The RAC has joined forces with the Trading Standards Institute and the Citizens Advice Bureau to launch a month-long campaign urging consumers to carry out checks when buying a used car.

Research by Citizens Advice reveals that half of faults with used cars are discovered within a month of buying the vehicle. Citizens Advice helped with over 84,000 problems with second-hand motors in the last 12 months – making it the biggest complaint to the Citizens Advice consumer service. Drivers spent over £363m on these complained about cars.

RAC vehicle inspections manager Mike Hill said: “Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases most of us make and it can be a worrying and frustrating business. We know that not everyone wants to spend a fortune on a car and that sometimes it is a question of getting the best quality car for the money you are able to spend so we are here to help drivers make the right choice and avoid unnecessary stress and expense.”

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “The second-hand car industry needs to put the brakes on malfunctioning motors by making sure the cars they sell are in good working order. That way people aren’t wasting their time or money trying to fix issues that should never have been there in the first place.”

Leon Livermore, chief executive of Trading Standards Institute, said: “In this age of austerity, it is important for consumers to have the right knowledge when buying a used car. By conducting an HPI data check on the car’s history, checking the MOT certificate and investigating the seller before making a purchase, consumers can ensure they make the best decision and prevent any nasty surprises cropping up in the future.”

The campaign is urging people buying a used car to ‘check it, don’t regret it’ by assessing whether it is safe, legal and what it seems.