When buying a used car, most drivers will anticipate the need to change the engine oil.
But new research suggests that a number of motorists are unwittingly taking on much greater problems when they buy used vehicles.
Data from vehicle information expert HPI suggests that, of 10 million vehicles it looked at in 2011, a third came with a hidden sting in the tail, such as outstanding finance.
What's more, HPI said that 4 per cent of vehicles it checked needed so much work done to them that they had already been recorded as a write off by insurers, while a significant number of these vehicles were also stolen.
Some one in 20 had also had their mileage altered, meaning that vehicle parts could be much older than drivers are aware.
"As our latest figures show, innocent buyers continue to be caught out fraudsters," said Kristian Welch, consumer director for HPI concludes. "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is."
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