Nearly half of UK motorists surveyed have put off servicing their cars or carrying out essential maintenance during 2020, according to car breakdown service RAC.
Some 48% of drivers have spent less time looking after their vehicle as plummeting car usage and MOT extensions left their mark on the year.
In the poll of more than 2,000 motorists aged between 18 to 65, just under a third admitted that their car was currently displaying a warning light, or that they were driving it fully aware that it had mechanical issues.
This lack of attention to car maintenance could even be putting lives at risk; tyres were the most ignored area, with 68% of respondents admitting that they hadn’t checked their tyres since the beginning of the year.
Of those that did check them, more than a quarter said that they knew that their tyres needed replacing but hadn’t done so because of the cost of new ones.
The average mileage for a car has dropped by more than half in the UK – vehicles are expected to cover just 3,500 miles in 2020, down from 8,000 in 2019.
It’s no surprise then, that 40% of drivers blamed how little they were using their cars for not checking mechanical issues – other reasons given included tighter finances and delayed MOTs.
Oil changes and dashboard warning lights were also likely to be ignored.
Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert for Money.co.uk warned: “With most regular drivers making smaller, more infrequent journeys, it’s easy to see why some might be tempted to put off repairs and maintenance, especially particularly expensive work. However, doing so could have serious consequences to the safety of your journey, and even invalidate your insurance.”
Although maintenance has become less important to motorists, it seems cars still have a major role to play in 2020, especially in the midst of a second lockdown.
The RAC’s annual Report on Motoring found that 57% of drivers say having access to a car is more important than it was before the coronavirus pandemic.
Of the 3,000 drivers surveyed, 68% say a car is essential for carrying items like shopping, up from 54% last year. A further 59% of drivers say the car is essential for meeting up with friends and family who live elsewhere in the country, significantly up from 45% in 2019.
The increased dependency on cars comes as confidence in public transport has plummeted to an 18-year low.