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

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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.

August 12th, 2013

Survey Reveals 1 in 7 Cars Have Outstanding Finance

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In a recent survey compiled by the car history check website, one in seven cars of the one hundred surveyed were confirmed to have finance outstanding. 
The survey focussed on vehicles that were advertised for sale by private sellers, non-franchise dealers and main dealers. 
It found that of the 100 examined:
– 30% of the sample turned up positive for finance on the official records of the Irish Credit Bureau
– 21% of the sample were confirmed to have been on finance on the day they were advertised (verified by bank named on the record)
– 14% of the sample still have finance outstanding today (verified by the bank named on the record) 

Of the 14% that were confirmed to be on finance:
– 2 were advertised by private sellers
– 5 were advertised by a member of the SIMI
– 7 were advertised by independent dealers and not affiliated with the SIMI 

Commenting on the results Shane Teskey, MD at said “It’s clear that outstanding finance could be a major problem for anyone buying a used car. Whilst a red flag for finance on a Motorcheck report is not necessarily a deal breaker it is very important that the buyer finds out what the nature of the finance agreement is before concluding a purchase. It could be finance provided by a bank for stocking purposes which is a relatively common arrangement these days or it may be a finance agreement that is still active in the name of a previous owner. The latter is a very serious problem and could lead to a car being repossessed by a bank at any time. 

The terms under which ‘stocking finance’ is supplied to a dealer have recently been changed. A new practice in use by some banks means that new and used vehicles are automatically flagged as being on finance when covered by a stocking loan. In the vast majority of cases the banks interest in the vehicle will be terminated by the dealer at the point of sale but independent confirmation is still advisable. 

“If the dealer responsible for clearing the finance goes into liquidation there is a very real chance that the bank will follow the new owner and repossess the car” said Teskey.

He recommends that a buyer always seeks proof that finance has been cleared before taking ownership of a vehicle. will independently verify the removal of any existing agreement with the bank in question free of charge for its customers. 

Note: Finance checks can be performed on the website at a cost of €12 per check.

The above survey was used on RTE’s The Consumer Show last night on RTE1. To view the segment click here

September 21st, 2010

Thousands of Ex-Taxis to Flood Used Car Market

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Car History Check website today warned potential car buyers that new rules from the Taxi Regulator could mean a surge of ex-taxis entering the used car market. 

New rules introduced by the Taxi Regulator mean that from January 2011 all taxi and hackney licenses falling due for renewal (irrespective of when they were first issued) may be granted only to vehicles that are less than nine years old. estimates that up to 10,000 vehicles could be affected when the new regulations come into force and expects that many of these cars will be disposed of in the private market.
Commenting on the development, Shane Teskey – Managing Director at advised buyers to be extra vigilant when appraising cars with a 2001 registration or older. “Buying an ex-taxi is not necessarily a bad thing. Many of the vehicles being forced out of public service by these new rules will have been very well maintained and are capable of serving in a private capacity perfectly well.” 
However he cautioned that buying an ex-taxi does have its risks and he advises that anyone purchasing one ensures that it is thoroughly checked by a qualified mechanic before committing to a purchase.
“It’s very important is that potential buyers are made aware that the vehicle was previously used as a taxi so that they can take the time to check that it’s mechanically sound before committing to a  purchase. Whilst we would hope that all sellers inform potential buyers about a cars past history as a taxi, we’re only too aware that some unscrupulous sellers may try to take advantage by changing the cars tax status to a private vehicle before offering it for sale.”

Buyers can avoid being duped by checking a cars registration number on line at
For €20 the History Report will tell you if the car has ever been used as a Taxi, Hackney or Limousine as well as various other checks useful for anyone buying a used car.

August 30th, 2010 announces ‘Best Selling Car of the Decade’

no comment Posted by today announced that the Ford Focus is officially Ireland’s number one selling car of the decade. The Motorcheck statistics show that Irish motorists have registered in excess of 90,000 Ford Focus’s in the past decade bringing the total number of cars registered in the Republic to well over 1.5 million cars.  

