Second hand cars can prove excellent value for your money and a worthwhile investment. However, it can also prove a risky move, with potential pitfalls including existing finance secured against the vehicle, falsified mileage or even being lumbered with a stolen car. Take a look at what you need to be aware of when purchasing a used car so you can prevent your new ride from driving you mad – and costing you your hard-earned money.

Clocking. Clocking is an illegal practice wherein the odometer of a car is tampered with so it looks as if it has fewer miles on the clock. This naturally attracts higher price – which could leave you open to being fiddled out of your cash. Based on AA’s report, most cares average around 10,000 miles per year, so do your homework and crosscheck the car’s age against its mileage to ensure nothing is wrong. Obvious signs include worn pedals, tampered screws on the dashboard, and a shabby steering wheel on a car that has supposedly not travelled far.

Outstanding Finance. Any unpaid finance on a used car is considered as one of the most serious and costly event a buyer like you can experience. Based on the date provided by HPI, one in every four used vehicles it checks are found in this circumstance.

The unpaid loan will fall on the shoulders of the new owner (you) to pay while the seller walks away with your money – and zero debt. So not only can you lose your cash, it is also likely that the finance company will seize your car to recoup their losses.

Cut and Shut. This happens when the remains of two cars that were written off in accidents are welded together to build a new vehicle, which takes on the legal identity of just one of the original cars. This will be very difficult to spot simply by looking at the car.

Cloned cars. This is the equivalent of identity fraud in cars. Either it’s when a car that is an identical match to another swaps plate numbers to disguise that it was stolen so the owner can avoid parking fines and tickets. Oftentimes, you would only become aware of this fraud if you suddenly start getting fines that you knew you don’t merit. Be cautious of anything without a V5C registration paper, which is consistent with a car’s age.

How can I protect myself? The easiest and most comprehensive way to ensure you don’t fall to these types of dealings is to get a professional check. Personal properties securities register searches online can verify whether there are any outstanding loans left on the car, if it has ever been written off or reported as stolen, whether the mileage has been fiddled with and if it has a good CO2 score. The benefits of ordering an online PPSR search includes the following:

  • Ability to search the PPSR for security interests over an item of personal property.
  • Ability to create and manage current Secure Party Groups and Registrations.
  • Quick access to company ‘current charges’ information no longer held by ASIC.
  • Having critical information handy to provide your clients with all the data they need.
  • An ability to identify all risks for your clients and their business

For your peace of mind, paid PPSR search is a small price to pay and in the long run could save you your hard-earned money.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to

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