Spot a cut and shut

Cut and shut motors are commonplace on the secondhand car market. Here's how to spot one

Cut and shut motors were born when an idle welder mused whether he could fuse the unmarked front end of a car which had been in a rear-end shunt and the unmarked rear end of a similar model which had suffered a frontal smash.

Considerable effort goes into the deception – cutting, welding, prepping, spraying, etc – but it is a deception, and there are no guarantees of structural integrity, safety, driveability, high speed handling, braking. It could be a deathtrap. It's essential, therefore, to be able to identify these vehicles on the secondhand market.

How to spot a 'cut and shut'

Official estimates say there could be 30,000 cut and shuts on UK roads. The problem is a vehicle history check would only pick up on outstanding finance or if a car had been a write-off. However, background investigation firm HPI had this advice:1. Cut and shuts are usually joined at the top of the rear windscreen and through the C-pillars. Pay close attention to these areas, and check the upholstery, too.2. Keep an eye out for any uneven panel gaps and mismatched or varying paint shades.3. Check for faint traces of paint spray on door handles and any spillage on the window seals.4. Never view a car in the rain or poor light. It’s harder to spot those important obvious flaws.5. Find the car’s VIN number – does it correspond with what appears on the paperwork?6. Look at the service history and past MoT certificates if available, and question any unexplained gaps.7. Be wary of extremely cheap cars – if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

There’s only one way to fully protect against cut and shuts – have the car professionally inspected, and get a background report for extra peace of mind. An RAC Vehicle Examination starts at £125, and Status Checks cost £24.95. For details, visit www.rac.co.uk/checks or call 0800 975 5867.

Recommended

Ford to launch online car sales this summer
Ford

Ford to launch online car sales this summer

Lockdown has accelerated Ford’s plans to offer a complete online service
4 Jun 2020
European cars subject to 10% import tariffs from 2021
Dacia Duster row
News

European cars subject to 10% import tariffs from 2021

UK will default to World Trade Organisation rules from 1 January 2021 unless a a free trade agreement is struck with the EU
19 May 2020

Most Popular

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph
Speed limit to be cut to 60mph on M1
News

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph

Trial on Welsh roads shows 47 per cent drop in pollution when 50mph limits were introduced; Highways England already has plans to reduce limits to tac…
10 Oct 2020
New Range Rover Evoque PHEV 2020 review
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

New Range Rover Evoque PHEV 2020 review

Brand-new 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine makes its debut in the new Range Rover Evoque plug-in hybrid
20 Oct 2020
Renault could cut UK models in no deal Brexit profit drive
News

Renault could cut UK models in no deal Brexit profit drive

Renault’s new CEO says the firm is examining the possibility of reducing the range of models it offers to UK buyers as it aims to boost profitability
20 Oct 2020