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Over 10 million drivers have put off servicing their cars due to financial difficulty

21 March 2013

New research reveals that over 10 million* (36%) UK motorists have put off servicing their car to save cash, with over a quarter (27%) of drivers travelling more than 2,000 miles over their car manufacturer's recommended servicing mileage before getting their car serviced.

More worryingly, 2.8 million motorists (1 in 10) could be driving illegally by delaying replacing worn out or damaged tyres

Gocompare.com's survey of UK motorists also revealed that:

  • 22% said they would consider trying to carry out a service themselves to save money
  • 14% of motorists have driven with warning lights on for more than a week because they couldn't afford to get their car checked
  • 1.7m (6%) drivers have never had their car serviced
  • 1 in 5 (21%) motorists are driving a car that's over 10 years old, but 17% do not have breakdown cover*

And, it's not just their car's service that motorists have been delaying. The research has found that 20% of drivers are putting off general vehicle repairs due to the cost. The most commonly delayed repairs are:

  • Replacing tyres (10%)
  • Replacing windscreen wipers (8%)
  • Engine-related or mechanical repairs (8%)
  • Replacing bulbs (6%)
  • Windscreen repairs (4%)
  • Brake or clutch repairs (3%)

Driving with defective tyres isn't just dangerous, it is illegal and can result in a CU30 driving offence, which carries a fine and three points on your licence. Having a CU30 may also affect your insurance premium. In one example, Gocompare.com found that a CU30 resulted in an average increase of £118.65 ** - more than the cost of a replacement tyre.

Scott Kelly, head of motor at Gocompare.com, said; "It's no secret that times are tough for people at the moment, but delaying essential servicing and repairs is a false economy and could render your vehicle unsafe.  Driving an unroadworthy vehicle is illegal and you could end up with points on your driving licence, a substantial fine as well as invalidating your car insurance.

"If you're one of the 17% of drivers who don't have breakdown cover, you could end up severely out of pocket if your car were to breakdown. Paying for cover annually is usually much cheaper than paying ‘on the spot' recovery charges, and can cost as little as £18.80, the equivalent of 36p a week***, making it more affordable than you might think.

"In short, preventing or addressing problems early can help keep car maintenance affordable in difficult times. Putting a little money aside each month can help with wear and tear costs, and checking your car regularly will help anticipate when these repairs are on the horizon."


Notes to editors:

On the 15th-18th Jan 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 1,237 randomly selected UK drivers who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

*‘Over 10 million' figure is based on there being an estimated 28,420,877 motorists in the UK (Source - Department for Transport vehicle licencing statistics). All figures presented millions are based on this number.

**Figure based on an example quote for a 27 year old marketing executive, living in Cardiff and driving a Vauxhall Astra SRI CDTI 1956cc. Average increase is calculated by comparing two returned sets of quotes with the only change being whether a CU30 was listed. Average was calculated by the mean of the top 10 cheapest quotes returned from both, with the lower figure then subtracted from the higher one. Average of top 10 cheapest Quotes with a CU30 was £677.50, average of top 10 cheapest quotes without CU30 = £558.85. £677.50 -£558.85 is £118.65. Quotes are unique to the driver at the time of retrieval.

*** £18.80 quoted from the Green Insurance company for a 5 year old car. Cover included Nationwide recovery, ‘onward cover' and roadside cover with a maximum of 6 call outs a year. £18.80 divided by 52 is 36p.