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Safety fears as lockdown sees millions delay car servicing

Georgia Petrie

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Georgia Petrie

Car in garage being fixed by mechanic
  • Millions of potentially unsafe cars could be returning to the nation’s roads this month
  • One in five drivers say they have delayed servicing their car due to the pandemic and lockdowns
  • Postponing the vital safety checks — which most manufacturers recommend take place on an annual basis — could affect as many as 7.3 million vehicles, analysis shows

One in five drivers have delayed their annual car service because of the pandemic and lockdowns, a new heycar survey suggests.

The news comes as millions of drivers are preparing to return to the road, as the nation prepares for the latest lifting of lockdown restrictions due on 17 May.

The lifting of restrictions will allow people to meet indoors for the first time this year — and is likely to prompt a surge in people taking to the roads to reunite with friends and family.

Postponing the vital safety checks — which most manufacturers recommend take place on an annual basis — could affect as many as 7.3 million vehicles, when our survey data is applied to the 32.7 million motorists in the UK.

The study of 2558 motorists has found that one in five (22%) have delayed or skipped their car's annual service. A further one in ten drivers (12%) are preparing to delay their vehicle’s next scheduled service.

For those who delayed their car’s service over the past twelve months, almost half (46%) cited lack of use as the primary factor — while 13% said it was as a result of having to shield.


Mechanic holding spanner

How often do you check your car's oil level?

Our survey also quizzed motorists on how often they carried out inspections on the car’s oil levels and tyre condition. Over half (56%) said they did both once a month.

One in five (20%) said they checked their tyres once a week, while a worrying 2.5% say they never did it.

A similar one in five (20%) said they inspected oil levels every three months, with one in ten (8%) revealing they never checked them.

Driver checking oil

"There could be as many as 7.3 million vehicles on the roads that have not had a service in over a year"

Dan Powell, Senior Editor at heycar, says: “The latest lifting of lockdown restrictions is eagerly awaited by the entire nation.

“The prospect of meeting friends and families indoors for the first time this year will see millions of us jumping in our cars to visit our loved ones.

“But our analysis has highlighted a significant concern - that there could be as many as 7.3 million vehicles on the roads that have not had a service in over a year.

“Servicing a vehicle is critical to keeping it running well and reducing the risk of road accidents, and we would urge all drivers to ensure their vehicles are in optimum working order before they hit the roads this summer.

“And for those who are planning to buy in the coming months - by being able to provide full service and MOT histories alongside warranties the nation’s dealerships can offer welcome reassurance to customers that their new purchase can be trusted.” 

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