The most common problem on second-hand cars is the gearbox, with Vauxhall Astras, VW Golfs and the BMW 3 Series the worst culprits

Looking to buy a second hand car? Then beware the gearboxes on Vauxhall Astras, the electrics on a BMW and the brakes on a Volkswagen Passat, a new study warns.

These are among the most common vehicles which experience particular faults, experts have revealed.

Any second-hand car carries a risk but certain brands and models are susceptible to particular problems more than others, the analysis of 5,000 reported faults recorded in 2015 has shown.

The report studied at the ten most common problems that can go wrong with a used car.

The study looked at the cars being repaired for these faults to find the top three cars in each category.

For example, 8.4 per cent of all faults on used cars are with the gearbox and the worst performing model is the Vauxhall Astra, followed by the VW Golf and the BMW 3 Series.

These same BMW models are also the most problematic culprits for electrical faults and top the list for problems with the brakes and turbo systems.

One analyst said: “Many motorists dip into the second-hand car market to get their next vehicle at a lower price, but enjoying peace of mind over its reliability is a vital factor.

“While it makes good financial sense to buy a second-hand car, it can mean receiving a bill for repairs once the manufacturer warranty elapses. For most that’s after three years.”

Buyers of a BMW 3 Series should be particularly wary of gearbox and electrical faults

Electrical problems are the second most regular fault, a result of modern cars being manufactured with more and more devices, gadgets and technology.

Clutch problems are third in the list with high mileage cars contributing to burnt out clutches.

Between them these top three faults account for almost one in four of all claims on warranties.

Turbo complaints are among the most costly and most commonly found on the Ford Focus, the Golf and, again, the BMW 3 Series.

PartPercentage of all complaintsTop 3
Gearbox8.4Vauxhall Astra, Volkswagen Golf, BMW 3 Series
Electrical8.2BMW 3 Series, Vauxhall Corsa, Audi A3
Clutch7.8Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf
Turbo4.7Ford Focus, VW Golf, BMW 3 Series
Brakes4.7VW Passat, Land Rover Discovery, BMW 3 Series
Alternator4.3Vauxhall Astra, Land Rover Discovery, Ford Focus
Cylinder head gasket3.1Vauxhall Corsa, Citroen C3, Peugeot 207
Air-con condenser3.1VW Golf, Vauxhall Zafira, Audi A4
EGR valve2.9Land Rover Discovery/Sport, Vauxhall Astra, VW Transporter
Window motor/regulator2.2Renault Megane, Renault Scenic, Audi A5