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Motorists Urged To Keep Servicing Their Vehicles During Cost Of Living Crisis

A recent survey by The Motor Ombudsman is urging motorists to keep their vehicles serviced in the face of the cost of living crisis.

Key Points…

  1.  It was revealed that over half (56%) of UK car owners who do not have a service plan in place are considering either missing or delaying their annual service in 2022 as a way to save money due to the sharp rise in the cost of living.
  2. 68% of car owners who said they were looking to make savings this year are planning to reduce motoring-related expenditure as we enter 2023.
  3. On top of the high cost of fuel, April is seen as a landmark month for such a squeeze on personal finances when household bills increase and tax implications come into effect, further shrinking the budgets of consumers.


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Research in detail…

The Motor Ombudsman, the Ombudsman dedicated to the automotive sector, has delivered an online poll of over 2,000 UK car owners. It has revealed that 56% of respondents who do not currently have a service plan in place for their vehicle, are planning to miss (33%) or delay (23%) their car’s annual service to save money as a result of the cost of living crisis.

Throughout the year people have already found several challenges to be an issue to their budgeting, as a result of the increase in the price cap for gas and electricity bills, and rises in council tax and road tax, which all came into effect at the beginning of the April 2022. On top of this, the poll also found that the cost of petrol and diesel is now a major concern for a staggering 87% of car owners, as is rising inflation which is making goods even more expensive at a time when money is tight.

Aside from the fact that it is a legal requirement to have an annual MOT for cars aged three years and over, it is advisable to have any vehicle serviced each year to ensure it is roadworthy and running efficiently. An inefficient car is going to cost more in the short term (running costs, fuel, etc.) and in the long term (maintenance, parts, etc.)

The Motor Ombudsman study also revealed that female car owners (57%), individuals residing in Wales (66%) and 45 to 54 year olds (64%) are the least likely to get their car serviced at all, or take it to have a service when it reaches the next required point – either based on the mileage completed or the 12-month anniversary since the last check.

In the poll, car owners were also asked how else they plan to reduce their vehicle costs this year, with 68% saying they were looking to make savings. Here, there were 5 ways of cutting back that people consistently mentioned: 1) using their car less, 2) walking or cycling more, 3) driving more efficiently, 4) shopping around for cheaper car insurance, 5) using public transport more often.

It is fair to say that the study has raised serious concerns about the importance of car servicing, in that many people do not see it as a priority when money is tight. But this is a false economy.

It costs more in the long run if you don’t maintain your vehicle and with this in mind it is good that the poll also suggested that 60% of car owners do recognise the importance of servicing a vehicle as it ‘helps to prolong a vehicle’s lifespan’. Furthermore, 30% of respondents stated that servicing is a crucial part of keeping a vehicle safe and road-worthy. Another 35% of car owners also appreciate the added value of having a fully serviced vehicle when it comes to improving its resale value. 29% said that maintaining a manufacturers servicing schedule helps to maintain the validity of a car’s warranty in the result of needing to make a claim.


Related Reading: How Often Should You Service Your Car For Optimal Performance?


From The Motor Ombudsman…

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and MD 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. 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. This will give consumers the added of 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.”

To search for a local garage that is accredited to The Motor Ombudsman’s Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair, visit The Motor Ombudsman’s Garage Finder.


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