30th June 2015
Over 7 million drivers have delayed servicing a car due to financial difficulties, new figures suggest.
Over a tenth of hard-up drivers have put-off replacing tyres and 5% have postponed repairs for brake-related problems, research by GoCompare.com, the price comparison website has revealed.
Nearly a quarter of motorists have delayed servicing their car, driving on average an extra 1,600 miles over their car manufacturer’s recommended servicing mileage before getting their vehicle checked out. Meanwhile, 11% have ignored one or more warning lights because they couldn’t afford a repair bill.
Ignoring essential repairs – such as replacing damaged tyres or faulty brakes – could render vehicles dangerous or illegal to drive.
The survey found that drivers aged 35 to 44 are the most likely (34%) to put-off servicing their cars.
Younger motorists in the 25 to 34 age band were the most likely to delay vital repairs – 21% said that they have delayed buying new tyres, 13% dealing with brake problems, 13% windscreen repairs and 7% clutch problems. Drivers aged 25 to 34 are also the most likely (22%) to ignore their car’s warning lights.
The average cost of an annual car service, including parts and labour is £205. Motorists in London face the highest average bills (£283) and those in the North East the lowest (£135)
Only 66% of drivers said that they have their car regularly serviced.
Matt Oliver, Gocompare.com’s car insurance spokesman, says: “If you’re on a tight budget it can be tempting to delay or skip repairs to or servicing of your car. But, poorly maintained cars tend to breakdown or worse – contribute to accidents. So, while delaying repairs and maintenance may seem like a good way of saving cash, it can lead to more serious problems and bigger bills in the long-run and could render your car unsafe and illegal to drive.
“For example, the depth of tread on your car tyres makes a big difference to your car’s stopping distance, especially in wet weather. Therefore, for safety reasons UK law requires you to have a minimum depth of 1.6mm of tread on your car’s tyres. If you’re stopped while driving a car with tyres worn beyond the legal limit you could face 3 penalty points and £2,500 in fines.
“Depending on the size and location of the damage, driving with a cracked or chipped windscreen may also mean that you are committing a motoring offence and could be putting you and other people in danger of being in an accident.”
He adds: “Putting a little money aside on a regular basis to pay for car repairs and maintenance can help spread the cost of keeping your car on the road. Regular servicing and repairs helps to save you money in the long-run and more importantly helps to keep you and other road users safe. If poor car maintenance leads to an accident you could face criminal charges for driving a vehicle in an unroadworthy and dangerous condition. This could also invalidate your car insurance.”