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Drivers sacrificing car maintenance


By James O'Brien

Motorists are putting themselves and others in danger by trying to penny pinch rather than fix simple vehicle faults in time for winter, according to a poll by Suzuki and Brake.

While 23 per cent of drivers heard strange noises coming from their cars last winter, 19 per cent of these people have ignored them in a bid to save money.

It emerged in the survey that MOT test failures went up from 33.5 per cent in 2005, to 40.1 per cent by 2009-10.

A risky decision

A Brake spokesperson warned drivers that getting behind the wheel of a car knowing it has illegal faults or defects, particularly in winter months, can be a risky and expensive decision.

New figures show in excess of 6,217 crashes on UK roads in 2012 were a result of snow or ice.

However, a large number of collisions are avoidable. Motorists should perform regular maintenance checks and talk to a mechanic as soon as they realise something is not right.

Another 23 per cent of the 2,000 UK drivers quizzed confessed to having a car fault that rendered it illegal or unsafe in winter. These people could be hit with fines, points on their licence and pricey engine repairs.

'A false economy'

Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said: "This survey suggests some drivers are feeling the pinch, but sacrificing car maintenance is a false economy and could lead to tragedy.

"It's especially important for drivers to be vigilant at this time of year, by carrying out regular basic checks themselves, especially ensuring tyres, lights, wipers and washers are in good condition, and seeking advice from a mechanic about any concerns.

"Simple checks and fixes are often low-cost and a key part of your responsibility as a driver. Getting any problems on your vehicle fixed quickly can prevent bigger repair costs, not to mention bad weather breakdowns and even potentially catastrophic crashes."

Cracked windscreens and broken brake lights are common defects, but the main one is worn tyres, which can result in a car skidding and crashing on icy roads.

Despite the dangers of these problems, one in three of those surveyed admitted they would not get them fixed before the cold snap hits.

More than one in five drivers said it was not worth the financial expense.

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