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Drivers putting of car service due to cost-of-living

Almost a quarter of drivers have either put off servicing their vehicles, attempted a DIY car service or asked a family member to help, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to affect vehicle maintenance spending. 

A new poll run by the RAC revealed that 23% of drivers did not want to take their car to a workshop to have a service. A total of 10% have postponed their next car service by up to a year to save money, one-in-20 (5%) have gone further and delayed getting their vehicles checked for more than a year, and are only relying on the annual MOT to ensure their car is roadworthy.

An additional 10%, meanwhile, have decided to either start servicing their cars themselves, or called on the assistance of someone they know to do it.

Source: RAC

However, 9% of drivers say have opted for cheaper servicing, perhaps by swapping a full or major service for a minor one, while 8% have switched from using their normal garage to a cheaper one in order to save money.

Car service prices rising

Inflationary pressures have led some garages to increase the costs of a car service. This is a point highlighted by the Motor Ombudsman in research that showed rising costs are one of the biggest operational threats faced by independent workshops in 2023. 

However, those drivers that do postpone car service and repair work are posing a number of risks, not just to themselves, but to others on the roads as well. They could also be gearing themselves up for more expensive repairs when they do eventually take their vehicle for a service, with parts having worn more due to poor maintenance. This will be even more of an issue should MOT intervals change after the consultation decision due any time.

“Not keeping on top of servicing a vehicle is almost always a false economy, as the probability of suffering a breakdown emergency and having to fork out even more for expensive repairs down the line go up massively,” commented Rod Dennis, RAC Breakdown spokesman.

“So, while drivers might feel the best thing to do is to put off servicing or opt for a cheaper service even if their car is due a full one, we advise strongly against it as repair costs are likely to snowball when things start to go wrong.

“Our mobile mechanics are also handling an increasing number of repair jobs, often after members have been rescued from the side of the road by an RAC patrol and then need to get their cars fixed.”

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