Monday, 20 February 2017

Quickest Guide To The Rising Cost Of Car Maintenance


Fuel, repairs, tyres and servicing can add up to thousands of pounds a year, putting a strain on household budgets, but with a little planning, you can drive the cost down.

RUNNING REPAIRS How much you have to pay for repairs will partly depend on the motor you buy. Surprisingly, some of the most prestigious car marques actually turn out to need the most frequent repairs. For instance, Alfa Romeos may boast style and performance, but owners are more likely to be taking a trip to the garage than drivers of any other car, according to new data from Warranty Direct.

It found that four out of 10 Alfa drivers made a claim in the last year, mostly for suspension, electrical and cooling system problems. Another premium brand, Porsche, was in second place with a third of drivers claiming.

Steering faults, suspension and electrical issues were the prime culprits, with the average claim costing more than £1,000. It was closely followed by Land Rover, also with a third of drivers claiming, then Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz with one in four, then Jaguar and Lexus, all premium brands.

Philip Ward, chief operating officer of Warranty Direct, says that as cars and components become increasingly complex, repair costs will continue to rise. “Vehicles that might initially seem reliable and reasonably priced can end up becoming a financial liability for the owner.”

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL This will come as some consolation for those who cannot afford a luxury vehicle, as your mass-market runabout is likely to need fewer repairs.

Ward says super-minis and hatchbacks have cheaper claims, because of the simplicity of their parts and reduced costs of labour: “These include makes such as Smart, Kia, Seat, Ford and Hyundai, all with less than 10 per cent of owners claiming each year.”

The figures also showed Japanese cars to be some of the most reliable on the market.


“Between just 3 and 6 per cent of warranties for Honda, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota were claimed on throughout the year,” Ward adds.

To keep repair bills down, it is worth choosing your car carefully. Smaller-engined cars can, for example, also cut your vehicle excise duty, while gas guzzlers are charged more. The rules change from April, but pure electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Renault Zoe will continue to pay no car tax at all.

BURNING MONEY Fuel costs also look set to rise, with motorists routinely paying more than 120p for a litre of unleaded, up from just over 101p in February last year. Carl Ebanks, brand manager at fuel efficiency additive manufacturer Redex, says some simple measures can reduce your fuel usage: “Decluttering your car, emptying your boot of unnecessary weight and taking off your roof rack can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 per cent. Fuel is heavy so think twice before completely filling your tank, as this adds weight to your vehicle. Keep your tyres pumped up, because lower pressure can increase drag on your car, raising consumption.”

Heavy footed drivers who accelerate and break sharply between junctions also burn fuel unnecessarily.

TAKE CHEAPER COVER New figures from show that the cost of motor insurance has sped ahead, with the average premium for comprehensive cover rising 28 per cent over the last two years, from £420 to £536.

Its consumer affairs expert Kevin Mountford says premiums are set to rise even higher: “For most drivers, renewal quotes will show a steep hike.”

You can drive the cost back down by shopping around for cover using a comparison site rather than auto-renewing, increasing your voluntary excess on claims, and paying all your premiums up front, because monthly payments often attract extra charges.



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