Countless millions of motorists have been to this place of hate. Each car owner has his own place. If the driver is lucky it will be in his street. If he is unlucky (and isn’t it always the way?) the place of hate will be in a lay-by, in the rain, at night with an owl dangerously close by. It is the hated place of breakdowns.
It used to be that the car would come to a grinding halt with copious amounts of steam emanating from under the bonnet as yet another thermostat fails. That’s much less likely in our modern times but there are two things you can always been sure of: The first is that the cause of the breakdown will often be mysteriously electrical; the second is that your new car warranty will have expired the week before the event and you will have done nothing about it.
So it seems that electrical gremlins are the faults most likely to provide motorists with an unwanted repair bill just as their car exits the standard three-year manufacturer’s warranty period, at least according to Warranty Direct whose facts and figures these are. While some car makers offer longer new car warranties, sometimes of up to seven years, most still offer the typical three years’ worth of cover.
Just over a quarter of cars suffer an electrical breakdown in their fourth year on the road, but axle and suspension faults have the sharpest increase between a car’s third and fourth year, jumping up nearly 4% to just over one in five (22%).
Engine failures are the third most likely thing to go wrong as a car comes out of the protective umbrella offered by a three-year manufacturer warranty, with seventeen percent suffering a fault. Over the last five years, air con and electrical faults are the failures that have consistently increased as soon as a car enters its fourth year.
Data analysed from the 30,000 Warranty Direct policies that were live in 2015 showed that electrical and engine faults are actually more likely in a three-year old car. But the repair bill for an engine failure on a four-year old car is considerably more expensive, at an average of £740.76 as opposed to £692.26 on a three-year old vehicle, it seems.
Gearbox faults are the most expensive to fix on a four-year old car, with an average repair bill of £896.22, more than a hundred pounds more than on a three-year old car.
The cost of fixing steering system woes also jumps between a car’s third and fourth years, again by more than £100, to an average of £532.37. Overall, the average repair cost for a four-year old car is £480.74.
Cars of the Twentieth Century had their problems but were at least fairly simple to fix but no, we wanted modern cars; we demanded progress. We insisted on all the toys and all the connectivity. The latest thing. Does anyone remember that TV programme about the world of Information Technology? The internet is in fact a small rectangular metal box with a little light flashing on top. It is a fragile thing. What do we do when the machine stops? What happens to your car when you break down now eh? The only people who know how to fix them have become very wealthy, like plumbers.
At least you can cover your pert posterior with a used car warranty. They cost from around £15pcm. Worth a thought? Geoff Maxted
For more information on the reliability of your vehicle, visit: www.reliabilityindex.com,