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Putting off a car repair? It could cost you in the long run

A new survey shows millions of motorists are turning a blind eye to damage, even though it could come back to bite them harder in the future

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Millions of drivers have delayed having their car fixed and then seen the problem escalate into a major and expensive repair.

As we have reported before here at The Car Expert, putting off repairs to your car is not only a bad idea in terms of safety but it rarely gives you the money you think you’ve saved by ignoring the fix.

Now a new survey out today shows that millions of motorists are still turning a blind eye to damage even though it will come back and bite them harder in the future.

More than 19 million drivers have not repaired damage to their vehicles for more than a month, reveals the research from Churchill Insurance. And it’s not just cosmetic damage such as bodywork dents – the survey shows that six million motorists have put off having repairs done to their brakes.

Two-thirds of car mechanics questioned in the research said they see cars every week where repairs have been left too long. And yet ignoring minor issues could cost drivers up to £5,000.

For most motorists, the main reason for driving with damage is that they believe the issue is only cosmetic, while a fifth ignore these issues because they know they can get away with it. Around 20% say they can’t afford repairs, while lockdown during the recent pandemic and a lack of time were also contributing factors.

A third of drivers (13 million) admitted to leaving damage to bodywork for more than a month, with five million not repairing it for more than a year.

Top five reasons for driving with damage or a fault
The problem was only cosmetic33%
I knew I could get away with driving it despite the damage20%
I couldn’t afford to fix it19%
I’ve not been using my car as much during lockdown14%
I didn’t have time to get the problem fixed14%
Source: Churchill Motor Insurance 2021

“We understand the reasons drivers do not immediately get bumps and scrapes to bodywork repaired as they are probably seen as minor issues and can be expensive to repair,” says Nicholas Mantel, head of motor insurance for Churchill.

“However, minor issues can quickly become major if they are not dealt with. Engine noises which could be sorted out with a £10 oil replacement, for example, could amount to needing a new engine, costing thousands if ignored for too long.

How bad could it get?
Type of repairPotential cost straight awayPotential cost if delayed
Hand brake sticking£100£324
Paint damage£15£102
Engine noises£10£5,000
Windscreen crack£189£250
Wheel bearing£300£800
Brake pads£252£450
Low tyre pressure£2£100
Slow punctures£100£900
Source: Churchill Motor Insurance 2021

“The research also highlights how drivers are not taking problems with car brakes seriously. Brake failure can lead to road traffic accidents and drivers are putting themselves and the public at high risk,” says Nicholas Mantel.

“While we sympathise with car owners, we recommend tending to even the small issues as quickly as possible, not only to save money and avoid a bigger bill in the future, but also to avoid road accidents or injury.”

If you’re worried about shelling out for repairs on your car, you might want to consider a used car warranty to protect you from the largest expenses.

Here at The Car Expert, we have some fantastic warranty offers for our readers provided by our commercial partners. If you’re interested in a used car warranty, you should check these out:

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Tom Johnston
Tom Johnstonhttp://johnstonmedia.com/
Tom Johnston was the first-ever reporter on national motoring magazine Auto Express. He went on to become that magazine’s News Editor and Assistant Editor, and has also been Motoring Correspondent for the Daily Star and contributor to the Daily and Sunday Express. Today, as a freelance writer, content creator and copy editor, Tom works with exciting and interesting websites and magazines on varied projects.