Surely it’s only when buying cars that are much cheaper ie c£1000 or less that the customer runs the risk of buying a lemon; especially if they don’t do their mechanical homework in advance?
Not necessarily it seems, according to the thousands of used car complaints referred to Citizens Advice every year.
Clearly something isn’t quite right in terms of minimum industry standards or quality control processes when it comes to used car shopping?
Advice re buying a used car
There are ways we can minimise the risk of buying a used car lemon.
1/ We should make sure that used cars are HPI-checked so we know they are financially sound, haven’t been stolen or written off and haven’t been involved in a bodged accident repair. Where in doubt, we should pay for that check ourselves…
2/ We can now check the car’s last MOT online to see what work needs doing, even when the car has passed its MOT.
3/ We should check the car handbook to see when the last car servicing was done and what this entailed. Cars should be serviced once a year as a minimum. If mileage is very low (under 5000m pa) this probably means nothing more expensive than an oil and filter change.
4/ We should always check the condition of tyres on a used car. Tyre tread should be no less than 1.6mm ie the depth of a 20p coin rim. If less than 3mm they need changing and good tyres are expensive to replace.
But when you pay c£9000 or more for a used car it’s surely reasonable to expect a long check list to have been carried out by the dealer before putting a car on sale? Adding a used car warranty to give us peace of mind?
A warranty that reflected the rigour of the dealer’s checklist I’d have thought.
Used car warranty standards
The used car industry standard seems to be a minimum three month warranty in the UK but some dealers do a lot better.
For example, a Ford Approved used car comes with a 12-24 month warranty.
And when it comes to independent used car dealers Safe and Sound ones include a minimum 6 month warranty.
Yet if you buy a used car from RAC Cars, including a ‘used car guarantee’, you may only get a one month warranty?
So obviously you must always compare used car warranties in terms of their length and cover; even when buying from a motoring brand we think we know well, like the RAC.
What happens if the warranty doesn’t cover your claim?
Few motorists know that there is a new Trading Standards Code of Practice for Vehicle Warranty Products, run by Motor Codes. This means that, assuming the warranty provider/product subscribes to this scheme, you can then use Motor Codes’ free conciliation service to check your options if you are unhappy with a decision to turn down a seemingly reasonable claim.
Other information about car warranties…
a/ The Sale of Goods Act is valid for six months after car purchase and may provide cover should you need this, in addition to any shorter dealer warranty.
b/ You have few rights (other than transferable warranties in some cases) when buying from an individual seller rather than a known car dealer.
c/ If you choose a FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly car dealer you can be sure of a minimum three month warranty. Some offer more.
d/ You could offer to pay extra to upgrade to a 6 or 12 month warranty depending on the value of the car. If the dealer won’t quote reasonable terms to do this, be suspicious!
Clearly no car dealer is going to include a longer warranty than he needs to, but to sell a used car with as little as a one month warranty suggests that the dealer has little faith in the longer term viability of that vehicle!
And where that may be the case, can I please suggest that you look elsewhere and buy on the basis of a well documented ‘approved used car check’ and one of the best dealer warranty products?
PS: By all means email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, with your experience of used car warranties. We are compiling a FOXY feedback file to identify/recognise those warranty providers that are getting service levels right for Club members. And not all are it seems!