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Used car buyers sniff out the good from the bad, according to AA Cars

Time 6 years ago

ALMOST a quarter of buyers (24 per cent) have been put off buying a second-hand car because of the smell of wet dog fur, children’s sick or stale cigarettes, according to a new poll by AA Cars. 

The AA Populus poll quizzed 18,741 AA members on whether they have ever been deterred from buying a used car and why. It revealed that almost four-in-ten (38 per cent) respondents have not followed through with a purchase because the service history either had gaps in it or revealed a lot of past repair work.

The poll also found that 24 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women have walked away from a purchase because of an incomplete service history.


According to the data, when buying second-hand, buyers still expect the vehicle to be in tip-top condition, with a further 38 per cent being turned off because the bodywork was in poor condition. Almost a third (31 per cent) withdrew from a purchase because of an imperfect interior.

Meanwhile, more than a third (37 per cent) of buyers have not proceeded with buying a car because it didn’t feel right on the test drive. One in nine (13 per cent) pulled out of a purchase because the seller wouldn’t let them take the car out for a test drive.

The AA-Populus poll revealed the Welsh are the most discerning when it comes to the car’s condition, while Londoners seem to be the least selective. Four-in-ten (41 per cent) Welsh buyers have been put off a purchase because the exterior bodywork was in poor condition, compared to just 33 per cent of London buyers. Meanwhile, 30 per cent of Londoners have dropped out of buying a used car after it didn’t feel right during a test drive, compared to 40 per cent of buyers in the South West.

The poll also revealed that over 65s are most likely to buy a used car that isn’t in top condition, while 18 to 24-year-olds are least likely to buy a car if the bodywork and interior are in poor condition.


Paul Yates, MD of AA Cars, said: ‘Buying a used car shouldn’t mean buying a bad car but there are simple checks you can do, whether you’re buying through a dealer or privately.


‘Ask to see the service history and, if it’s incomplete or shows lots of repair work, that could be a warning sign. A history check will also rule out insurance write-offs and stolen cars. We automatically remove these vehicles from AA Cars.’

He added: ‘If you’re unsure if a car is in good mechanical condition or not, it’s worth having an independent inspection carried out through a reputable company such as the AA, or buy through a dealer who has independently inspected cars. From our experience, an independent inspection allays most fears and ensures complete transparency when buying from a dealer.’

The following table shows the reasons why buyers across the UK have been put off purchasing a used car.

  REGIONS
Scot NE NW Yorks W Mids E Mids Wales East London SE SW
Bodywork in poor condition 38% 40% 38% 36% 39% 39% 41% 39% 33% 38% 38%
Car didn’t feel right on test drive 36% 38% 37% 36% 38% 39% 39% 38% 30% 36% 40%
Interior in poor condition 31% 31% 31% 29% 32% 34% 33% 31% 28% 30% 31%
Interior didn’t smell right (wet dog, child sick, cigarettes) 25% 22% 25% 23% 24% 25% 24% 24% 19% 22% 25%
Service history incomplete 21% 22% 22% 21% 22% 23% 23% 23% 22% 23% 23%
Service history showed a lot of repair work 15% 15% 13% 16% 16% 17% 15% 14% 15% 16% 16%
Vehicle registration document (V5C) wasn’t available 15% 15% 15% 14% 15% 16% 16% 15% 14% 15% 16%
Seller wouldn’t allow test-drive 13% 13% 13% 13% 14% 13% 16% 13% 11% 13% 13%
Car had tyre sealant kit instead of spare tyre 13% 14% 15% 13% 13% 13% 13% 13% 11% 12% 11%

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