As many as a tenth of all UK imported cars may be crashed or written off

written-off-carsAs many as a tenth of all UK imported cars may be crashed or written off.

Startling figures from car history experts show that as many as a tenth of used cars being imported from the UK may have been previously written off.

In the first comprehensive analysis of its kind, examined a 10,000-strong sample of the cars imported into Ireland from the UK in 2012, and found that over 950 of these were previously categorised as Category A, B, C or D write-offs. Some had even been crashed multiple times.

In the case of the lower categories (C & D), especially on older cars, it is possible for a write-off to occur when a car has suffered relatively minor and easily repaired damage.

The problem comes with the Category A or B write-offs. These are much more serious. In the case of Category A the law in the UK states that such cars must be scrapped and no components sold on and re-used in other cars. Parts from Category B write-offs can be re-used but only under strictly controlled circumstances. In both cases a certificate of destruction must be issued. Clearly, however, there are a large number of unscrupulous sellers breaking the law and offloading dangerously repaired wrecks onto unsuspecting new customers.

Given the fact that Motorcheck’s sample was so large, it can be said with some safety that the sample can be extrapolated, and that as many as 3,500 to 4,000 of the cars imported from the UK last year (assuming an annual average import level of 40,000) have previously been written off.

While it’s true that many of those vehicles may have been safely and legally repaired and put back on the road, it’s still extremely worrying that there is now a large number of cars in daily use out there that are simply not safe enough to be driven. Irish buyers should be aware of this danger when buying an imported car, and other road users are equally at risk.

Commenting on the findings Co-Founder Shane Teskey said “It is extremely important that buyers check for any outstanding write-off classification before they buy a car. That’s not to say that a category C or D write off cannot represent good value for money, provided it has been repaired correctly, but it is only by checking it first that you can make the informed decision and consider any potential ‘walk away defects’ before you buy the car”.

Considering the scientific robustness of the sample, it could reasonably be extended out to all cars imported from the UK currently running on Irish roads. Out of the current 2.4-million cars on Irish roads, approximately 500,000 are imported from the UK, which means that as many as 45,000 cars on our roads today may have been previously written off.


·         The sample is taken from 10,000 vehicles imported into Ireland from the UK during 2012

·         This number represents approximately 22% of annual imports in a typical year (taking last 5 years imports as an average)

·         It shows approximately 900 of these vehicles were previously written off (Category A, B, C or D) at least once. Some were written off multiple times

·         This represents approximately 9% of the sample

·         The sample is robust enough to extrapolate that approximately 9% of all imports from the UK may have been written off previously

·         Given that an average of 40,000 – 45,000 vehicles are imported into Ireland from the UK annually, it is safe to assume that approximately 3,500 – 4,000 previously written off vehicles are imported into Ireland each year

·         Used car buyers can verify the write off history for any UK import using its Irish number plate on The check costs €20 and will also report on potential mileage discrepancies, NCT status, whether the vehicle was ever used as a Taxi or Hackney.

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