One of the used-car scam scams when trying to sell yours is the “cylinder head gasket” scam. This can happen to people who offer their cars for sale through private person-to-person classified ad sites. We explain how trickery works in this article!



It all starts when an individual wants to sell his or her car. Scammers start by making an offer at the price for the car for sale and propose a meeting in order to proceed with the payment and the transfer of the car. Most of the time, the appointment time is set late in the day.

Buyers come in twos or even threes and say they are in a hurry. They explain, for example, that they have to leave as soon as possible because a truck is waiting for them to go to another country and they are short of a car to complete the shipment. Good thing you’re selling yours!

To rip you off, they explain that they have very little regard for the bodyshell because they have good bodybuilders where they go, but that the engine must be faultless.

One will distract your attention while the other will look under the hood to “look at the engine condition and check the water and oil levels”. Using a syringe and a pipette, he will actually draw used oil from the engine and pour it into the water in the radiator.

They will then point out that the engine is in bad shape, but that they are ready to buy your car at a much lower price than the one displayed, in cash of course…

If they get their way, they are of course unreachable…



These kinds of scams don’t happen every weekend of course, but it’s important to be aware of them. This will ensure that you don’t get scammed if you put your car up for sale.

Here is our advice if you have any doubts about the purchase of your vehicle:

  • Refuse an appointment if it is scheduled very late in the day.
  • If both of you show up at the meeting, it will be harder to distract your attention.
  • If the buyer shows you an engine defect that didn’t exist before the appointment, then explain that you prefer to have it checked by a garage before selling it
  • Don’t go into a psychosis, there are also very good buyers who are just looking to buy a car! 😉


If you want to sell your car on a private-to-private site, such as Leboncoin or La Centrale, don’t be fooled! Unfortunately, used car scams don’t just happen to other people … If you respect our few advices, everything will go well 😉

Find more tips from the eiver team on our blog!


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