Millions of drivers are risking their safety and wallet by putting off essential work on their car, with some resorting to homemade fixes to keep themselves mobile.
Almost one in five drivers has admitted to driving a car with a known fault, with a quarter (23 per cent) having driven with faulty brakes and more than 10 per cent taking to the road with blown or faulty lights, according to data from Halfords Autocentres.
The study also found that one in five drivers had resorted to DIY repairs because they couldn’t afford to have work carried out professionally, with average bill reported to be more than £1,800.
Driveway bodgers used everything from string and gaffer tape to stockings and newspaper to keep their car ticking over until they could afford proper repairs.
The study also found that motorists left problems an average of 10 months before getting them addressed.
Thirteen per cent of drivers questioned classed their issues as “very serious”, while 22 per cent said they were “somewhat serious”. Bodywork, exhaust, brakes and electrics were the most common sources of problems, with suspension and steering also being regular issues.
The safety implications of driving with faulty brakes or suspension are clear and as the days grow shorter having working lights becomes vital. But as well as the safety risks, driving a car in an unsafe condition can carry a significant fine.
Under Section 40A of the Road Traffic Act you can be fined up to £2,500 for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition and be given three penalty points. You can even risk disqualification if you’ve been convicted of a similar offence in the previous three years.
If you’re caught with faulty tyres that can rise even further, with a punishment of £2,500 and three points for each tyre.
Bob Masters from Halfords Autocentres, who commissioned the detailed study of 2,000 motorists said: “Our research reveals that the average cost of repair work on a car is over £1,800.
“There’s no doubt that the rising cost of living is squeezing household budgets, forcing people to make difficult choices on how they spend their money, but motorists who avoid repairing safety critical items such as brakes, steering and suspension could be putting themselves and others in danger.”