New research has revealed that in the last two years more than four million UK car owners have had to keep their car off the road because they couldn’t afford repairs needed on their vehicle.
With 21 million owners saying they have needed repairs in the last two years, this means that one in five (19%) have been forced to go without their car while they got their finances in order. Half of these motorists (2 million) had to keep their car off the road for a month or longer.
A shortage of money has driven many drivers to make some risky decisions. Over 1.2 million drivers admitted to having driven their car in an unroadworthy condition because they couldn’t afford repairs with men twice as likely as women to have done so.
Many drivers carry out repairs themselves, which is obviously not a problem in itself. However, a third of car owners who either carried out a repair themselves or had a friend or relative do it for them say they were concerned about the quality of that repair. In a cautionary tale for second hand car buyers, nearly half a million motorists say that although they were concerned about their DIY repairs they didn’t do anything about it as they sold the car soon afterwards.
The study also gave an indication that the policy of prevention being better than cure is as relevant to our cars as it is to our bodies. More than three quarters (77%) of those skipping their car’s annual service had to get repairs carried out on their car in the last two years. The equivalent figure for those who maintained their car’s annual service record was 56%, suggesting that regular servicing helps keep the need for repairs at bay.
Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, which carried out the survey, said: “All cars need repairs at some point, it’s the inevitable result of everyday wear and tear. Drivers should therefore try to be realistic about their motoring budget and plan for their costs.
“Measures which may appear to be saving money in the short term may turn out to be a false economy. Skipping servicing can lead to problems which may be more expensive to fix at a later date.”