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1 in 5 second-hand car owners hit by problems within a year of buying the vehicle

Renowned for its spike in new car sales, March is consequently a popular time of the year for second-hand car purchases.

While on the hunt for a set of wheels it’s important to have your wits about you though, as research conducted on behalf of Ocean Finance has uncovered that one in five second-hand car buyers in the UK have experienced a problem within 12 months of buying a pre-owned vehicle.

More than one third (35%) of 18-24-year-olds said they had experienced a problem within one year of its purchase date, compared to just 1 in 10 (12%) 55+-year-olds.

For the unlucky car buyers who faced problems with their vehicle, one in five (19%) were forced to fork out between £101 and £200 to fix the problem. Around one in six (14%) paid out between £201 and £300 and more than one in 10 (12%) were out of pocket by between £301 and £400.

With the equivalent of 10 million Brits carrying out no checks before purchasing a pre-owned car, it’s perhaps unsurprising so many of us have experienced glitches.

Despite incurring the least number of post-purchase problems, 55+-year-olds were most likely to not bother with any pre-purchase checks.

Regionally, those residing in the North East (43%) and Northern Ireland (43%) were most likely to risk going without any checks, compared to Londoner’s (24%) who were the least likely.

For those that err on the side of caution, more than a third (37%) would take a friend or family member to check the car with them. The second most popular choice was to pay a mechanic to check the car (14%), followed by paying for an AA/RAC vehicle inspection (13%) or a HPI check (10%).

The biggest worries for Brits who have bought a pre-owned car were:

Biggest worry % of Brits
The car might have an undetected mechanical fault 42%
Paying more than the car is really worth 13%
It might have been in an accident/ written-off 7%
The car might have been stolen 5%
The mileage might have been changed 3%
There is still outstanding finance against the car 2%

Ian Williams, Ocean’s spokesperson, says: “A car, whether it’s brand new or pre-owned, is a big financial purchase that shouldn’t be rushed. As well as making sure that the car is mechanically sound it is really important to check that there isn’t any outstanding finance on the car – if there is this could mean you lose both the car and the money you’ve paid for it.  It is also important to verify that the car hasn’t been written off by an insurance company. Taking the time to do a few simple checks can save both time and money for second hand car buyers.”

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