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Motorists planning to miss or delay car servicing amid cost of living increase, survey says

Many drivers are considering missing or delaying their car’s annual service this year beyond the manufacturer’s recommended interval in order to save money, according to a new study. The survey of 2,000 drivers by the Motor Ombudsman found that the majority of respondents who do not currently have a service plan in place are planning to miss their recommended servicing schedule in the face of the surging cost of living.

Rises in gas and electricity bills, as well as increases in council tax and Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax), have all contributed to many drivers tightening their finances, while a huge spike in the cost of diesel and petrol has made motoring more expensive too .

However, apart 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 angle. 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 car to the garage on time once they had reached the next servicing interval .

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When the 68 per cent of respondents who said that they were looking to reduce costs this year were asked how they were going to make savings in 2022, many said that they were going to use their vehicle less, would be walking or cycling to destinations that they would have previously driven to and driving more efficiently to save on fuel. Others said that they would be shopping around for cheaper car insurance and using public transport more often.

The poll did find, however, that 60 per cent of car owners saw the importance of servicing a vehicle as a way to prolong a car’s lifespan, with an average of 30 per cent of respondents saying that it’s a “crucial step” in maintaining a car’s safety levels. Some 35 per cent of those questioned also said that having a service history improved 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. 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.”

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