The simple code that could save you thousands on your next car purchase.

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Size, operating and insurance costs, mileage and price are high on the agenda – but a small piece of industry code could help you avoid a potentially dangerous and expensive mistake.

When you are looking for a new car, there are many things to consider.

The four letters that mean you should not buy a used car

The website states: “The cars in categories A and B are so badly damaged that the car dealer does not offer them for sale and strongly advises against buying any”.

The used car website Auto Trader says: “If your car is listed as Category A or Category B, it means that it is not legally allowed on the road and could be potentially dangerous for those who drive it.

All used cars for sale come with an insurance category rating that can indicate to used car buyers whether the car has had an accident or needs to be repaired before it is roadworthy.

Cars in category S and category N (formerly C and D respectively) could cause high repair costs for buyers.

Cars in category A are so badly damaged that they should be crushed and never appear on the road again, while cars in category B cause considerable damage, and only undamaged, claimed parts should be used in other road vehicles.

However, while both categories of car dealers are prohibited, buyers should also check the website for two other categories of vehicles.

A car in category N is also a damaged car, and although this may be cosmetic in nature, it could also mean damage to the brakes or steering that could render the vehicle undriveable.

A car in category S is a car that has suffered structural damage in an accident and needs to be repaired before you can drive it. The cost of the repair could be more than the price of the car, i.e. it is officially a write-off by the insurance company.

Not only could you face high repair costs, but your insurance will probably be higher.

To ensure that you are not caught out when buying a new car, all buyers should receive an HPI check that tells you if the car has been written off, if the car has outstanding financing, and what the MOT history of the car is.

Auto Trader says, “Before you buy the car, ask to see receipts about what happened to the car and what repairs were done. Consider having a third party inspect the car to give the all-clear. Also check how much the insurance will cost, as some insurance companies will charge more for cars with catalytic converters while others will not cover them at all.

You can get a HPI check here…

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