Consumers lodged more than 12,000 complaints to the Citizens Advice customer service between April and June of this year regarding problematic used cars bought from independent dealers.
Such dodgy motors were the number one gripe in the in the list of the 10 most complained about consumer issues, accounting for 8% of all cases that the service dealt with over the three-month period.
This figure is three times as many complaints as those made about used cars bought from private sellers and franchise dealerships.
In total, Citizens Advice said its callers spent a staggering £55 million on second-hand cars from independent dealers where the car or the assistance from the dealer was not up to scratch.
Two thirds of the complaints were about the car having some kind of fault, while over 1 in 10 revolved around salespeople giving misleading information about the vehicle.
Tips on buying a used car
Citizens Advice wants to see a robust approved code introduced for the second hand car market which will help buyers filter the good dealers from the bad. It wants to identify the sellers willing to go the extra mile to make sure their customers get a car that is in good working order and one they are happy with.
In the meantime, there are certain things that you can look out for when buying a used car.
Always be aware of clocking. This is where the odometer on a high mileage car has been wound back to increase its apparent value and asking price. Keep an eye out for unusually low mileage on an old car, which could mean it's been tampered with.
Also, inspect the car carefully to see if it has been 'cloned' by giving it the identity of another by replacing the number plates, or 'cut-and-shut' where remains of two or more cars have been welded together.
Other consumer gripes
Problems with up upholstered furniture was second in the list of consumer complaints, with mobile phone contracts not far behind in third place.
In terms of vehicles, issues about repairs from an independent garage (4th) and second hand cars bought from a franchise dealer (10th) also feature in the list.
Problems with women's clothing (5th), mobile phone handsets (6th),building work (7th), troublesome TVs (8th) and lap-tops, notebooks and tablet PCs (9th) made up the rest of the Top 10.