Cost-of-living crisis: Motorists are holding on to older cars for longer

Home / Auto News / Cost-of-living crisis: Motorists are holding on to older cars for longer

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

Older cars

The financial squeeze has resulted in a reprieve for cars over 10 years old, a new research suggests.

A survey of 2,000 UK drivers with older cars revealed more than half (57%) will keep their car for longer due to worries about the current economic situation.

However, running an ageing car has, in some cases, caused some motorists financial anguish, with 10% claiming some repair bills have run into the thousands.

Nearly one in 10 aren’t sure how much their older car has set them back, while 21% reckon they’ve spent more on repairs in any given year than they think their entire car is actually worth.

“It’s important when budgeting for a new car to consider maintenance costs, which will be required throughout its life,” said Mark Carpenter, CEO at nearly new vehicle retailer Motorpoint, which commissioned the study.

“In the current climate, many motorists will look to weigh up the pros of hanging on to an older car, which they may own outright, with financing a newer one that may meet their needs for additional space, lower emissions, improved economy, and safety equipment.”

The research also found that almost a third (31%) have had a bill of £400 or more in the past year for an unanticipated but essential maintenance item, while 10% have had a single bill of £1,000 or more.

For people who do foresee a change on their driveway, 57% will go for something pre-owned but newer than their current one.

Lower running costs (24%), improved reliability (13%) and just wanting a change (7%) were the top reasons people would consider switching their older car.

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Young drivers putting off car repairs in bid to save money

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

Car maintenance

More than a third of drivers aged 17 to 24 (37%) are putting off necessary repairs to their vehicles in an attempt to cut their outgoings as the cost-of-living crisis bites< according to new research.

The 2022 RAC Report on Motoring also found nearly a fifth of young people (16%) say they are delaying getting major repairs made – which might include work such as replacing a handbrake or cracked windscreen.

However, a huge 28% are putting off other repairs, which include fixing minor oil leaks or replacing brake discs.

What’s more, young drivers are more than twice as likely (37%) as average (14%) to say they have deliberately delayed getting any repair work completed, with those who drive cars over 10 years of age (19%) and who live in town or city centre areas (25%) also significantly more likely to put work off.

Perhaps surprisingly, drivers of all ages are more inclined to skip repairs in a bid to save money than they are to either reduce how often they get their vehicles serviced or switch to a cheaper insurer.

Just one-in-10 of all drivers (9%) say they are servicing their vehicles less frequently and 13% say they have got a cheaper insurance policy, compared to 14% who have put off getting repairs done.

“Without question, putting off vehicle repairs or skipping routine servicing are both false economies, but these figures show in all-too-stark terms just how many drivers, especially younger ones, feel they have to do this to lower their spending in the face of rising prices,” said RAC spokesman Rod Dennis.

“The fact over a third of young drivers are deliberately delaying getting their vehicles fixed to cut costs is actually a harbinger of future unwelcome – and possibly far larger – garage bills.

“What’s more, not getting work to a car done means the chances of it letting a driver down shoots up, making it potentially less safe.

“And as the average age of cars on our roads is getting older due to fewer people trading up to new cars, it looks as though many of them will also be in a poorer overall state of repair which is bad news for everyone using the roads.”

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Young drivers putting brakes on car maintenance

Young driver - IAM RoadSmart

New research claims that more than three-quarters of motorists aged 18-34 have delayed key vehicle checks to save money.

As drivers battle the cost of living crisis, data commissioned by the UK’s leading independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, also shows almost a third (28%) of younger drivers have held off their annual car service and 30% have put off changing their oil.

Key tyre checks have also been put on hold, with 30% of younger drivers surveyed also admitting putting off fixing a puncture, and 28% delaying changing tyres with low tread.

But it’s not just younger drivers who are making tough choices on car upkeep. The data also found that 15% of all drivers, of all ages, said their annual car service is on the backburner thanks to the rise in living costs, with 11% avoiding paying out for necessary tyre changes.

Which of the following repairs/improvements have you put off/delayed making to your car as a result of the cost-of-living crisis?
Total Total (all ages) 18-34
Service 15% 28%
Tyre change, eg replacing a tyre with low tread 11% 28%
Tyre repair, eg fixing a puncture 7% 22%
Oil change 9% 30%
None of these 61% 21%

“This study shows that drivers are already making difficult choices about what they can and cannot afford, which could negatively impact the environment, their safety and the safety of other road users.” said Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart.

“Servicing doesn’t just look good in a log book, it’s there for a reason, and can pick up a range of issues which could present safety risks to drivers, if not spotted.

“It also ensures that your car’s engine is running as efficiently as possible, so ignoring servicing guidelines could cost you more in the long run in repairs or increased fuel consumption.

“Likewise, tyre health has a hugely important role to play in car and road safety. Tyres with low-tread depth have less road grip, and might be illegal, so it is of concern that motorists are sadly having to put off these vital repairs.

“There is no doubt that as living costs rise, motorists are feeling the squeeze, but we urge drivers to consider the safety implications of avoiding vital repairs, especially any which may be a legal requirement and could lead to more expensive costs down the line – or worse, risking their lives or other road users. Key behaviour changes, such as driving more economically to reduce fuel consumption, can be a way to cut costs without cutting safety.”