The year 2000 registered an unprecedented high of 225,269 with this past year 2010 recording a low of just under 56,000. 

The Toyota Avensis comes in at second place with the Volkswagen Golf following closely at third position. 

Commenting on the announcement Shane Teskey co-founder at Motorcheck said “The Ford Focus has certainly earned its position as the number one selling car of the decade. Proving itself popular in times of economic boom and recession it has been Ireland’s best-selling car for eight of the past ten years. Total sales have clocked up more than 90,000 units and the car continues to be a leading choice in the second hand market”. 

Twice voted Semperit Irish Car of the Year by the Irish Motoring Writers Association, and a former European Car of the Year, placed bumper to bumper, the Focus cars sold to date in the country would stretch from Dublin to Limerick and back. 

Commenting on the accolade, Eddie Murphy, Chairman and Managing Director of Ford Ireland, said: “We are delighted that Focus has been named Ireland’s favourite car of the decade in Ireland.  Since its introduction in 1999, the car instantly became a favourite with Irish motorists.  From young motorsports fans to families to empty nesters, the Focus customer base has always been a broad church.  It’s that very breadth of appeal that has made it a perennial favourite for Irish drivers.”


Shane Teskey
Benchmark Fleet Services Limited

January 3rd, 2010

2009 car sales plummet by 63% on last year’s figures – record low

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2009 car sales plummet by 63% on last year’s figures – record low

Latest car registration statistics from the Vehicle Index also show continued popularity of second hand imports over new car purchases.

Data released today by the Vehicle Index shows that new car sales in Ireland have dropped by 63% since the beginning of 2009 while imports from abroad have only dropped 24%. The Index shows that nationwide sales of new cars have seen a sustained month on month decline for every single county. Counties with the greatest declines were Meath, Limerick and Wicklow at 67% while counties with the lowest decline were Donegal at 57%, Kerry at 60% and Cork at 61%.

Commenting on the results, Teskey added “The nationwide statistics demonstrate that Irish people are being much more cautious with their spending habits this year, preferring to either wait for better deals from the manufacturers or spending more time researching and buying second hand”

At the same time as new car sales have dropped the number of people opting for a UK import has declined at a much lower rate (24%). Border counties such as Monaghan and Sligo have remained steady with drops of only 2% and 6% respectively. The biggest importers have been Dublin (9,509), Cork (4,358) and Donegal (4,214) while the most popular type of car has been a Volkswagen with its Passat topping the table at 3,338 registrations.

“Whilst the overall number of imports has dropped this year, it’s clear that the Irish are still prepared to travel north of the border or further afield in search of a bargain” Teskey said. “With 10,000 jobs already lost in the sector, all hopes are resting on the proposed government scrappage scheme in a last ditch attempt to save 10,000 more that are hanging on by a thread”.

The number of new Motorcycles registered has also fallen 47% with sales dropping from 3,060 in 2008 to 1,638 for the same period.
About the Car Index
The Car Index is a database of real-time car statistics and reports. The index is  available on the website to anyone. They can be accessed at:

December 9th, 2009


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New data released by sees 400% surge in ‘car clocking’. 

Data available at


Speaking ahead of RTE’s 1 Buyer Beware programme on Wednesday the 18th at 8:30pm,  Shane Teskey of highlights the massive increase in car clocking (tampering with the mileage of a car). 
Releasing data ahead of the programme, the Motorocheck statistics show car clocking has gone up at least 400% since March. In episode two, Philip explores the pitfalls consumers can encounter when buying a used car. He exposes the sophisticated manner in which cars are ‘clocked’ and ‘cloned’, how easily these cars move around the Irish market undetected, and learns what to look out for to avoid ending up with a ‘hot’ car in your possession

Commenting on this, Teskey said:

“In the past 9 months the number of mileage discrepancies identified by the Motorcheck database has risen by 400% from March 2009 to today’s date. We believe poor sales in the new car market as well as attractive second hand options from abroad have meant that the Irish motor industry is finding the current recession very difficult to survive.  There is always going to be a degree of car clocking by unscrupulous sellers but the numbers for 2009 are just staggering and we fear that even some car dealers are now utilising this dangerous practice.

