Revealed: The UK’s growing number of DIY motorists

Gareth Herincx

1 day ago
Auto News

eBay helping DIY drivers

More than a third of drivers would rather fix minor car issues themselves than pay for a professional to do it, new research suggests.

According to eBay UK’s study, saving money is a key reason for savvy motorists taking on smaller repair jobs.

Worryingly, one-in-10 claimed they don’t think MOT advisories are a big deal, and nearly a quarter (22%) admitted to delaying repairs for as long as possible.

Also, 34% of motorists delayed getting MOT advisories fixed last year due to rising living costs, with another 33% stating that they were unable to afford the repairs.

The research also revealed that the most common MOT failure issues were inoperative lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment (23%), followed closely by suspension (18%), brake issues (14%) and defective tyres (13%) – many of which could be easily avoided.

Hannah Gordon, eBay UK’s expert mechanic, said: “The car is an essential part of many people’s lives, so being without it due to an MOT fail plays into the dread that many people feel around the annual test.

“Often, minor faults such as frayed windscreen wipers can be easily replaced, and by searching on eBay UK you can save time and money by sourcing and fitting the parts yourself.”

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Cost-of-living crisis: Motorists delay buying safer tyres

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

Worn tyre

Motorists have been warned about the risk of driving with worn tyres as new eBay research reveals that more than one in 10 have put off buying new tyres, with most blaming the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Nearly 40% will only buy new tyres if they fail an MOT, while 11% will hold out until the following year’s test if they receive an advisory.

As well as delaying the purchasing of new tyres, eBay’s study also found that 11% were not confident when checking the tread on their tyres, while 10% stated that they have no clue about the recommended tyre pressures for their vehicle.

These findings come as 18% of drivers revealed plans to embark on long journeys (more than 100 miles) during the Christmas break, when weather conditions are typically poor.

Hannah Gordon, eBay expert and mechanic, said: “As a mechanic, I’ve witnessed first-hand the reluctance of drivers to address tyre damage promptly.

“People are often put off by cost, and understandably, they think if they pass an MOT they’re fine, which isn’t always the case.

“Braking distance and overall handling, especially in winter weather, can be seriously impacted by tyre health and tread depth.”

The research comes as eBay relaunches its tyre purchasing and fitment service. The one-stop shop allows buyers to order tyres before then choosing a local fitment centre, where the tyres will be sent and fitted at the owner’s chosen date and time.

eBay’s relaunched programme allows customers to choose from more than 250,000 tyre listings and over 3,000 installers across the UK, meaning eBay UK is now home to the UK’s largest tyre fitment network. It has now more than doubled the number of garages working in its UK tyre fitment network.

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Top reasons for cars failing MOTs

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

MOT testing station

Lamps, reflectors and indicators continue to be the most frequent reasons for vehicles fail their MOTs, according to DVSA data analysed by the RAC.

However, brakes and tyres overwhelmingly that are more likely to cause the most “dangerous” MOT failures.

Failures for non-working headlights, indicators and reflectors accounted for just over a quarter (25.5%) of all MOT failures in the 12 months to March 2022, while faulty or broken suspensions represented just under a fifth (18.3%) of all failures.

Bald, worn and damaged tyres - © Gareth Herincx

Problems with brakes (17%) and tyres (12%) were the third and fourth biggest reasons for an MOT failure, with bad visibility – most likely cracks on windscreens – rounding up the top five, representing just 8.7% of all MOT failures.

While a third of all initial MOT tests of cars, vans and small passenger vehicles – the equivalent to 7.3m vehicles – resulted in a fail and mean drivers need to fork out for remedial repair work, nearly one-in-10 tests – 8%, equivalent to 2.4m vehicles – worryingly result in a fail where at least one dangerous defect had been found.

In these most serious cases, where an examiner states a vehicle cannot be driven until that defect is repaired, brakes and tyres represent 88% of all such failures, emphasising just how critical it is for drivers to carry out routine checks on these items.

Although the biggest causes of MOT failures have remained consistent over many years, the proportion of tyre failures has increased slightly from 10% in 2018-19 to 12% in 2021-22.

All cars require MOTs three years after first registration and annually thereafter. With drivers paying up to £54.80 for a car MOT test (class 4 vehicle) costs can soon mount up if work and parts are required, particularly if a vehicle has not been serviced regularly.

“Many drivers dread taking their vehicle for its annual MOT for fear they could end up having to spend lots of money on repairs in order to get it to pass,” said RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes.

“This is no doubt the case for an unlucky third of owners whose vehicles fail their MOTs initially.”

