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Used Car? Have A CAT Scan

Used Car? Have A CAT Scan

Buying a nice new car is a pleasure, especially if the customer gets a good deal. New cars are covered by warranties and other consumer protection so even if the new purchase turns out to be a bit of a dog, it should not be a problem to resolve the issue. Buying a used car however, well, that’s another matter entirely.

Buying something reasonably recent from a main dealer forecourt is usually a reliable way of going about things, but this will still involve a fairly hefty outlay. It’s down at the cheap end of the market that the real problems lie.

Crooks come in all shapes and sizes and are often very plausible. They will word their advertisements in a certain way designed to tempt buyers and the true story is only revealed by reading the subtle language of the car trader or less scrupulous private seller. Certain expressions can often disguise a nasty surprise.

Many prospective buyers may not be aware that, when a car has an accident, the damage is graded in categories. For example, any vehicle graded as an ‘A’ or ‘B’ category is a signal for the car to be destroyed. It will go to the breakers yard to be crushed. A car that is given an ‘F’ rating has had a fire. Now, insurance companies won’t bother with a repair if a car is old and of little value. Nevertheless, they can be salvageable. A wiring fire – complete with melted battery – looks dreadful but is perfectly fixable, but a buyer must be told.

A ‘D’ rating means a car has been in a repairable accident and should be fine but the one to watch is Category ‘C‘. This refers to a motor that has been damaged and is, in the view of the insurers, ‘beyond economical repair’. The worry is that this does not make it illegal to fix up such a car and sell it. If, somewhere in the small print containing all the plus points the description Cat. ‘C’ appears then a buyer needs to be wary. Caveat Emptor, as they say.

Unscrupulous sellers will try their best to keep this information hidden. Remember, a car that has been damaged in some way is not as valuable as a mint example and the price should reflect that. Conversely, if a car appears to be the deal of the century then it pays to ask questions. There may also be tell-tale signs: a fresh paint job (no used car is perfect) may be a giveaway or perhaps a shiny new set of vehicle licence plates.

There are many ways for an innocent buyer to be stung so it really pays to be vigilant. The used car selection has much to offer people on a limited budget, especially as for the last ten years cars all cars have galvanised bodies and reliable mechanicals. The trouble is that, by their very nature, accidents are unavoidable. Just don’t get caught in the aftermath.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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2 Responses to “Used Car? Have A CAT Scan”

  1. Alan says:

    The biggest crooks are warranty companies, particularly those hide behide the logo’s of well known roadside breakdown services such as the AA, the AA simply back the warranty company up, hit them in the pocket & take your breakdown /recovery business elsewhere exactly what I am doing this year.

    • Geoff says:

      Thanks for your comments Alan. When it comes to cars and all that goes with it, it’s essential to look at everything closely and make an informed choice by shopping around for the fair deal.

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bG9nZ2VyX0xvZ28uanBnIjtpOjI7czo3MzoiaHR0cDovL21vdG9yYmxvZ2dlci5jby51ay93cC1jb250ZW50L3dvb191cGxvYWRzLzMtTW90b3JfQmxvZ2dlcl9Mb2dvLnBuZyI7fTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3ZpZGVvX2NhdGVnb3J5PC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gQXV0byBOZXdzPC9saT48L3VsPg==