Dangerous cars donated to local students

An operation to target the sellers of dangerous and unroadworthy vehicles is now benefiting Warwickshire College students.

Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service is donating cars purchased as part of an unroadworthy vehicle ‘mystery shopper’ exercise to Warwickshire College motor vehicle students, to enable them to practice their skills.

Trading Standards Officers target the sellers of unroadworthy vehicles by purchasing suspect cars which are then checked by an expert vehicle examiner. Garages are targeted based upon complaints received from consumers.

The vehicles acquired would ordinarily be sent for scrap, however, Trading Standards was made aware of an innovative new initiative by Warwick Trident College – part of WCG – for its motor vehicle course.

Students require a regular turnover of vehicles to practice their maintenance skills and boost their mechanical knowledge. In order to ensure that there were enough vehicles, Warwick Trident College issued a call for unwanted old cars earlier this year.

Trading Standards will now be providing WCG with a range of cars to support the motor vehicle course through the academic year.

Mark Ryder, Strategic Director for Communities said:

“I’m delighted that these cars, which would have been scrapped, are now supporting Warwick Trident College’s student’s learning and skills development and ultimately helping them gain employment.”

Josh Saul, Motor Vehicle Instructor and Technician at Warwick Trident College, said:

“We have 181 students enrolled on our Motor Vehicles courses at Warwick Trident College and sourcing vehicles can sometimes prove challenging.”

“We hope the association with Trading Standards Services will prove a tremendous success, exposing our students to a range of mechanical challenges.

“Since the initiative began, we have received almost 20 vehicles, including two convertibles, two automatics and a smart car – it’s great to have had such a variety.”

“We are very pleased to have provided Trading Standards with a sustainable outlet for the vehicles they acquire, and we look forward to continuing the association.”

Advice for car buyers

  1. Your consumer rights are much stronger when buying from a trader than a private seller. Traders may also offer warranties on vehicles they sell, but remember, you will probably pay more for the car than from a private seller.
  2. Before you buy, check the vehicle’s history. You can check a car’s MOT history online for free by visiting www.check-mot.service.gov.uk There are also a number of free and paid for apps that enable buyers to discover if the car they are buying has been stolen, written off or has outstanding finance.
  3. If you’re not a vehicle expert, consider paying for an independent vehicle check. A basic check will cost about £100.
  4. Do a visual check of the vehicle and take it for a test drive. Check the tyre tread depth and underneath the car for repairs, severe corrosion and oil leaks. Look for chips or cracks in the windscreen and dents or rust on the bodywork. Check the engine fluid levels and make sure the electrics work properly (windows/lights/radio).
  5. Don’t forget the car’s interior. Sagging, stained and torn upholstery can indicate the vehicle has not been looked after and may be suggestive of problems elsewhere.
  6. If you buy a car from a trader and subsequently have problems, you do have a legal right to reject the vehicle or request a repair or replacement, dependent upon circumstances. Contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service for advice on 03454 04 05 06 or visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandardsdvice for car buyers

More information about trading standards is available online: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards