Here’s how to decipher the bullshit found in classified car ads

Looking for a used vehicle is a process that involves getting uncomfortably familiar with classified car ads. Be it Autotrader, Gumtree, eBay or god forbid Facebook classifieds, the fact is there are shite cars everywhere, and with shite cars comes truly terrible adverts.

Spend enough time looking at such adverts and you’ll soon get used to the language involved – the cliché phrases and the downright lies that untrustworthy shites use to try and flog their motors. With that in mind, here’s my guide to deciphering the bullshit in car adverts.

On Service history

Service history’ – Poor or incomplete service history, expect minimal stamps and potentially history from a completely different vehicle

Part service history’ – Service history, most of which is missing

Full service history’ – Usually means part service history

Serviced by myself’ – Not serviced

On Previous owners

One female owner’ – The owner is a female (why do people still do this?!)

One doctor owner’ – The owner was a doctor (same point as above)

One elderly owner’ –  R.I.P clutch and bumper plastics

On the car’s condition

Interior is in great condition’ – Exterior is fucked

Slight bubbling on arch’ – Terminal rust

Could do with some TLC’ – It’s a shitheap

Could easily be made into a show winning car’ – Plenty of reasons why it isn’t a show winner

Always turns heads’ – Driver needs to pay more attention when driving

On the car’s mechanicals

Cambelt done, no receipt though’ – Cambelt not done, ticking time bomb under the bonnet

Car had speedo failure at xxx mileage, replacement sourced’ – Shamelessly clocked example

Slight whine from gearbox/diff’ ­– drivetrain has had it

Miscellaneous phrases

Future classic’ – Unlikely to be a future classic

Cheapest on eBay/Autotrader/Gumtree’ – Worst example on eBay/Autotrader/Gumtree

Workhorse’ – Abused mule of a vehicle

Good runner’ – Amazing that it still runs

Age related marks’ – Iron oxide galore

This car is xx years old, please don’t expect a new car’ – it’s ropey as fuck

Selling on behalf of a friend’ – Lying bastard

Danger words

Any vehicles with an advert displaying the following words should be treated with extreme caution.

Euro, Stanced, Modded, Slammed, Decked, Sleeper, Drift, Rat Look,

Know any more? Drop ‘em in the comment box below.


Image credits: main image:


  1. How about “re-listed because of timewaster” possibly the purchaser saw how bad it was in the flesh. I do love seeing “future classic” on anything more than five years old these days though.

Leave a Reply