News, views & analysis blogs by: Karolin Kroeg


Karolin Kroeg :
Driving ‘Til The Wheels Fall Off


Karolin Kroeg :
- Over 23 million UK motorists delay fixing car faults –

Embargoed until 00:01 on 25th February 2008: More than 23 million[1]frugal drivers (71 per cent) are putting their lives at risk by delaying a trip to a garage despite being aware of a fault with their vehicle.

Research commissioned by esure car insurance[2]found that one in three (33 per cent) motorists admitted ignoring car defects to avoid paying out for repairs. Around one in five (19 per cent) even ignore warning lights on their car dashboard. Ten per cent admitted to ignoring the faults until their cars’ MOT was due – causing potential danger on UK roads.

Furthermore, 31 per cent claimed that they didn’t have time to take their car to a garage whilst 8 per cent confessed to only fixing problems with their car if it became completely unusable.

Nearly half (44 per cent) of those questioned said that they would prioritise spending their monthly wage on leisure activities such as clothes shopping and booking holidays rather than fixing a known fault on their car.

The research also revealed that over 24 million motorists (72 per cent of drivers) did not know what all the important warning symbols meant on their car dashboard.

Consequently, nearly half of all motorists (49 per cent) have ignored an ‘emergency’ flashing light on their dashboard because they couldn’t work out what the warning symbol meant.

Many warning lights are individual to specific car manufacturers or even particular car models – but only 13 per cent of motorists have read their vehicle’s handbook to decipher the symbols.

Ironically, aside from causing danger on the roads, ignoring faults can lead to a higher service bill or even a significant fine. esure has worked alongside ‘KC Autos’ to highlight the five most common faults ignored by motorists, the approximate cost if fixed immediately, if left to worsen and details of costs and fines if faults are ignored:

Dave Cotterill from KC Auto´s comments:
“We frequently see customers with faults on their vehicles that began as a relatively minor problem, which they have allowed to worsen until it became a danger to themselves and others on the road.

“In addition to the main safety issue, the cost of repair also increases significantly over time – continuing to drive with a fault is a false economy as it will cost the motorist more when they eventually do come to pay for the repair.”

Mike Pickard, Head of Risk and Underwriting at esure, said:
“Driving a car with a fault - no matter how small it may be, could potentially increase the likelihood of having an accident or breakdown. Motorists should always think about the internal feel of the car whilst driving as well as any unusual noise they may hear.

“esure urges all drivers to check their dashboard for any warning lights the next time they’re in the car and if unsure about what a specific light means, to check their manual or take their car to the local garage for it to be looked at.”

Gender Divide
Women are more likely to avoid a trip to the garage for financial reasons (37 per cent vs 29 per cent of men) with three times the amount of women admitting to spending money on a new outfit rather than fixing a fault with their car.

More women ignore in-car warning symbols (57 per cent vs 47 per cent of men), with only 18 per cent confident they knew what the symbols meant, compared to 38 per cent of men.

Regional Differences
Scottish motorists are the most safety conscious, with almost a third (30 per cent) claiming that they always repair a problem with their car as soon as it happens.

Motorists from the Midlands are the laziest – with around one in six (15 per cent) admitting that they don’t take their car to the garage to get the fault checked out until it’s due for its MOT.

The Welsh proved to be the tightest when it comes to spending money on their car, with 42 per cent of motorists in Wales citing money as the main reason for delaying a trip to the garage.

Top 5 tips for maintaining your motor:
1.Always read your car manual and keep it in your glove box compartment for reference.
2.Remember, some warning lights on your dashboard can be specific to car manufacturers, so refresh your knowledge of dashboard symbols if you have a new car.
3.Make sure that you’re familiar with your vehicle. Regularly walk around your car to check the tyres and whilst you’re sitting in the car, make a note of how the steering feels. If you notice any changes, make sure you have them looked at.
4.Listen to hear how your car sounds when you are driving it. Don’t drown out the noise of your car with loud music.
5.Always keep emergency phone numbers with you when driving and consider joining a reliable rescue service in case you break down.
6.Make the effort to get your car serviced regularly as an addition to having normal MOT check ups.

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