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Press release -

Scottish drivers most likely to take risks when buying a used car

Drivers in some of Scotland’s largest cities are the least likely to check whether cars they are looking to buy have shady histories, new figures from the RAC indicate.*

Glasgow is joined by Edinburgh and Perth as the top three locations where drivers are most prepared to ‘risk it’ by not checking the history of a vehicle they are interested in, followed by Sunderland and Newcastle in the north east of England. In fact, analysis of RAC data shows drivers in these cities are around half as likely to get a check compared to those who live in Birmingham, Bradford and Truro, the latter the home of Great Britain’s savviest used car buyers.

Comprehensive vehicle history checks provide a low-cost way for drivers to identify if a vehicle they are thinking of buying has been stolen, written-off or is even still owned by a finance company, regardless of how it is advertised by the seller. Buyers that don’t get one therefore run the risk of spending money on a vehicle that at best isn’t worth the money, and at worst is unsafe to drive.

According to the RAC’s analysis of sales of thousands of checks, the cities where drivers are least likely to buy a vehicle history check are:

1. Glasgow (least likely)

6. Aberdeen

2. Edinburgh

7. Lancaster

3. Perth

8. Durham

4. Sunderland

9. Inverness

5. Newcastle

10. Liverpool

The locations where drivers are most likely to buy a vehicle history check are:

1. Truro (most likely)

6. Coventry

2. Bradford

7. Bristol

3. Birmingham

8. Plymouth

4. St Albans

9. Leicester

5. Chelmsford

10. Gloucester

RAC Motoring Services spokesperson Sophie Steane said: “It is drivers north of the border who appear to be most likely to ‘chance it’ and go without checking the history of their next used car, and that is a concern.

“A comprehensive vehicle history check is an extremely low-cost way for any driver to help satisfy themselves that their next car purchase won’t turn out to be a dud. Important information about a car’s past, such as whether it has previously been written off after an accident, or if it’s still owned by a finance company, could help a buyer work out whether it is one they want to spend their money on – or if it’s safer just to walk away. After all, a few red flags could be a sign that there are other, undisclosed issues with a vehicle.

“Every driver who is in the market for a used car, especially if buying from a private seller, should make sure they get a history check and this, combined with a thorough inspection of a vehicle and its paperwork, can go a long way towards providing the reassurance that the car is worth what they’re being asked to pay for it.”

Comprehensive vehicle history checks – some things to remember

  • Buying from a dealer? Make sure they’ve run a history check of the car you’re looking at – they should have done, and they should be happy to provide you with a full print out of its findings that you can check over before you buy the car
  • Buying from a private seller? This is where a vehicle history check is particularly important, especially if the documentation that goes with the car is patchy. All you need is the number plate of the car you’re looking to buy, and some time to understand what the check is telling you. Don’t be pressured into buying the car before you are confident it’s worth the money it’s being sold for
  • Don’t forget: a vehicle history check brings together a lot of different data about a car’s past, but drivers should never rely on them alone – ask plenty of the questions of the seller, check documentation thoroughly and consider getting the vehicle professionally-inspected for a valuable second opinion. The RAC website carries a comprehensive guide.

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About the RAC

The RAC provides complete peace of mind to 11m UK private and business drivers, whatever their motoring needs. Its services include:

The RAC also works to support the interests of its members and UK drivers on the most important motoring issues which it identifies via the annual RAC Report on Motoring and the RAC Opinion Panel. The Report on Motoring is the longest running analysis of driver opinion in the UK having been published every year since 1989.

For more information about the RAC, visit