Warning against deadly delays

A new survey reveals that millions of motorists are putting off vital repairs to their car or regular servicing because they can’t afford the garage bills.

Gocompare.com is warning penny-pinching drivers that ignoring essential repairs – such as replacing damaged tyres or faulty brakes could render their vehicle dangerous or illegal to drive.

Worryingly, the research revealed that potentially dangerous or illegal problems such as brake problems and worn-out or damaged tyres are not being addressed because of cost. 11% of drivers surveyed had delayed replacing tyres; seven per cent windscreen repairs; seven per cent engine-related or mechanical repairs and five per cent brake-related problems.

Just under a quarter (24%) of drivers say they have delayed their car’s annual service, driving on average an extra 1,600 miles over their car manufacturer’s recommended servicing mileage before getting their vehicle serviced. 24% of ‘service stretchers’ admitted to driving more than 2,000 miles over the recommended servicing mileage.

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 seven per cent clutch problems. Drivers aged 25 to 34 are also the most likely (22%) to ignore their car’s warning lights.

Other key findings from the survey of over 1,570 motorists:
•                   11% of drivers have driven with one or more warning lights on because they didn’t have the money to get their car checked out;
•                   Only 61% of drivers understand all the dashboard display and warning lights on their vehicle, 25 to 34 year olds were the least knowledgeable with only 44% saying they knew what the various displays meant;
•                   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)
•                   Just 59% said they know what the service interval is on their car;
•                   Only 66% of drivers said that they have their car regularly serviced.

Commenting on the research, Matt Oliver, Gocompare.com’s car insurance spokesman said, ‘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 three 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.’

Matt Oliver concluded, ‘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.’

Gocompare.com has produced and essential motoring checklist for drivers which can be found at: http://www.gocompare.com/car-insurance/essential-motoring-checklist/