Young drivers risking safety by skipping maintenance

12.00 | 8 January 2013 | | 1 comment

Many younger drivers are failing to have their car serviced and maintained correctly, according to new research carried out by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

In a poll of 2,000 motorists, 10% of those aged 18-24 said their vehicle is never serviced; this figure rose to 12% among 25-34 year-olds. By contrast, the number of over-55s claiming never to service their car is just 2%, and 5% for those aged 35-54 year olds.

The research highlights the danger to which some motorists are exposing themselves, with tyres and brakes among the many safety-critical items left unchecked.

The survey also highlights that most young drivers are oblivious to the benefits of upgrades to vehicle software. 57% of 18-24 year-olds were unaware that software upgrades from the manufacturer can help maximise safety, efficiency, security, and comfort.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: “Most drivers are aware of the benefits of regular servicing, but a significant number are putting themselves at greater risk of an accident, breakdown or costly repair by not taking their car to a dealership for servicing.

“A properly maintained car is not only more fuel-efficient, but will be safer and more reliable. Putting off service and repair work is a false economy with risks and costs outweighing short-term gains.”

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    It has been stated – e.g. Honest John in the Telegraph – that motor manufacturers lobby authorities – for us the EU – for more and more stringent regulation to (a) ramp up the cost of servicing (b) demand ever-more expensive specialised equipment that only their marque-specific dealerships can justify and (c) drive independent garages out of business.

    It is ironic that when that great bugbear rust that used to limit the life of cars has largely been eliminated (why so long?), service life is getting shorter again, due to these costs. Still – just like the deeply cynical scrappage scheme – it helps sell more new cars, I suppose.

    In earlier times older cars gravitated to independent garages and their lower hourly rates – that this is increasingly difficult and expensive, is surely one reason it those with limited budgets don’t bother.

    How long before this results in more crashes than the regulations prevent?

    Idris Francis Petersfield
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