<p>While there are many good quality used cars out there with only one careful owner and there are also unscrupulous dealers out there who will swear that the car has only been driven by their grandma.</p><p>So when looking for a used car you should use common sense and a little judgement. Some of the main pitfalls which you should be aware of and which you should avoid at all costs are laid out below to help you avoid buying an ‘old crate'.</p><p>One of the most common rip-offs which is seen in used cars is tampering with the odometer Maxisys
. This allows the seller to change the mileage from a high amount to a lower one to make it look as though the car hasn't done as many miles as it actually has done.</p><p>You should always pay close attention to the dashboard. Things like lose screws could mean signs of tampering. Chips on the grille, bumper and bonnet could also indicate high mileage.</p><p>Always be on the lookout for any signs that the car has been "cut and shut". This means that two halves of separate cars that have been involved in accidents have been welded together.</p><p>Bring along someone who knows about cars with you to the viewing as two heads are better than one. And don't forget to do a test drive.</p><p>The car should always come with documents and recent MOT certificates. If for whatever the reason the dealer doesn't offer you documents or gives you excuses for not having them, then run away from the deal as fast as you can.</p><p>Finally, a good way to check out a cars history is to have a vehicle data check done. This will look at the car's background and show up whether it has been stolen or if there is outstanding finance on it, plus whether the mileage is correct.</p>Louis Rix is Director of Netcars.co.uk, one of the UK's leading motoring websites. Established in 2000, its mission is to become the UK's number one site for used car searches and motoring information Autel MaxiDiag
. Netcars also provide Car Finance, loans and insurance.