School runs are smiles cheaper for EV drivers

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

Citroen e-C4 - school run

Families owning electric vehicles can complete up to two full weeks of school runs on a single charge, according to new research by Citroen UK.

Ahead of schools returning in September, 2,000 parents were surveyed and the average school run is 10.4 miles (5.2 miles each way).

With a WLTP-certified range of 219 miles, parents driving a Citroen e-C4 EV can complete up to 20 school runs on a single charge, saving more than £26 in the process.

When charged overnight using a 7.4kW home wallbox on an EV electricity tariff, a single charge for e-C4 Electric can cost as little as £3.75, while on a standard tariff the same charge will cost £14.

Using a comparable petrol-powered C4 would cost £30.12 to cover the same distance, meaning that parents could save up to £26.37 every two weeks.

The research also found that parents drive their children to school on average 3.5 times per week, with public transport, lifts from other parents, walking and cycling making up the rest of the trips.

Although the average school run was found to be a 10.4-mile round trip, 7% of the respondents reported having to cover more than 30 miles during the school run.

No vehicle idling sign

Citroen also asked whether vehicle emissions outside schools were a concern for parents. Unsurprisingly, 19% of parents said they were strongly concerned and 41% were somewhat concerned.

Previous research carried out in London found children are exposed to five times more air pollution on the school run than when they are in school.

“Doing the school run in an electric car not only reduces local air pollution but also helps families save on day-to-day running costs,” said Eurig Druce, Citroen UK’s Managing Director.

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Cost-of-living crisis: Fuel saving tips for motorists

Filling up with fuel - Bridgestone

Seven ways you can ease the pain at the pumps…

Whether you’re heading off on your summer holidays or coping with high fuel prices day-to-day basis, there’s no harm in trying to squeeze the maximum miles out of your tank of petrol or diesel.

We’ve teamed up with tyre giant Bridgestone to provide a series of fuel-saving tips to ease the pain at the pumps.

Bridgestone’s Technical Manager Gary Powell

By tweaking driving styles, Bridgestone’s Technical Manager Gary Powell believes that a typical tank can last longer, ensuring trips to the forecourt aren’t needed quite so urgently.

1. Make sure you purchase the best tyres for your vehicle

It’s important to invest in the right tyres for your vehicle while you may be tempted to go “budget” in the long-term this will cost you more money and be more expensive on your pocket in terms of fuel. Opting for a premium product can increase fuel-range. Bridgestone is one of the world’s largest tyre manufacturers and boast some of the best performing products in terms of low-rolling resistance.

2. Check your tyre pressures

It’s really important to make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure as indicated in your owner’s manual. Underinflated and overinflated tyres both adversely affect fuel economy. Not only that you are compromising your safety – when your tyres are under inflated it compromises your ability to brake and manoeuvre safely. Vehicles with under-inflated tyres have increased rolling resistance that require more fuel to maintain the vehicles speed. This is not good for your pocket and equates to higher Co2 emissions too, which is not good for the environment either.

3. Check your tyres

If your tyres are not inflated correctly or are wearing it is both unsafe but will also have an effect on your fuel consumption. Try the 20p tread test. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, so to check if your tyres are legal, insert a 20p coin into the tread to check. If any part of the coin’s border is visible, it’s time to change the tyres.

4. Easy on the accelerator

Excessive speed is the biggest fuel-guzzling factor so having a light right foot and ensuring all acceleration is gentle is very important to fuel-efficient driving. The best way to achieve high MPG (Miles per gallon) is to drive in the highest possible gear while keeping within the speed limit. The best advice in urban areas is to change up through the gears as quickly as you can with the lowest revs possible. The faster an engine spins, the more fuel it uses.

5. Anticipate

Anticipation is key. Try to anticipate what’s going to happen in front of you by looking well ahead. By doing this, you’ll see the traffic lights on red meaning you can ease back on the accelerator or slow down as you approach and potentially keep moving as opposed to coming to a stop. Keeping the car moving at the right speed is essential to fuel economy. Obviously, this depends on traffic conditions and what’s happening on the road ahead, but slowing down and having to accelerate again uses more fuel.

6. Cruise control

Cruise control only aids fuel economy when driving on a constant flat surface, hence why it is usually best reserved for motorway driving. One of the keys to saving fuel is driving at a constant speed, cruise control can do this effectively on flat surfaces, making your driving as fuel efficient as possible by negating unnecessary acceleration. However, if you were to use your cruise control regularly, not on flat roads, you would encounter problems that would increase your fuel consumption.

7. Lighten the load

Don’t pack things into your car that you won’t be needing once you arrive at your destination. Also, don’t leave your roof bars and roof box on because they create wind resistance and cause your car to use more fuel through the ‘drag’ effect. This is increased the faster you drive. Driving with an open window also has a similar effect. And while this isn’t going to make the biggest difference to your MPG figures, it stands to reason that the heavier a vehicle is, the more fuel it will use.