Young drivers putting brakes on car maintenance

Young driver - IAM RoadSmart

According to recent studies, over 75% of drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 have put off important car inspections in an effort to save money.

In addition, data commissioned by IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s premier independent road safety organization, reveals that nearly a third (28%) of younger drivers have postponed their yearly car service and 30% have postponed changing their oil as they confront the problem caused by rising living expenses.

Important tire inspections have also been postponed; according to a survey of younger drivers, 30% of them have admitted to delaying changing low-tread tires and 28% of them have admitted to postponing puncture repairs.

But difficult decisions about car maintenance aren’t simply being made by younger drivers. According to the statistics, 15% of drivers across all age groups claimed that the increase in living expenses has forced them to put off their yearly auto maintenance, and 11% had stopped paying for tyre replacements that are required.

Which of the following repairs/improvements have you put off/delayed making to your car as a result of the cost-of-living crisis?
Total Total (all ages) 18-34
Service 15% 28%
Tyre change, eg replacing a tyre with low tread 11% 28%
Tyre repair, eg fixing a puncture 7% 22%
Oil change 9% 30%
None of these 61% 21%

“This research demonstrates that drivers are already faced with challenging decisions regarding what they can and cannot afford, potentially having an adverse effect on the environment, their own safety, and the safety of other road users.” stated Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart’s Director of Policy and Research.

“Maintenance isn’t just for show; it serves a purpose and can identify a number of problems that, if overlooked, could endanger driver safety.

“It also guarantees that the engine in your car is operating as efficiently as possible, thus neglecting servicing recommendations may end up costing you more in the long term in repairs or higher fuel usage.

Similarly, tire health plays a critical role in vehicle and road safety. The fact that drivers are regrettably delaying these necessary maintenance is concerning because tires with insufficient tread depth have less traction on the road and may even be against the law.

“There is no denying that drivers are having financial difficulties due to rising living expenses, but we implore them to think about the safety risks associated with putting off necessary repairs, particularly those that might be required by law and could result in higher expenses in the future—or worse, endanger their lives or the lives of other road users. Making important behavioral adjustments, like driving more sensibly to use less gasoline, can help save expenses without sacrificing safety.

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