Electrical gremlins are the faults most likely to provide motorists with an unwanted repair bill just as their car exits the standard three-year manufacturer’s warranty period, according to Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index.
While some car makers offer longer new car warranties, sometimes of up to seven years, most still offer the typical three years’ worth of cover.
Just over a quarter of cars suffer an electrical breakdown in their fourth year on the road, but axle and suspension faults have the sharpest increase between a car’s third and fourth year, jumping up nearly 4% to just over one in five (22%).
Engine failures are the third most likely thing to go wrong as a car comes out of the protective umbrella offered by a three-year manufacturer warranty, with 17% suffering a fault.
Over the last five years, air con and electrical faults are the failures that have consistently increased as soon as a car enters its fourth year.
Data analysed from the 30,000 Warranty Direct policies that were live in 2015 showed that electrical and engine faults are actually more likely in a three-year old car. But the repair bill for an engine failure on a four-year old car is considerably more expensive, at an average of £740.76 as opposed to £692.26 on a three-year old vehicle.
Gearbox faults are the most expensive to fix on a four-year old car, with an average repair bill of £896.22, more than a hundred pounds more than on a three-year old car.
The cost of fixing steering system woes also jumps between a car’s third and fourth years, again by more than £100, to an average of £532.37.
Overall, the average repair cost for a four-year old car is £480.74.