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Two-thirds of car owners cursed with bad ‘carma’ trauma

Press release   •   Sep 12, 2016 00:01 BST

Most unlucky car is a ‘used’ blue car bought seven and a half months ago

Bad ‘carma’ is an all-too-common curse among Britain’s 30m car owners with more than two-thirds (68%) of motorists claiming to have had at least one vehicle which has been dogged with bad luck.

While one in three motorists (29%) surveyed by RAC Cars say they have owned a car that has been beset by bad luck – whether that’s unreliability, suffering damage inside and out or being involved in a series of accidents – there are some unfortunate owners who seem to be personally plagued as they have suffered with multiple vehicles.

A fifth (22%) have had to put up with two ‘cursed’ cars while at the other end of the scale, a seriously unlucky 2% confess to having had bad luck with between six and 10 vehicles in their driving lives.

The RAC Cars’ survey findings mean that like the old ‘married with 2.5 children’ saying, the average motorist has owned 1.7 vehicles that have been beleaguered with bad luck.

Unreliability and breaking down topped the ‘bad luck list’ with nearly six in 10 (59%) owners saying they had experienced this with one of their motors. Twenty-nine per cent had had the worst luck with the high cost of repairs whereas a similar percentage (28%) said their car had been afflicted as it had been involved in an accident and a fifth (18%) said their vehicle was prone to suffering damage. Interestingly, a really unlucky 2% revealed they had bought a car which had had its mileage clocked leaving them in a precarious situation.

In by far the majority of cases the problems occurred with used cars (71%) and, on average, unreliability issues materialised 7.7 months after they were bought. While 15% experienced issues with new cars, a similar percentage (14%) had had problems with both new and used motors.

And, RAC Cars’ analysis of the colour of luckless vehicles showed blue cars were named most often as the cause of despair, with 14% of those surveyed saying they had had the most issues with a blue car. Red came a close second with 12% of the vote, followed by silver – 7%; green and white were tied on 6% while black brought up the rear on 5%.

The conclusion from this has to be that a blue used car bought 7.7 months ago might be about to bring you a boot full of bad luck, with unreliability being top of the list.

In terms of the amount of money spent on sorting out ‘bad luck’ issues with cars, the average cost – from the 39% of motorists surveyed who recalled what they had forked out – was £1,719. With the average value of a used car estimated to be around £8,000** this means some people are forking out in the region of a quarter of the purchase price of their vehicle.

For some owners it seems the problems were an ongoing source of frustration with four in 10 (40%) saying their vehicles had ‘lots of different things’ that went wrong with them, whereas a third (33%) said they had a mechanical issue that never seemed to be sorted out, and a similar percentage (32%) experienced an electronic issue that could just not be fixed.

RAC Cars spokesman Simon Williams said: “Very few motorists seem to escape the clutches of bad ‘carma’ with the majority having owned at least one car which has caused them more than their fair share of trouble.

“While our research showed some 15% of people have had issues with new cars, the majority have understandably had problems with used vehicles. This makes the old adage: ‘you make your own luck’ even more appropriate as there are plenty of things you can do to limit your chances of being caught out by ‘bad carma’. Even though some bad luck clearly can’t be avoided buyers can take a few simple proactive checks to avoid enduring lots of future hassle and never-ending worry.

“Everyone knows that buying a used car can be stressful which is why we offer the RAC’s industry-leading products such as RAC Vehicle Check and RAC Vehicle Inspections which give buyers greater reassurance they are purchasing a car that doesn’t have a hidden history or an underlying mechanical issue.”

“We were, however, very surprised to find that more bad luck has been experienced by owners of blue cars. People might think that the popularity of blue cars has led to this result, but according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders blue hasn’t been the most popular new car colour in the UK since 1999.

“For the last three years white has been the favourite colour of newly registered cars and before that black had a four-year run as the most popular, taking over from silver which dominated from 2000 to 2008.”

Motorists searching for their next car should visit the RAC Cars marketplace where there are more than 300,000 new and used cars to choose from. Many of these come with the reassurance of being sold by RAC Approved Dealers which means they have undergone the 82-point RAC BuySure check before being put up for sale.

Notes to Editors

* Research carried out with 2,120 members of the RAC Opinion Panel.

** BCA Pulse Report August 2015 – the headline average value of a used car was £7,839, 

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