Motorists Play Maintenance Roulette To Cut Costs

Motorists are taking dangerous risks to save money on car maintenance, according to a new survey. One in ten motorists are delaying replacing their tyres to cut costs, while nearly a third have delayed having their car serviced and a quarter no longer take out breakdown cover.

Luckily, there are limits to the risks people are willing to take – only 1% have delayed when it comes to getting brake problems fixed.

The survey, which was carried out by and questioned 1,600 people across the UK, also found that one in seven are choosing not to repair a chipped windscreen. This is potentially the daftest saving of all, because chip repairs are normally free for anyone with comprehensive car insurance; the point of repairing a chip is to prevent it becoming a crack, which cannot be repaired and requires a new windscreen, which drivers will have to pay for.

Having windscreen chips repaired promptly is an important way of prolonging the life of your windscreen and saving you money. In winter especially, chips can rapidly become unfixable cracks as water freezes inside them, causing them to expand (a bit like the potholes on Britain’s roads…). Cracked windscreens are weakened and a potential danger – they will cave in more easily if anything (like a bird) hits your windscreen while you are driving.

If you have a chip in your windscreen, get on the phone to your insurance company or Autoglass and ask for it to be repaired – normally, your insurance will cover this and it won’t cost you a penny. Mobile repairs are available for no extra charge, too, so you can have it done while you are at work. (Click here for our windscreen repair guide.)

Delay = Danger & Extra Cost

As for the other cost savings identified by the survey, these are all either dangerous or a false economy. Delaying the replacement of tyres means that you are risking fines of up to £2,500 per tyre plus points on your licence if you end up driving on illegal tyres.

In addition, it’s just plain dangerous – your tyres are the only thing that keeps your car stuck to the road and allows you to control it. Worn out tyres offer much less grip and increase your braking distance – an unpleasant combination.

Delaying an overdue car service means that it is more likely to break down, which will ultimately cost you more and will probably happen at the worst possible time. Cars with incomplete service histories are also harder to sell than cars with full service histories.

We agree with MD Doug Scott: “The survey shows the risks many people are willing to take in order to save money in the current climate,” adds Doug. “We all need to make savings, but people must consider whether some of their cutbacks are really worth it.”

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