Tightfisted Brits missing out on millions

Article date: 15 May 2006

Cutting corners on car maintenance and repairscould cost British motorists almost £50 million1 infailed MOT bills each year.

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

Unwilling to shell out, motorists arescrimping on a number of minor maintenance and repair jobs whichcan 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 preparedto ignore major faults to save a bit of cash. Shockingly one in ten(10%) wouldn’t pay to repair the exhaust before an MOT testand more than one in seven (14%) wouldn’t see fixing thesteering wheel as a priority.

Poor motoring knowledge also plays a part. Aswell as false economy by not undertaking minor repairs,Brits’ ignorance of MOT testing criteria means large numberspay for the annual MOT test unaware that their vehicle is likely tofail:

  • 70% are unaware they can fail for having a two tone horn
  • Nearly half (45%) have no idea they can fail for a loose fuelcap
  • 33% are clueless to the fact that a chipped windscreen willfail3

Minor repair procedures are quick and costvery little. For example, repairing cracked and chipped windscreensearly means most motorists need not worry about insurance excesscosts4 or time spent off the road, incurred with a fullwindscreen replacement.

MOT mishaps are hitting private motorists hardbut 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 theirjob. Cars required to take a retest can expect to be off the roadfor at least 24 hours, equivalent to 88 million hours of lostproductivity each year.

Adam Cracknell, spokesperson for RAC AutoWindscreens, comments: “The cost of motoring is steadilygrowing so it’s understandable road users are trying to savewhere possible. Unfortunately, their efforts seem to havebackfired. Being careful with money shouldn’t stop motoristsfrom paying for relatively minor repair costs such as badly chippedwindscreens and jammed doors. If dealt with early on, these itemsneedn’t cost a lot and will certainly save a lot of headacheand more money in the long run.”

RAC Auto Windscreens has put together thefollowing MOT advice for motorists:

  • A new car must be entered for its MOT after 3 years. After thispoint, 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 thetest can be identified by their blue tree triangles logo
  • The test station should make a manual available to motoristsupon request. This will help to anticipate any possible problemsbefore taking a car to be tested
  • The test is more exhaustive than people might think. Be awarethat requirements include fully operating windscreen wipers, aworking horn and a bonnet that closes securely and safely
  • Visit your nearest RAC Auto Windscreens fitting centre for afree pre-MOT check if you have any damage to your windscreen

To arrange an appointment at your nearest fitting centre call0800 919 700 or for more information on RAC Auto Windscreens visitwww.rac.co.uk/windscreens


RAC Press office contact
Jasmine Agbulosor Chris Lauwerys at Lexis PR on 0207 908 6421 or 0207 9086465
Adam Cracknell at RAC Press Office on 01603 684916 or 07800699517

Notes to editors

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

2 According to VOSA data, 9% of MOT failures werelisted as ‘other’ (ie not brakes, steering, lights,tyres or petrol emissions)

3A chipped windscreen counts as a failure if thedamage is not contained within 10mm circle in the ‘Azone’, (an area of the windscreen approximately 290mm wideand centred on the steering wheel) or damage not contained within a40mm diameter circle in wiper sweep area on the windscreen. Avehicle may fail its MOT if the inspector deems the damage anywhereon 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 comparedwith up to £55 at local garages. Motorists with fully comprehensiveinsurance policies won’t pay anything for repairs such asthese provided the cost is less than the excess - typically around£60

*ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1000 adults aged18+ by telephone between 21-23 April 2006. Interviews wereconducted across the country and the results have been weighted tothe profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British PollingCouncil and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.co.uk

About RAC Auto Windscreens

  • RAC Auto Windscreens provides a wholly owned and operatedcomplete automotive glazing repair and replacement service(windscreens, rear windows and side windows) through the largestfitting centre network in the UK.
  • It is the only replacement windscreen specialist with its ownmanufacturing operation, producing 250,000 windscreens a year in adedicated factory in Chesterfield.
  • Backed by a fleet of 1000 fully equipped mobile fitting units,RAC Auto Windscreens provides a true 24/7 national service formore than 750,000 private and corporate customers every year.

About RAC

  • With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's mostprogressive motoring organizations, providing services for bothprivate and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance,windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicleinspections and checks, legal and financial services orup-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able tomeet motorists’ needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC AutoWindscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.
  • Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings togetherRAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise andleading 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 ofaround 14 per cent.

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