Data shows higher priced used cars not always better

UK used car history provider shows Fords with fewer warnings than BMWs

Published: June 4, 2017, 5:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:09 PM

We’ve highlighted 10 of the most reliable used vehicles - Strong dependability ratings reward buyers of late-model used vehicles with a pretty trouble-free ownership experience. However, like beauty and talent, quality isn’t spread equitably across all brands and models. Some used cars and trucks are more dependable than others. We’ve highlighted 10 of the most reliable used vehicles we’ve found in the past year, based on the online testimonials of owners who’ve tracked their experiences. Our list is not comprehensive or ranked, but there are nameplates here that may surprise you.

A UK used car history check site has discovered that when it comes to used cars, paying more isn’t necessarily a guarantee of a better vehicle.

New data from, the UK’s No.1 consumer vehicle background check provider (with information from police, the UK licensing agency, insurers and financial institutions). shows that a high price tag is no guarantee of a clear vehicle history. As an example, the company cites that of all the used vehicles it checked last year, BMWs were 21% more likely to have a warning on their vehicle histories than were Fords, despite the latter’s selling, on average, for around £10k less (over $17,000 Canadian).

“People presume that more expensive cars must be a safer bet, but our data busts this myth. They can actually be much higher risk, for example, for outstanding finance or plate transfer,” says Gavin Amos, head of valuation services at

Of’s most checked makes and models, Fords (and most notably Fiestas) with an average asking price of £4,442 (about $7,700 Canadian) registered warnings in just 37% of checks, while BMWs (with an average asking price of £15,358, or $26,600) registered warnings in 58%, and Audis (£12,247/$21,200) registered 53%.

The company’s data also found some worrying trends on the rise, most notably that write-offs account for over one third of all history check warnings (up from 29% in 2015) and outstanding debt (such as liens) is at 18.1% (up from 13.8%).

The company stresses the importance of performing background checks on used vehicles before making an offer to purchase.