Cost of living sees rise in car faults

16 May 2023 | David Young

With the significant rise in the cost of living for many across the UK, new data from LV= General Insurance (LV= GI) has found many motorists are avoiding replacing and servicing early signs of wear and tear on their vehicle

Cost of living sees rise in car faults

According to LV='s breakdown provider, Britannia Rescue, the number of call outs where vehicles didn't have a MOT has increased by 78%. The data also correlates with a 2% rise in MOT failures across the UK within the same period according to DVSA figures. Furthermore, 35% of these failures had at least one dangerous item.

Failures for non-working headlights, indicators and reflectors accounted for just over a quarter (25.5%) of all MOT failures, while problems with brakes (17%), tyres (12%) and windscreens (8%) were in the top five reasons for failure. Worryingly, the proportion of tyre failures has increased by 2% in the last three years, demonstrating motorists aren't replacing them as often as legally required.

LV='s network of branded repair garages, which deal with LV= customers' cars involved in an accident, has seen a sharp rise in a lack of maintenance. The top five issues which motorists aren't getting fixed are:

  • Worn tyres and customers taking the tread down to minimal legal levels
  • Advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) not calibrated correctly or checked
  • Warning lights on dashboard being ignored
  • Chipped or cracked windscreens not being sorted at early stage
  • Wearing brake pads

Drivers are also hanging onto their vehicles for much longer, with callouts by Britannia Rescue attending cars which date back to 2014, 2015 and 2016 the most frequent. ADAS features, including pedestrian detection, blind spot detection, and lane departure warnings, play a significant role in the safety of vehicles. However, motorists are ignoring warnings of faults which could lead to an increase in accidents and risk danger to others on the roads.

Michael Golding, network manager at LV= General Insurance comments, "The data we're seeing is worrying, as this neglect could easily impact the safety of a vehicle and could put yourself, passengers, and others in real danger. In light of the cost of living, spending additional money on a car can be frustrating, but we hope this demonstrates the important safety aspect and why it's crucial warning signs aren't ignored. With more cars being rescued without a MOT, this can also have serious consequences and a fine of up to £1,000."

Tom Hadfield, commercial director at the Vella Group Repair Centres added, "When inspecting vehicles, we often see instances where customers haven't maintained their car. Typical examples might include tyre wear beyond the legal limit, and in some extreme cases we've seen exposed cord beneath the tread. It's common to see chips and cracks in windscreens, which can interfere with automatic radar equipment, and we've also seen severely worn or damaged steering components. It's important customers understand that they might think they're saving money, but in the long term it's going to cost a lot more to fix and could compromise the vehicle's safety."

As part of the Government's recent MOT consultation, LV= has strongly advised that MOT's remain an annual requirement, to ensure roads are as safe as possible and protect drivers. In addition, extending the MOT timeframe could result in costlier repairs, as problems which would have been identified at the annual MOT could significantly deteriorate and require more work.