A study by the Motor Ombudsman has discovered that the majority of people who do not currently have a service plan in place are planning to miss or delay their car’s annual service this year beyond the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended interval. This is because British motorists are attempting to save money in the face of the sharp rise in the cost of living, the poll said.
The survey that consisted of 2,000 drivers found that 33 percent of motorists are planning to miss their annual service, and more than 20 percent will be forced to delay it.
April has already turned out to be a challenging month for Britons, resulting from the introduction of a 54 percent increase in the price cap for gas and electricity bills, and rises in council tax and Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax), which all came into force at the beginning of the month.
On top of that, the current high cost of petrol and diesel, as well as surging inflation making goods on shelves even more expensive, do not make things any easier.
However, aside from the yearly MOT for cars aged three years and over, ensuring that a vehicle is kept serviced and maintained is important from a safety and reliability point of view.
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The study found that female car owners, residents in Wales, and 45- to 54-year-olds were the least likely to either get their car serviced at all this year or take their vehicle to the garage on time once they had reached the next servicing interval.
In addition, 68 percent of respondents said that they were looking to reduce costs this year by using their cars less, walking or cycling to destinations, and driving more efficiently.
Others added that they will look for cheaper insurance and use public transport more often.
While the study unveiled some worrying figures about the Britons’ approach to servicing, it also provided some positive news.
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The survey found that 60 percent of car owners recognise the importance of servicing a vehicle.
Most drivers were also aware that it helps to prolong a vehicle’s lifespan, with an average of 30 percent of respondents also agreeing that it’s a crucial step in helping to protect the safety of themselves, passengers, and those around them.
Additionally, 35 percent of car owners appreciated that having a service history improved the resale value of a car.
Around one in three agreed that keeping to a vehicle manufacturer’s servicing schedule helps in improving the resale value of a car.
Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of the Motor Ombudsman, said: “April has seen a coming together of several cost of living increases, which have unfortunately hit the wallets of consumers all at the same time.
“It’s therefore inevitable that something has to give, and our study has shown that servicing and vehicle maintenance is being seen as less of a priority.”
Mr Fennell added: “This is of course concerning – not following the vehicle manufacturer’s servicing schedule, and not taking their car to a garage to be looked at by a professional in the event of any mechanical problems is essentially compromising the safety and value of the vehicle.
“Even in these challenging times, it is important motorists keep their vehicle both roadworthy and legal at all times, and that any maintenance is carried out by a business that is accredited to The Motor Ombudsman’s comprehensive Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair.”
He continued: “This will give consumers the added peace of mind that a vehicle repairer will deliver high standards of work and service, and that they can turn to The Motor Ombudsman should there be a complaint they are unable to resolve with the business in the first instance.”
The news comes after drivers have been urged to change how they drive by slowing down on roads, as it could help them save hundreds of pounds per year, and could improve fuel efficiency by 25 percent.
Motorists have been advised to slow down slightly on faster roads, as they could save a lot of money.
Driving at high speeds down dual carriageways and motorways means the car engine is operating at a higher RPM than it is on slower roads.
The most efficient speed to drive at is between 55 and 65 miles per hour, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Driving at 70mph compared to 80mph on a motorway could save drivers 25 percent more fuel.