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Tightfisted Brits missing out on millions

Press release   •   May 15, 2006 00:01 BST

Cutting corners on car maintenance and repairs could cost British motorists almost £50 million in failed MOT bills each year.

Cutting corners on car maintenance and repairs could cost British motorists almost £50 million1 in failed MOT bills each year.

New research from RAC Auto Windscreens reveals that motorists’ reluctance to pay for minor repairs is to blame for 540,0002 MOT failures each year.

Unwilling to shell out, motorists are scrimping on a number of minor maintenance and repair jobs which can cause a car to fail its MOT, including:

  • 51% who don’t fix the horn
  • 38% who haven’t repaired a chipped windscreen
  • A third (32%) wouldn’t replace the fuel filler cap

Some ‘scrooges’ are even prepared to ignore major faults to save a bit of cash. Shockingly one in ten (10%) wouldn’t pay to repair the exhaust before an MOT test and more than one in seven (14%) wouldn’t see fixing the steering wheel as a priority.

Poor motoring knowledge also plays a part. As well as 0 economy by not undertaking minor repairs, Brits’ ignorance of MOT testing criteria means large numbers pay for the annual MOT test unaware that their vehicle is likely to fail:

  • 70% are unaware they can fail for having a two tone horn
  • Nearly half (45%) have no idea they can fail for a loose fuel cap
  • 33% are clueless to the fact that a chipped windscreen will fail3

Minor repair procedures are quick and cost very little. For example, repairing cracked and chipped windscreens early means most motorists need not worry about insurance excess costs4 or time spent off the road, incurred with a full windscreen replacement.

MOT mishaps are hitting private motorists hard but companies are also bearing the cost of drivers’ carelessness. 42% of people questioned in the study – equivalent to 11 million motorists – drive as part of their job. Cars required to take a retest can expect to be off the road for at least 24 hours, equivalent to 88 million hours of lost productivity each year.

Adam Cracknell, spokesperson for RAC Auto Windscreens comments: “The cost of motoring is steadily growing so it’s understandable road users are trying to save where possible. Unfortunately, their efforts seem to have backfired. Being careful with money shouldn’t stop motorists from paying for relatively minor repair costs such as badly chipped windscreens and jammed doors. If dealt with early on, these items needn’t cost a lot and will certainly save a lot of headache and more money in the long run.”

RAC Auto Windscreens has put together the following MOT advice for motorists:

  • A new car must be entered for its MOT after 3 years. After this point, drivers must ensure an MOT test is undertaken each year
  • MOT tests should only be undertaken at an authorised garage. Those authorised by the Vehicle Inspectorate to carry out the test can be identified by their blue tree triangles logo
  • The test station should make a manual available to motorists upon request. This will help to anticipate any possible problems before taking a car to be tested
  • The test is more exhaustive than people might think. Be aware that requirements include fully operating windscreen wipers, a working horn and a bonnet that closes securely and safely
  • Visit your nearest RAC Auto Windscreens fitting centre for a free pre-MOT check if you have any damage to your windscreen

To arrange an appointment at your nearest fitting centre call 0800 919 700 or for more information on RAC Auto Windscreens visitwww.rac.co.uk/windscreens

- Ends -

RAC Press office contact

Jasmine Agbulos or Chris Lauwerys at Lexis PR on 020 7908 6421 or
020 7908 6465

Adam Cracknell at RAC Press Office on 01603 684916 or 07800 699517

Notes to editors

1 Figure calculated using VOSA data for MOT test failures for 2004/2005 (6million), of which 9% were listed by type of defect as ‘other’ (i.e. not due to major faults with brakes, steering, tyres, diesel emission etc). This figure (540,000) was multiplied by £88.30 which reflects having to take a second MOT test for those that fail the first.

2 According to VOSA data, 9% of MOT failures were listed as ‘other’ (i.e. not brakes, steering, lights, tyres or petrol emissions)

3 A chipped windscreen counts as a failure if the damage is not contained within 10mm circle in the ‘A zone’, (an area of the windscreen approximately 290mm wide and centred on the steering wheel) or damage not contained within a 40mm diameter circle in wiper sweep area on the windscreen. A vehicle may fail its MOT if the inspector deems the damage anywhere on the windscreen to be dangerous in any way.

4 The cost of windscreen repairs varies regionally. RAC Auto Windscreens repairs can cost as little as £25 compared with up to £55 at local garages. Motorists with fully comprehensive insurance policies won’t pay anything for repairs such as these provided the cost is less than the excess - typically around £60

*ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1000 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 21-23 April 2006. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.co.uk

About RAC Auto Windscreens

RAC Auto Windscreens provides a wholly owned and operated complete automotive glazing repair and replacement service (windscreens, rear windows and side windows) through the largest fitting centre network in the UK.

It is the only replacement windscreen specialist with its own manufacturing operation, producing 250,000 windscreens a year in a dedicated factory in Chesterfield.

Backed by a fleet of 1000 fully equipped mobile fitting units, RAC Auto Windscreens provides a 1 24/7 national service for more than 750,000 private and corporate customers every year.

About RAC

With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organizations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists’ needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 14 per cent.

Notes to Editors

For all media enquiries, please contact the RAC press team on +44 (0)1454 664 123. The line is manned by an on-call press officer outside office hours. ISDN radio studio facilities are available for interviews Monday to Friday.

About the RAC

First formed in 1897, the RAC has been looking after the needs of its members and championing the interests of drivers for more than 120 years.

Today it has more than eight million members and is one of the UK’s most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistanceinsurancebuying a used carvehicle inspections and checkslegal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – the RAC offers a solution for all motoring needs. The RAC is committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.

The RAC is the motorist’s champion and campaigns to support the interests of its members and UK drivers at a national level. This includes voicing concerns about the increasing cost of motoring, particularly the price of fuel and the high level of tax levied on it, advancing levels of road safety, and supporting the needs of all drivers, from young to old.

The RAC’s annual Report on Motoring – first published in 1989 – is one of a kind and provides a clear insight into the concerns and issues facing today’s motorists.

For the very latest news on UK fuel prices, check RAC Fuel Watch. It provides a comprehensive guide to the latest UK unleaded petrol and diesel prices – both at the wholesale level and at the pump - and tracks these prices daily to help drivers check if the price they pay to fill up is a fair one.