CarWe’ve all heard the horror stories of a friend-of-a-friend who bought a ‘cut and shut’ car, i.e. when two cars are sewn together, or someone else that bought a car that officially didn’t even exist, and most of us just assume this will never happen to us. It’s only the unlucky people.

But did you know that at any one time, according to the RAC, around 1 in 4 cars on UK roads are illegal in some way or other?

And it doesn’t stop there, research has shown that a similar proportion of vehicles for sale in UK showrooms are not quite what they’re cracked up to be. Nowadays most people first see a car they like online – normally somewhere like AutoTrader.co.uk or eBay Motors, - and rely on the seller to be honest. Often, they will provide a vehicle check (which is usually provided by a third-party company like HPI Check).

But not all sellers are created equal and putting your blind faith in someone you barely know, may not be the best idea... Although most sellers are honest, as with everything nowadays, it’s a case of buyer beware; do your own research and satisfy yourself that the vehicle is as described.

The internet is awash with various “vehicle check” services but most of them charge money. However, the DVLA do offer a completely free vehicle check service – called form V888. The downside of this is it can take up to 7 working days to hear back, which isn’t ideal if you’re looking to buy the vehicle quickly. By the time you’ve got a reply, the vehicle might be sold.

Other services like Free Car Check offer the basic level of checks for free, and optionally if you upgrade to a Premium check then this includes over 60 different tests and checks including testing if the vehicle is stolen, has any outstanding finance, and so on.

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