Advertisement

Rusty cars downgraded in NCAP-style used car crash test

Safety experts warn of 20 per cent greater risk of dying in an accident in a heavily corroded vehicle

Drivers of badly rusted cars have up to a 20 per cent higher chance of dying in an accident, according to the world’s first used car crash test conducted under Euro NCAP criteria. 

A fifth-generation Volkswagen Golf and a first-generation Mazda 6 were tested by the UK’s crash test agency, Thatcham Research, on behalf of the Swedish Homeowners Association and the Swedish insurer, Folksam. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

Safest cars on sale

The results revealed that significant chassis rust can lead to a lower Euro NCAP score than the vehicle previously achieved, placing occupants under significantly more risk. The Mazda 6’s score was reduced from a weak four-star rating to a weak three-star finish, with the car moving down from a score of 26 out of 37 to 18 out of 37.

The Golf Mk5 fell from a five-star rating to a four-star result, although its test results weren’t significant enough to place passengers under great danger. According to Thatcham’s inspection report, parts of the Mazda’s chassis were “severely covered by rust”.

Folksam says the fall in Euro NCAP scores meant occupants in the Mazda would have a 20 per cent higherchance of being killed in an accident. While Thatcham’s inspection report says the full effect of the rust is hard to gauge, it meant the car’s “structure was not able to transfer loads effectively [in] the impact, causing interaction between the steering wheel and the dummy”.

Thatcham’s Matthew Avery said previous studies show rust isn’t a big issue on used cars in the UK, but the test highlights the need for spot checks. He added: “There’s no need for systematic testing, but if on a European level some models perform poorly we can do spot checks to test their crashworthiness.”

Interested to learn more about Thatcham? Then read our article explaining all about the crash test experts...

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

MPs to consider graduated driving licences
News

MPs to consider graduated driving licences

Transport Committee to hold evidence session looking at how graduated licencing could mitigate the risk novice drivers face on the road
3 Aug 2020
New Ferrari Roma 2020 review
Ferrari Roma

New Ferrari Roma 2020 review

The new Ferrari Roma GT is the iconic Italian brand’s latest offering – and it’s a big improvement
4 Aug 2020
New 2022 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 rewrites the supercar rule book
News

New 2022 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 rewrites the supercar rule book

The new three-seat Gordon Murray T.50 is a spiritual successor to the McLaren F1, with two-thirds of the 100-car run already sold ahead of its 2022 ar…
4 Aug 2020