Life Motoring

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Survey raises concern over shortage of money to look after our cars

Eddie Cunningham Motoring Editor

Published 14/05/2014 | 02:30

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Tight finances are causing us to neglect the upkeep of our cars. Photo: Getty Images.
Tight finances are causing us to neglect the upkeep of our cars. Photo: Getty Images.

A SHORTAGE of money means we are cutting back on maintaining our cars – a dangerous development at a time when the average age of a vehicle is fast approaching 10 years.

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That is one of the more disturbing findings to emerge from a survey, published this week, into how people are coping with less money in their pockets when it comes to motoring.

Bluntly, it found that they have cut back on maintenance. And that is a real cause for concern because they could be compromising the safety of their vehicles and their families.

The key element of this study, conducted for Bridgestone Ireland and First Stop, is that people are not, or are unable to, provide for their motoring expenses each month.

It found that as many as 58pc are not in a position to do so.

Two-thirds (63pc) of those struggling to make ends meet, failed to have their car serviced on time.

One-in-five of all motorists put off a service while nearly as many (18pc) didn't get theirs checked out at all in the past year.

With an ageing car population, these are significant indicators of risks being taken.

Colm Conyngham of First Stop seems to have pinpointed the problem when he says that even those who do budget every month for their motoring outlays are doing so only with the cost of fuel, insurance and tax in mind.

Mr Conyngham adds: "But this means if something does go wrong and they need an urgent car service or to have the tyres changed, they haven't provided for that financially."

There are other worrying findings. For example, the survey discovered that a large number (68pc) only check their tyres once a quarter. And one-in-five (20pc) do so only every six months.

It is a long time to leave something so important unchecked.

It also found that two-in-five motorists are using their cars less than they were six years ago. That, they say, is because of increased fuel and maintenance costs.

Of these, nearly two-thirds (60pc) are switching more and more to public transport while just under a third are walking more.

Nearly three-quarters believe costs have gone up in the past year.

More than half (52pc) said they found it difficult to meet some of their motoring expenses in that time.

* When asked for their favourite passenger on a long car journey, 32pc chose their partner, 21pc their family while 10pc would prefer to be alone.

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