Crashed cars

It is an offence under consumer protection law for a trader to give false, misleading or deceptive information about the history of a car, for example, if the car was previously involved in a crash or recorded as an insurance ‘write off’.

Buying a crashed car could turn out to be both expensive and dangerous. If you’re not aware that the car was previously crashed, then you can’t judge the real condition of the car, and parts that you think should be in good working order might be at the point where they are about to fail.

Insurance ‘write offs’ can legitimately be allowed back on the road depending on the category of the write off. For more information on write offs please visit the RSA website.

Always have an engineer or mechanic you trust check out a used car before you buy and carry out a history check to find out if it has been crashed.

What should I do before I buy a car?

You should only buy a used car once you are fully satisfied that the car is roadworthy and any repairs carried out on the car are to a high standard. It is important that you satisfy yourself about the condition of the car by asking certain questions and carrying out these important checks before you buy:

  • Carry out a comprehensive car history check. There are number of websites that offer this service for a fee
  • Get a mechanic to inspect the car before you buy it
  • If you are buying from a dealer try and buy a car that comes with a warranty for additional peace of mind. Make sure you confirm what the warranty covers and how long it’s for.

Whether you are buying from a dealer or privately, check out our car buyer’s checklist and use it to help you when buying a second hand car.

I think I bought a crashed car, what should I do?

If you suspect that the car you bought has been previously crashed, it is very important that you get a mechanic or an independent assessor to check out the car and its history.

You should also report it to us as soon as possible. A delay in reporting it may affect our ability to investigate the trader. We cannot investigate a suspected crashed car if you have had it for more than three years. You should also provide as much evidence of the car and the transaction as possible, for example, invoices, correspondence, details of any adverts or descriptions given when you bought it. You can read our car crime consumer guide for more information on what to expect if you make a complaint about car crime to us.

Last updated on 31 May 2022