 In the programme to be aired Wednesday the 18th at 8:30pm on RTE1 Shane Teskey helps journalist Philip Boucher Hayes of RTÉ’s Investigative Unit find out the real story behind some cars that have recently appeared on the Irish market. 

Clocking a car can be lethal:

The real danger associated with a clocked car is not the modified odometer but the false impression a prospective buyer may have of the vehicles mechanical condition. Interfering with a vehicles ECU (Engine Control Unit) can lead to malfunctions with other vital safety equipment. Problems that the the new owner may not be aware of until it’s too late and an accident is caused. 

Teskey also gives simple advice for all buyers and sellers to ensure a safer purchase: 

Top Ways to Avoid a Clocked Car

      • Compare the vehicle’s current odometer reading against the Irish National Mileage Register at

      • Ensure that the vehicle has a fully documented service history. Phone the garage/s that stamped the book and verify the odometer recorded at the time the work was carried out.

      • Ask for previous NCT records if available from the owner. The mileage reading taken at the test should be evident on the results.

      • If the vehicle doesn’t have a service history look around the interior. You’d be surprised at what you might find. Some service garages put stickers on the inside top right of the windscreen to indicate – “next service due at” – look for these stickers and call the garage detailed. If you find evidence that a sticker was previously there and has since been removed – be cautious!

      • Check the badge in the rear windscreen for a dealer logo or sometimes you’ll find out who has worked on the car by looking a the rear number plate. A lot of garages put ‘Number plate surrounds’ on the actual number plate to advertise their business. Any clues as to who’s been maintaining the car are invaluable and need to be confirmed.

      • High mileage generally leaves a number of physical indicators. Look for wear on the gear stick and steering wheel. Lower mileage cars (>50k) should have very little wear. On higher mileage vehicles you would expect to see a smoothing/shining effect on the plastic or leather due to usage.  If the clock is the old style cylindrical shaped dials (Non-digital), make sure all of the numbers line up in a straight horizontal line. With clocked vehicles sometimes these dials go slightly off centre. For digital clocks a diagnostic check of the vehicle engine control unit (ECU) could indicate if the mileage has been reprogrammed (this is part of the Motorcheck pre-purchase inspection).

      • Look for excessive wear on the carpets, mats and pedals. If there are new carpet mats look under the mats for wear on the original carpet. Under the bonnet – look for a “greasy” or “creamy like” substance under the water cap (this is the cover on the radiator / expansion bottle) could indicate that the head gasket is failing. This would be common on cars with high mileage. 

Motorcheck’s Irish National Mileage Register can be accessed by anyone carrying out a car history check on the revamped website. The site now includes car history data for vehicles registered in the UK and Northern Ireland as well as Irish registered vehicles that have been previously imported from the UK thereby providing car buyers with comprehensive vehicle information from both sides of the Irish Sea. 

For further information on identifying a clocked car go to

November 17th, 2009

Motorcheck launches the new website

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Finally the new version of is up and running!

It now includes UK and NI data along with Irish information.
Other additions to the database include Manufacturer warranty, NCAP Ratings, CO2 ratings and soon will have a vehicle valuation also!

Also, the National Irish Mileage Register has seen significant growth lately with more than 613,000 audited readings in the database!

Official Vehicle History Reports is the most informative, easy-to-understand and up-to-date car history check available.
Whether it’s an Irish or a UK registered vehicle you’re checking, don’t be taken in by other so-called “official” websites and run the risk of missing vital information that could assist you with your purchasing decision!

In addition to “Official” data from Irish & UK Government databases, Only Motorcheck provides the following:

The lowest prices with reports starting at €12
Instant finance checks (that can verify with bank)
A totally integrated Irish and UK history
Irish stolen vehicle check
Data from Ireland’s leading Auction houses
Euro-NCAP Safety Ratings
Manufacturer recall info from European databases
Manufacturer warranty information…

March 14th, 2009