Belfast Telegraph

Quarter of NI drivers report problems with second-hand vehicles

By Adrian Rutherford

A quarter of motorists in Northern Ireland have said they suffered problems after buying a second-hand car.

Some 26% found issues within the first six months of driving off the forecourt, according to a survey.

Motoring organisation the AA, which carried out the research, urged drivers to carry out proper checks on vehicles.

Simon Benson from the AA said: "When working out projected costs in the run-up to buying a car, consumers rarely factor in unexpected outlays such as the need to get a fault fixed in the first few months after driving off a forecourt.

"It might be cliche, but used car buyers really do need to expect the unexpected. There are ways to protect yourself, though."

The survey, by AA Vehicle Inspections, found 28% of motorists across the UK had issues with a used car within six months of purchasing.

The most common problems were with the electrics (21%), tyres (20%) and the engine (18%).

Analysis of the figures also showed a high level of disparity between drivers buying in different regions.

Drivers in the North East of England (31%), Yorkshire and Humberside (30%) and the South West (30%) were far more likely to run into post-sale difficulties than those in the West Midlands (23%).

In Northern Ireland the figure was 26%.

Mr Benson, who is director of motoring services at AA Vehicle Inspections, said there were some simple tips which would-be buyers should follow.

"The most common faults found in pre-sale vehicle inspections are tyres - so when buying, check the tyres for at least 3mm of tread and make sure there are no serious scuffs, bulges or cracking on the sidewalls and that the wear is even," he added.

"Uneven wear suggests a problem with the car's tracking, something that can be easily rectified before you pay for the car.

"It's always worth taking the car for a test drive to get a feel for the car and if anything is obviously wrong.

"For example, you should check if the car pulls slightly to the left or right and that the car pulls up in a straight line when you apply the brakes, especially if you brake hard.

"Listen for odd noises, ensure the gear change is smooth and that there is no sharp 'bite' or 'slip' on the clutch.

"Make sure all the electrics work - particularly the wipers and lights, including reversing and brake lights. And look for any obvious damage repair too."

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