A survey carried out on behalf of Kwik Fit suggest that, of the 20 million British motorists who bought their current car second hand, less than half of them carried out some of the most vital safety checks on their new vehicle before they parted with their cash and drove away.
Kwik Fit has released details of the survey ICM carried out with 2009 “nationally representative” British adults, and the results show a tendency toward sloppy attitudes to maintenance. For example, many motorists not only didn’t have their used car checked pre-purchase – they then waited at least six months before arranging to have the vehicle serviced. Based on the survey results, Kwik Fit considers it likely that less than a million of the 6.4 million drivers who bought their used car privately had it serviced immediately after purchase. A number of respondents representing three million used car buyers waited more than six months before arranging car servicing while a number representing a further 1.7 million still haven’t, despite the best intentions, got around to getting this done yet.
While 61 per cent of the respondents examined the bodywork of their prospective purchase, far fewer check the components which are crucial for safety. Only 49 per cent inspected tyre tread depth, 46 per cent the effectiveness of the brakes and 44 per cent the car’s lights. As for the spare tyre, only 36 per cent checked its condition – or even if the car had one.
Kwik-fit found that older drivers are more likely to be more cautious in regards to car purchases than younger ones, a trend perhaps explained by experience. At any rate, 62 per cent of respondents aged 65 to 74 checked the car’s tyre tread, while only 30 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 did this.
“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,” comments Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit. “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,” Griggs continues. “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.”
Information and advice on the potential dangers of part worn tyres, and what to look out for, can be found at TyreSafe’s partworn-tyres.co.uk website.
|Check||Percentage checking this|
|MOT record and advisories||56%|
|Seats and carpets||48%|
|Presence of handbook||46%|
|Oil leaks under engine||41%|
|Clean engine bay||36%|
|Presence/condition of spare tyre||36%|
|Presence of locking wheel nut adapter||25%|
Kwik Fit’s concern is not just that drivers don’t make these checks before they buy their ‘new’ car, but that many motorists are not in the habit of making safety checks on a regular basis once they own the vehicle. Only 44 per cent of those surveyed check their tyre pressure at least once a month, while only another 13 per cent check them every two months. Worse, eight per cent admitted to never checking their tyres are inflated correctly, while 12 per cent never check their tyre tread depth. The spare tyre id neglected by 36 per cent of drivers.
“Prevention is always better, and cheaper, than cure, so we would encourage car owners to get into the habit of making some regular simple checks,” said Griggs. “If motorists are unsure what to look out for they can bring their car into any Kwik Fit centre and we will carry out a free health check for them and give some advice on the areas to keep an eye on.”