Mar 192014
 

ElectricsIncreasingly complex electronics are making cars more prone to expensive breakdowns, according to automotive specialist, Warranty Direct.

Electrical faults have increased by two thirds (66%) over the last five years, according to the firm’s unique Reliability Index.com and analysis of cars aged over three years. Electrical faults are the most common across all cars on Warranty Direct’s database of 50,000 policies, with almost a quarter (23%) needing a repair every year.

Meanwhile, the average cost of repairing failures caused by electrical gremlins has also increased by nearly a third (32%) over the same period, to £300*, but can rise as high as £2,804.

While relays and alternators are the most likely components to break, newer electronic innovations like parking sensors are typically amongst the many faults reported.

The 10 most reliable brands for electrics 

Position

Make

Avg   Mileage

Avg   Cost

1

Subaru

55,861.15

£450.67

2

Mitsubishi

51,563.56

£479.67

3

Daihatsu

36,766.75

£432.60

4

Suzuki

38,169.82

£243.90

5

Mazda

46,518.44

£411.38

6

Lexus

52,904.78

£411.25

7

Toyota

49,600.09

£376.35

8

Alfa Romeo

51,249.92

£373.60

9

Nissan

48,057.88

£378.08

10

Jeep

51,291.68

£453.87

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: “As automotive technology continues to advance, cars get more and more complex. Nowhere is that more so than in the field of computer technology and other electronics.

“But, while these advances can undoubtedly improve the performance and safety of cars, they also have a knock-on effect on how often they fail and how much it costs to repair them.

“Workshops now need advanced diagnostic tools to safely and effectively fix cars and, in some cases, it appears only franchised dealers can access some of the systems on newer cars, meaning that the customer is hit with a higher labour rate bill.”

Among the cars most likely to feature a failure are luxury and premium brands, like Porsche and Bentley, while Japanese brands Subaru, Mitsubishi and Daihatsu have the soundest electronics – only one in seven Subaru models suffer gremlins.

The 10 least reliable brands for electrics (worst to best)

Position

Make

Avg   Mileage

Avg   Cost

1

Renault

47,974.64

£264.33

2

Bentley

37,997.56

£670.24

3

Porsche

41,610.21

£757.24

4

Saab

56,296.36

£323.85

5

MG

38,091.87

£405.25

6

Audi

58,196.01

£511.75

7

Mercedes-Benz

54,059.16

£458.69

8

Citroën

47,864.96

£302.94

9

SEAT

51,195.47

£290.62

10

BMW

57,397.98

£432.89

Overall, Subaru electrics cost an average of £450.67 to fix. At the other end of the scale, Renault is the brand most likely to suffer a fault, with more models suffering a fault each year (38%) but a lower repair cost of £264.33. 

*Five year period studied 2008-2013; Exact average cost for 2013 = £291.50

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