Oct 052005

52 plateNearly half a million* motorists have moved out of the comfort zone of manufacturer protection during the past month, leaving themselves vulnerable to unforeseen repair costs.

Data from independent automotive warranty specialist, Warranty Direct, suggests that 2 in every 5 ’52-plate’ owners will suffer some degree of mechanical failure over the next twelve months.

Although some manufacturer’s like Hyundai offer extended five-year warranty protection, the majority will only provide cover for the first 36-months of a cars life.

With recent research uncovering the cost of labour rising to an average of £65 – but as high as £150 – an hour, the typical repair bill for a 3-year old car now hits £308.25, escalating into the thousands for any major mechanical failures.

The commonest problems recorded in the months after their manufacturer’s warranty has expired relate to the suspension (34%), braking system (22%), electrics (22%), and engine (19%). All can result in an expensive visit to the garage.Mechan

For example, an Audi A3 with rear axle complaints set the owner back £777 to repair, a Peugeot 307 with electrical faults left another facing a £761 bill and a Renault Megane Scenic owner grappling with a faulty gearbox had to pay £744 to fix it.

As an illustration of how the parts vs labour is broken down in the final bill, a failed engine management ECU on a Mercedes A Class can cost £262 in parts but up to £617 in labour to repair.

“Mechanical failure is not as rare as some may think,” explains Duncan McClure-Fisher of Warranty Direct. “Consumers rarely factor the cost of repair bills. Manufacturer’s provide a cushion for the first three years, after that you’re either relying on the protection of a good warranty or hope that you’ve bought a reliable car. The biggest winner is the garage.”

Warranty Direct offers MBI (Mechanical Breakdown Cover) from as little as £15 per month with no wear and tear exclusion and the ability to have your own choice of garage. Call 0800 731 7001 or log on to www.warrantydirect.co.uk for a quote.