car’s mechanical condition before buying, with just 11% saying they are very confident.

Most of these checks require little mechanical knowledge, while prospective buyers can check a vehicle’s MOT history for free on the Government’s website.

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, said: “A car is an expensive purchase, but many drivers are parting with their money without carrying out even basic checks.

“Understandably, considering all the checks it is recommended that drivers make before buying a vehicle, most people do not feel very confident about their ability to judge a car’s condition before they drive away.

“You should always check the car’s MOT certificates and its full service history; together these documents will reveal how well the car has been maintained.

“Some other checks, such as ensuring windscreen wipers and lights are working properly, are easy for drivers to carry out.”

Drivers can get an expert to check over the car for peace of mind. For example, the AA has a 155-point ‘basic inspection’ for vehicles up to 10 years old that costs £142, while a 206-point ‘comprehensive inspection’ costs £191 and is available for all ages of vehicle.


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