Car Safety

Whether you’re a young person buying a pre-owned vehicle for the first time or you’re looking for a reliable used vehicle as a second family car, safety is a high priority. It is such a concern with consumers that a recent law has been adopted to make sure that buyers are not stuck with unsafe cars when flaws are found soon after purchase. The Consumer Rights Act of 2015 strengthens the hands of buyers like you by giving you the option to get a full refund if a fault is found in your used vehicle up to 30 days after purchase. UK laws such as these keep used car dealerships and the rest of the industry accountable and our economy stronger.


We’ve found that one of the most common ways that dealerships ensure the safety of the used cars that they sell is by using the industry’s 82-point RAC inspection criteria. This means that they conduct thorough road tests, interior assessments and exterior inspections of car bodies, engines and undercarriages. During their road tests, they check to make sure that cars start normally, automobile batteries are in good condition and brakes work properly. Specifically, they look for abnormal emissions, leaks and unusual noises that could indicate that the car is headed for trouble. 


Their interior vehicle inspections uncover any malfunctions of seatbelts, evidence of flood damage and operational deficiencies that are related to the cars’ driver warning systems. Exterior inspections that are conducted by their trained mechanics ensure that wheels and tyres are free from damage and body panels are properly fitted to the car and rust free. These RAC dealerships conduct comprehensive engine inspections that include assessments of car fluids and drive belts. Depending on the scope of discrepancies that they find, they may decide to perform the necessary repairs and make the cars available for sale to their clients. They aim to make sure that their customers drive off their car lots with the safest vehicles possible.


Despite RAC’s rigorous inspection standards, we understand that seeing is believing when it comes to your satisfaction with car safety.

We recommend that you test drive the vehicles that have caught your interest so that you can experience the car’s suspension, brakes, steering and general performance.

Although you may already have a particular make and model of vehicle in mind for your second-hand vehicle purchase, there are some statistics that you should consider when it comes to car safety. A report published in 2017 by Co-op Insurance and car safety researcher Thatcham described the used car market’s five safest cars for young drivers. This demographic of drivers has a tendency towards accidents during their early driving years. The survey group’s top used car selections were based upon criteria such as crash worthiness scores, availability of electronic stability control systems and the existence of autonomous emergency braking systems. These cars all fall into the Supermini car category, possess a five-star Euro NCAP rating and are priced below £5,000. Here are the group’s most recent picks.

  • Skoda Citigo
  • Volkswagen Up, 2012
  • Seat Mii, 2012
  • Toyota Yaris, 2011
  • Kia Rio, 2011