Car neglect costs owners £154m

New research has revealed that a fifth (20%) of car owners have skipped their car’s service or other maintenance and repairs over the last twelve months. Moreover, the study carried out for Kwik Fit, the UK’s leading automotive servicing and repair company, revealed that many of these seven million drivers are well aware that their neglect will prove more costly in the long run.

Almost half (45%) of those neglecting their car’s servicing or maintenance said that they would be spending more as a result of the delays, with the additional bill for drivers totalling £153.9 million.

Londoners are more likely to have skipped maintenance than car owners anywhere else in the UK, with a third (33%) having done so in the past 12 months. In a clear warning to the capital’s second hand car-buyers, the most common reason given by London car owners for skipping maintenance or repairs is because they were planning to sell the car.

Conversely, car buyers may benefit from travelling to the south west to buy their next used car. Only 13% of the region’s car owners say they have skipped servicing or maintenance in the last year – with almost half (47%) of them saying they have done so because they are driving fewer miles.

Kwik Fit’s research found that the UK’s more experienced car owners clearly see the benefit of keeping on top of their car’s maintenance – amongst the over 65s only 8% have skipped servicing over the last year, compared to 40% of owners aged between 18-24.

Older drivers also have a greater appreciation of the cost of delaying work. Those over 65 who have skipped on servicing believe the delays add an average of £101.44 to their eventual bill, while those under 24 think the additional cost is only £41.

Across the UK as a whole, financial constraints are the most common reason cited by car owners for skipping servicing, followed by driving fewer miles – more reasons are given in the following table.

Reason given for skipping car servicing, repairs or maintenance in the last twelve months Number of car owners stating reason
Financial constraints 2,789,000
Driving fewer miles 1,937,000
Planning to sell the car 1,398,000
Don’t believe cars need servicing as often as stated by the manufacturers 1,350,000
Will service it myself, but I have not yet got round to it 1,157,000
Skipped for other reasons 1,112,000

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, believes more drivers should appreciate that neglecting maintenance can compromise safety as well as having a financial impact. He said, ‘This research clearly shows that delaying servicing or maintenance often ends up hitting drivers with a bigger bill in the long run. We are sure that car owners could have put that £150 million, which was needlessly spent, to much better use.

‘The old adage of a stitch in time saves nine remains as true today as when our grandmothers first told it to us as children. However, it’s not just in the pocket where car owners can feel the impact of neglecting their car. Those looking after their car will find that it looks after them when they need it most, whether that’s starting first time in an emergency or gripping the road surface in bad weather.’