Faulty brakes top list of common issues found in used cars, AA Cars’ inspectors report

Mechanic changing brakes on a car. Close up wearing red gloves.

AA Cars’ vehicle inspectors have revealed that faulty brakes are the problem most commonly found during expert assessments of used cars for sale.

AA Cars’ impartial inspectors found that seven out of 10 used cars have at least one fault. To help buyers avoid making a costly mistake, they have also listed the problems they come across most frequently.

The most common fault which inspectors uncover is break issues, costing £400 on average to fix. This is followed by signs of previous accident damage and corrosion, which can vary in cost depending on how severe it is.

People who are thinking about purchasing a used car can schedule a pre-purchase vehicle examination in advance to determine its condition. Up to 206 inspections, including tests on mechanical components and bodywork, are included in a thorough AA inspection.

Many drivers make an effort to check a used car’s condition before they buy it, but without expert knowledge their ability to spot potential problems is limited. Nearly half (45%) of prospective purchasers admit they have no idea what they are searching for, even though 85% of them claim to raise the car’s bonnet.

However, drivers are generally aware of the kinds of problems that are most likely to occur with secondhand vehicles. The brakes, which were the most common fault reported by AA Cars’ vehicle inspectors, are cited by a quarter of drivers (24%) as the most frequently encountered issue.

Edmund King, AA president said, “A car is often the second-biggest purchase people make after their home. Most people wouldn’t dream of buying a house without a survey — yet many car buyers don’t stop to consider the benefits of a pre-purchase vehicle inspection before parting with thousands of pounds.

“Many of the most common problems vehicle inspectors find during assessments are hard for the average person to spot. Even if drivers carry out some checks themselves, such as looking at the bonnet, many do not know what they’re looking for.

“AA vehicle inspectors carry out up to 206 checks on a car, and this is nearly impossible for non-motoring experts to replicate.

“Yet if a fault goes undetected, drivers could find themselves forking out hundreds of pounds to repair it. With 70% of used cars assessed found to have some kind of issue, drivers who make a purchase without getting an inspection could be taking a big financial risk.

“Vehicle inspections can give drivers valuable peace of mind that a vehicle is in good condition and they won’t be in for any nasty surprises. If a fault is found, this can give the buyer the power to haggle down the price or request a repair before they purchase the car.”

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