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Fear of unexpected repairs puts 3.8m drivers off getting their car serviced

Press release   •   Dec 09, 2019 00:01 GMT

Half of UK drivers (47%) worry about having to pay for unexpected car repairs when they get their vehicles serviced, new research has found.

The survey of 2,000 drivers for RAC MOT Assist* found that it is those drivers in London, the West Midlands and Northern Ireland who get most agitated, with a majority of respondents in these areas saying they get concerned about hidden problems coming to light.

But perhaps more worryingly, a quarter of all drivers (24%) who worry about unexpected problems with their cars – the equivalent of 3.8m people – say that this uncertainty actually puts them off getting their car maintained in the future, suggesting there may be millions of cars on the UK’s roads that are in a less-than-perfect condition.

The research also found that when it comes to a vehicle’s annual MOT of roadworthiness, drivers are regularly forking out hundreds of pounds to pass. While the cost of the test is never any more than £55, more than half of drivers (52%) have paid £300 or more to get their car through the MOT, with 5% of drivers – the equivalent of 1.7m people – having paid a staggering £1,000 or more to get their vehicle through the test.

Fortunately, for those faced with having to fork out money to get their cars to pass the mandatory MOT, the RAC has launched its ‘MOT Assist’ programme. Every driver who gets their vehicle serviced at one of the RAC’s 500 Approved Garages is covered for up to £750 worth of parts and labour costs needed to get their vehicle to pass its next MOT.**

RAC MOT Assist product manager Lauren French said:

“Clearly, taking a car in for a service or MOT can be a nerve-wracking experience with many drivers concerned about what might be uncovered, and the unpleasant financial consequences that can result. But it’s even more alarming that this experience is enough to put some people off getting their car serviced in the future. Just how many people are driving vehicles on the UK’s roads that they know have problems?

“The best advice to any driver is to keep on top of servicing and maintenance work – the quicker problems are identified, often the cheaper they are to remedy. But at the same time we know that running a car can feel burdensome, and that some drivers don’t feel confident finding an affordable but reliable garage, or trusting one with looking after their car. This is why we’ve built a national network of RAC approved independent garages that drivers can depend on for good service and fair prices, with every one of them backed by the RAC’s Customer Charter and Code of Conduct.

“We also believe there should be an incentive that encourages drivers to get their car serviced in the first place, which is where our new MOT Assist programme comes in. Drivers who book their cars in for a service at one of our approved garages can then claim up to £750 towards the cost of parts or labour needed to pass their next MOT.”**


Taking the uncertainty out of getting a car past its MOT

Looking after a car can be an expensive business, and RAC data shows that half of drivers say their car maintenance costs have actually gone up in 2019 compared to the previous year. So to reward drivers who do the right thing and service their cars annually, the RAC has launched MOT Assist.

Drivers who get their car serviced at any of the RAC’s 700-strong network of approved garages will be covered for up to £750 of specific parts of labour needed to get it through its next MOT. Terms and conditions apply.**

More details are available on the RAC MOT Assist website.

Notes to Editors

* Research conducted among 2,100 UK drivers who are members of the RAC Driver Opinion Panel. Total UK driver extrapolations based on 33.6m full licence holders (source: UK Travel Survey)

** Terms and conditions and eligibility criteria apply. For full details, see https://www.rac.co.uk/approvedgarages/products-services/mot-assist

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About the RAC

The RAC provides complete peace of mind to 11m UK private and business drivers, whatever their motoring needs. Its services include:

The RAC also works to support the interests of its members and UK drivers on the most important motoring issues which it identifies via the annual RAC Report on Motoring and the RAC Opinion Panel. The Report on Motoring is the longest running analysis of driver opinion in the UK having been published every year since 1989.

For more information about the RAC, visit the RAC website.