THURROCK Council’s Trading Standards team is warning people about dodgy second-hand cars.
Portfolio holder for public protection, Cllr Jane Pothecary explained: “Second hand cars are one of our most complained about sectors.
“We would always advise people looking to buy a new car to research the dealer, make and model before making any decision.”
She added: “There are some things you can spot – have a look for chips made by stones across the front of the bonnet and bumper; this could be a sign of lots of motorway driving for example.
“Worn seats or seatbelts, brake pedal rubbers and steering wheels are another sign of high mileage, especially if the mileage clock – odometer – doesn’t show it, and always check the vehicle’s documents to confirm the mileage; always make sure you see the service records and MOT history before any money is exchanged.”
Other scams, like vehicle identity theft and “cut-and-shut” can also be dangerous for drivers, passengers, owners and other road users.
Vehicle identity theft is where one car is given the identity of another by changing number plates between similar vehicles.
And cut-and-shut is where parts of written-off cars are welded together and sold on, it can sometimes be very difficult to spot a cut-and-shut vehicle from the outside.
Anyone who is concerned should ask to have the car checked by organisations like RAC or AA and conduct a Hire Purchase Information (HPI) check.
Anyone who is unsure about any purchase can contact previous owners through the V5C or log book or even speak to the garages the vehicle has been serviced at.