Buying a used Car?

If you are thinking of buying a used car, always get the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic, who is independent from the seller, and carry out a detailed history check before any sale takes place. 

Important Advice Before Buying A Used Car  

The RSA is warning buyers of used vehicles to be wary of untrustworthy dealers who will go to any length, even if it’s illegal, to make a sale. This includes:

  • Offering dangerously defective, crashed, stolen or written off vehicles for sale
  • Reducing a cars mileage to make it appear more attractive, also known as ‘clocking’
  • Replacing original parts with poor quality ones after the vehicle has passed its NCT
  • Using sealants or masking agents to hide serious issues such as corrosion or rust holes 
  • Selling vehicles with fake NCT certificates, Registration Certs or Motor Tax discs

Safety Advice

What's your life worth? Some used cars may look like a bargain at the time but they could end up costing you your life, or someone else's. Buyers need to take steps to protect themselves, and their families, before investing in a used car:

  1. Never, ever, buy a car without getting it independently checked by a qualified mechanic. They can tell you what the dealer may be deliberately trying to hide. Ensure the mechanic is properly qualified and independent from the seller.
  2. Always carry out a comprehensive history check through official vehicle record holders (e.g. Motorcheck, Cartell,  myvehicle.ie, Carhistorycheck etc.). This can show if a vehicle has been written off, clocked or if it has outstanding finance.
  3. The National Car Testing Service (NCTS) started printing the odometer history on the NCT Cert and the current reading on the disc from July 2014. So ask to see the Cert/disc and compare with the reading on the car now. If the prior odometer reading is more than the current one it could indicate that the car was clocked.
  4. If buying from a garage, get a warranty for the car. If the dealer is not willing to offer this, consider walking away from the sale. The NCT is not the same as a warranty. A vehicle still needs to beserviced in line with manufacturers’ guidelines in between NCTs. 
  5. All cars over 4 years old are legally required to have a valid NCT certificate. You can check whether a cert is fake by visiting www.ncts.ie  and entering the vehicle registration number. This shows the expiry date of the last NCT cert issued for that vehicle. For commercial vehicles go to: www.cvrt.ie
  6. If you are importing a used vehicle from the UK, make sure to check its odometer and test history first by visiting https://www.check-mot.service.gov.uk/  and entering the UK registration number and vehicle make.
  7. What may seem like a bargain at the time, can end up costing you more in the long term with expensive replacement parts and labour. A qualified mechanic should be able to identify worn or dangerous parts. Also check the vehicle’s service history for regular maintenance.
  8. Older cars normally don’t have the same safety rating or safety features that would offer extra protection such as anti-lock braking systems, electronic stability control, crash protection features, airbags etc. Enquire about the vehicle’s original NCAP rating.

The Law 

  • If stopped by An Garda Síochána while driving a dangerously defective vehicle, it is the driver/owner that’s liable for prosecution. So buyers need to make sure they’re fully aware of what condition the vehicle is in before using it on the public road. Road Traffic Regs.1963 
  • It is illegal to interfere, or engage another person to interfere, with an odometer. Road Traffic Act, 2014
  • It is an offence for a trader to mislead customers by providing false information in relation to a “products usage or prior history” The Consumer Protection Act 2007.

The Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has additional information and advice when purchasing a used car. Motorists should contact the CCPC to establish what their rights and options are under consumer protection legislation. The CCPC have a Consumer Helpline on 1890 432 432 or 01 4025555.