Thursday 14 December 2017

'It could have ended fatally' - Horrified mechanic discovers tampered airbag system in second hand car

The car was bought as a present

Richard Dixon said his customer was
Richard Dixon said his customer was "extremely lucky" that the fault was discovered
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A garage owner has issued a stark warning to anyone considering buying a second hand car after discovering a customer's airbag system had been tampered with.

Mechanic Richard Dixon was left horrified after realising his client's car had been involved in an accident before it was sold and the previous owner had fooled the computer system into thinking all components were working.

His customer bought the car privately as a present for his son.

Shortly after purchasing it, the airbag warning light kept coming on and he brought it to Baldoyle Auto Centre.

Mr Dixon, owner of the garage, discovered that the 2009 Volkswagen Golf was essentially worthless.

The mileage had been altered, panels had been misfitted and the airbag system was faulty.

Speaking to, Mr Dixon said his customer was "extremely lucky" as the airbags wouldn't have worked in the event of an accident.

"This could have ended fatally," he said.

"He was very lucky, but it's happening a lot. There’s cars being sold with serious damage done to them, by people trying to make financial gain."

The seller said his wife had previously owned the car for a lengthy period, but when Mr Dixon enquired, he realised the seller had only been registered on the car for three months.

"We done a bit more investigating on the car and we took apart a few panels which looked like they were misfitted, when we investigated a little bit further, there was very bad damage done to the roof that wasn't repaired. Structurally the car wasn't safe. The airbag system had been bypassed and they fooled the system into thinking it was okay."

He explained how the customer was a bit embarrassed when he realised the poor condition the car was in.

"He had bought it for his son so he was upset, he was also a bit shocked.

"He informed us that he did have one or two concerns when buying the car but the seller came across as being so honest that he didn’t bother proceeding with any further checks and took his word for it.

"No matter how honest the person may seem, never let that cloud your judgement and have your pre-checks carried out. This car was a potential death trap."

Mr Dixon's advice for anyone looking to buy a secondhand car is:

  • Always carry out a history check of the car;
  • Talk to your trusted mechanic before buying a used vehicle
  • Verify the identity of the person you are buying the car from

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