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MOT testing station

Drivers have serious concerns about the Government’s plans to change the compulsory MOT from every year to every two years to reduce the cost of living.

According to an RAC survey of 1,435 motorists, an overwhelming majority (98%) believe it will lead to a rise in the number of unsafe vehicles on the road.

Additionally, a fifth (20%) thought it would lead to an increase in the number of collisions on the road. Almost two-thirds (61%) believe it would result in more vehicles breaking down.

More than half (55%) said they felt changing the MOT to every two years was a bad idea, just over a fifth (22%) said they thought it was a good idea while a similar proportion (23%) were unsure.

And, even though the Government’s proposal is meant as a way to ease financial pressures in the cost-of-living crisis, drivers are also not convinced about the possible money-saving benefits. 

More than half (58%) say the changes could end up costing drivers more in the long run due to problems or defects going undetected and becoming more costly to repair, while 44% believe it might cause garages to put prices up for other repairs to compensate for lost earnings from doing less MOT work.

Among the fifth of drivers who believe the changes would be a good idea, three-quarters (74%) say modern cars are more reliable and do not need annual checks, while more than half (54%) believe it will save them money. A confident 41% told the RAC that they check their car for basic roadworthiness and don’t need to pay for someone to do it officially on an annual basis.

A car requires an MOT three years after its first registration and thereafter on an annual basis. It currently costs a maximum fee of £54.80 for cars (class 4 vehicle), though many garages offer the test at a lower price. Prices vary depending on vehicle type.

Having been in place across the UK since 1960, the scope of the MOT has been expanded over the years to include additional checks, such as vehicle emissions which were added to the list of items required to be scrutinised in 2018.

It also underwent a major change in May 2018 with the move away from a simple pass or fail with advisories to a new five-category system. Failures were split into two classes: major and dangerous, while three pass categories were introduced: pass; pass with minor defects; and a pass with advisories.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “There is a real danger that if the Government proceeds with these proposals that we could see an increase in the number of collisions and more injuries and deaths due to more unroadworthy vehicles using our roads, and an overall reduction in road safety.

“We’ve written to the new Secretary of State for Transport and urged her to consign this idea to the bin and look at other ways to help cash-strapped drivers reduce their motoring costs.”

EVs are nearly 50% cheaper to run than petrol cars

Hyundai Kona Electric

Electric vehicles are nearly £1,000 cheaper to run than petrol cars over a year, according to new research from

The figures show the average cost to run an EV for 12 months is £1,091 compared with £2,062 for a conventional car – a difference of £971.

The running costs for petrol cars are substantially higher as drivers of these vehicles pay an average of £640 for car insurance and £1,212 for the fuel each year.

Owners of petrol vehicles also typically need to spend at least £155 per year on road tax, while EVs are exempt.

Average running costs for 12 months

Vehicle Type Insurance Fuel MOT Road Tax Total
Electric £583 £454 £55 £0 £1,091
Petrol £640 £1,212 £55 £155 £2,062
Difference -£57 -£759 £0 -£155 -£971

The annual cost of driving an electric car has fallen by £77 in the most recent six months (May 21 – Dec 20), compared with the previous six months (Jun 20 – Nov 20).

This decline is due to a £54 drop in the cost of insurance for electric vehicles and a £23 dip in energy costs.

Electric car drivers can further reduce their running costs if they switch to the cheapest premium available. This typically costs £489, which means motorists could save £93 by shopping around for a better deal.

Electric car charging bay

Despite the substantially cheaper running costs, the up-front price of electric vehicles is a sticking point for many drivers considering making the switch from petrol.

A second-hand electric car is typically worth £22,813, based on the average value of electric vehicles from insurance renewal data.

This suggests it would take more than 20 years for the lower running costs to cover the purchase of an electric vehicle. However, motorists may be able to cover some of the purchase price by trading in their existing vehicle.

“The popularity of electric cars continues to accelerate as these vehicles now make up around one in ten new car sales,” said Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance,

“Motorists who’ve made the switch will be glad to see our figures show electric vehicles cost roughly half as much to run as their petrol alternatives.

“These drivers benefit from substantial savings in fuel bills, insurance and tax – as well as doing their part for the environment.

“Electric car owners could save even more on running costs if they shop around for the cheapest deal when their insurance premium comes up for renewal.

“These drivers may also want to think about switching to a new Electric Vehicle Tariff for their home energy. EV Tariffs are designed to help motorists cut their energy bills by making it cheaper to charge electric cars overnight.”