Aug 182005

3rd world countryPoor road surfaces continue to account for nearly 1 in 6*1 vehicle failures as the shortfall in annual road maintenance funding hits the £1bn mark*2.

According to a study by independent automotive warranty firm, Warranty Direct, 17.1 percent of reported car failures for the first eight months of 2005 are the result of suspension and axle damage, linked to potholes. The average cost of repair, so far, stands at £276.07 – compared to £185.84 in 2000.

Warranty Direct has recorded a 42 percent increase in the number of claims it handles where the vehicle owner subsequently refers the cost to local authorities for compensation over the past 12 months.

The most recent survey by ALARM (Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance)*2 revealed increases in claims by road users against local authorities for damage to vehicles due to road structural conditions over the past 10 years of 60 percent in England (exc London), a staggering 187% in Wales and 43% in London. It also revealed a near £1bn shortfall in road maintenance funding for 2004, an increase of almost 50 percent.

Either continuous driving over cracked or uneven road surfaces, or the sudden jolting of a deep pothole, can cause damage to shock absorbers, springs, upper and lower arms and stabiliser bars.

Regionally, Anglia recorded the largest share of all claims attributable to a road defect for one region. At 28.35 percent, it was up by more than half compared to 2004. More than 1 in 5 claims from motorists in the North East and Scotland were the result of poor road conditions.

Greater London crept above the national average to 17.74 percent of failures compared to 13.99 percent in 2004. The rise left the local authority with a £392,000 compensation bill.

Table showing percentage of all suspension and axle failures:

Pos   Region                  Percentage

1.      Anglia                           28.35

2.      Scotland                       21.43

3.      North East                    21.07

4.      Greater London           17.74

5.      East Midlands              16.52

6.      North West                  14.78

7.      South East                  13.60

8.      Wales                          12.56

9.      South West                 12.50

10.     West Midlands           12.47


Warranty Direct managing director Duncan McClure Fisher commented: “It is fast becoming a Catch 22 for the local authorities. Under funding, poor and potentially dangerous road surfaces, and a diversion of much needed finances to deal with the marked increase in compensation claims.

“Last year, our research highlighted the link between poor road conditions and a 47 percent rise in suspension failures over a five year period. Twelve months on, the problem remains and there are no signs that matters will improve in the short-term,” McClure Fisher added.

In 2004, local authorities in England paid out more than £810,000*2 in compensation. Records for Wales show a similar sum of £790,000*2.

Vehicle reliability data is available on

Based on data gathered from millions of pounds worth of claims handled every year by leading independent automotive warranty supplier, Warranty Direct, the Reliability Index provides the car buyer with a valuable insight into the good, bad and ugly of the motoring community.

Visitors to the website are able to examine a host of data including the average cost of repair and length of time it should spend in the garage.

Importantly it also plots the chances of your chosen model suffering from engine meltdown, transmission hiccups, air-conditioning failure and axle or suspension trouble.

Aug 032005

MG RoverMG Rover customers who bought their car on a Visa Debit Card are being urged to write to the Financial Ombudsman in an effort to claw back the cost of their warranty.

Traditionally, consumers are able to claim the cost of the defaulted goods or services from the bank via a policy called “Charge Back”. Under the scheme, the customer need only inform the bank and the money for the unused portion of the product is refunded. The bank then reclaims the money from the retailer with which the transaction was made.

However, the cost of a three-year manufacturer backed warranty is rolled into the overall cost of the new car, and therefore not billed as a separate cost of service. As a result, banks are currently refusing to settle such claims.

Independent automotive warranty provider, Warranty Direct (, strongly believes that despite this, customers have a strong case for a right of reply under the “Charge Back” rules.

“Although it is not a separate entity of the purchase price, the cost of a warranty is an easily quantifiable figure and so we see no reason why the consumer is being denied this right of reply,” explained Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct.

Using insurance industry guidelines, Warranty Direct calculates that the cost of policies underwritten by MG Rover at 5 percent of the value of the purchase price. So for a £15,000 car, the warranty can be valued at £750.

Warranty Direct is urging customers who purchased using their Visa Debit Card and have been unable to exact their rights under Charge Back rules to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Call 0845 080 1800 or visit

Warranty Direct offers a 20 percent discount on all MG Rover vehicles under-3 years old.

Aug 032005

American FlagMore than 10,000 Yank-mobiles, like the iconic Mustang and the Dodge Ram, are finding their way into Britain every year, according to new research by Warranty Direct, the UK’s leading independent automotive warranty supplier.

The popularity of MTV’s “Pimp my Ride”, a strong exchange rate*1 and a simplification of the import process has fuelled the market for big American cars to unprecedented levels over the past few years.

Under current law an imported car must simply pass a standard MOT test and be appropriately modified for British roads. This is normally nothing more than ensuring lights and mirrors are set up for left hand traffic, and that the speedo includes a miles per hour display. Cars less than ten years old are also required to pass a Single Vehicle Approval inspection of the car’s design and construction*2.

In response to this growing sector, and the fact that such vehicles arrive without any valid manufacturer supported warranty, Warranty Direct has launched its USA Platinum cover package.

At £1,500 for a full three years protection, Platinum provides comprehensive cover against the cost of parts and labour for most mechanical and electrical, faults and breakdowns. USA Platinum is only available on brand new vehicles.

Those wanting the latest in American motoring need look no further than Ford and Dodge pick-up trucks, where rugged good looks and unparalleled luxury have combined to make them the most imported vehicles of recent years.  Alternatively the ever-popular Mustang, which houses all the brute strength Ford can muster under a truly evocative shell, is a must-have for all serious petrol-heads.

Those looking for something more unique could consider the inimitable Hummer H2.  Although some would argue the car is unsuitable for narrow British roads, there is no question that the H2 strikes the perfect balance between American comfort and capability.

For more information on Warranty Direct’s Platinum cover for brand new American imports, call on Freephone 0800 731 7001.