A recently conducted automotive research project has shown that British car owners are risking the mechanical health of their vehicles by failing to maintain a regular service schedule. The reason given for the neglect is financial pressure, leaving many motorists using the annual MoT as the only mechanical attention their cars will undergo over the course of a year.
The recent survey claims that up to 13 million British car owners say they cannot afford a regular servicing and maintenance programme for their cars, but motoring organisations have pointed out that negligence in this area is likely to result in higher costs in the longer terms. Small problems left untreated can grow into more serious and expensive issues, while MoT failure rates will also rise.
Servicing versus MoTs
The Independent Garage Association and the UK’s Department of Transport have been consulting to come up with measures that will encourage car owners to maintain sensible servicing programmes. Ideas mooted include an increase to the cost of MoTs and retest charging, which should push drivers to attend to maintenance more carefully between testing appointments.
The busiest month for a car service in Plymouth and countrywide is September, as this also tends to be the busiest month of the year for car sales thanks to the registration plate change. In September of 2010, 335,246 cars were registered and as a result the same 335,246 cars were due to take their first MoTs this month. Of those, 14% wear Ford badges, 13% are Vauxhalls and 7% are made by Volkswagen. The IGA is concerned that many of these and particularly older cars will not have undergone any kind of maintenance or mechanical inspection in the meantime.
The trend was identified in a survey of thousands of UK car owners who were questioned about their car maintenance programmes. One in ten confessed that they rarely, if ever, bothered to check tyre pressure and tread levels, while 15% admitted that they had reason to be concerned about the condition of their car’s brakes but had no intentions of visiting a garage as a result. The omission of home maintenance gains even further importance if the car is not being looked at regularly by a mechanic, but drivers seem unaware of or unconcerned by the potential £1,000 fine that can be incurred by driving with defective lights, tyres or brakes, among other issues.
There were also some geographic anomalies noted. Vehicle owners in the South West came out worst under questioning – make sure you are not one of the 45% of drivers in the area failing to maintain the condition of their vehicles by organising a Mercedes van service in Exeter. By purchasing your vehicle from Mercedes Benz various incentives are available to encourage regular services. These range from fixed price services to a service care program that allows you to spread the cost of servicing over the year.
Car owners in the North West aren’t far behind, with 44% admitting that they intended to skip their next service to save money. Londoners were next, with 43% confessing to being careless about maintenance. The most carefully maintained cars belong to Scots, only 22% of whom tend to skip services.