A close up of a worn tire tread

Used car buyers neglect basic checks, servicing

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More than half of all used car buyers in the UK don't carry out some of the most vital safety checks on their new vehicle before they drive it away, according to new research.

The study by automotive servicing and repair company Kwik Fit also found that many motorists wait at least six months before having their newly purchased car serviced.

Based on a survey of 2,009 British adults, the results suggest that although 6.4 million drivers in the UK bought their used car privately, fewer than one million got the vehicle serviced immediately after buying it. More than three million waited six months or more before having it serviced.

Close up of a worn tyreCar buyers are also skipping important checks before they agree a purchase. While 61% of those questioned check over the bodywork of their potential new car, less than half (49%) examine the depth of tread on the tyres, 46% check the effectiveness of the brakes, and 44% check the lights. Only just over a third (36%) of buyers check the condition of the spare tyre, or even that there is one.

Age is a factor, however, with older drivers more likely to be more cautious over a car purchase than younger ones. Kwik Fit found that 62% of second hand car buyers aged between 65 and 74 check the tyre tread on the car -- twice as many as those aged 18-24 (30%).

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, commented: "Most of us are excited at the prospect of buying a car, but it would appear from this research that many drivers let their hearts rule their heads and forget to make some of the most obvious checks. It may seem like common sense, but drivers should not rely on what the seller tells them about the condition of the car, but make sure that they look for themselves.

"If motorists are buying from a trade seller and the tyres need changing before they take ownership, we would advise buyers to insist on having new tyres fitted. Some traders will fit part worn tyres when selling a car, but the provenance of these is not always known and they may not comply with safety standards."

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