Oct 302015







As the dark nights draw in and Halloween approaches, Warranty Direct has used insights from its unique Reliability Index to conjure up a horrific ‘horror’ car that would give its owners nightmares all year round.

The vehicle, known as the Horrific H-0WL3R, is constructed from car components which statistically are the most prone to failure. As a result it breaks down every other month and regularly feasts on the contents of its owner’s bank account, costing an average of £487 to repair.

Warranty Direct analysed data from 50,000 live policies to create this Frankenstein’s monster of the automotive world, using failure rates to determine which parts should be bolted on to the ultimate horror vehicle.

The catastrophic components of the ‘Horrific H-0WL3R’

Make Year Car part
Mitsubishi Outlander 07- Engine
Mazda 5 05- Axle & suspension
Chevrolet Tacuma 05-11 Gearbox
Lexus GS 05- Electrics
Mazda MX-5 05- Braking system
Honda CR-V 07- Air-Conditioning
Chevrolet Tacuma 05-11 Steering System


Sitting on the Mazda 5’s axle and suspension system, the Horrific H-0WL3R would most likely spend much of its time coming to grief over Britain’s poor quality road surfaces, breaking in the process, as the suspension inflicts problems on almost three quarters of Mazda 5s.

Power comes from a motor torn from under the bonnet of a Mitsubishi Outlander. This engine will be to blame for almost half of the many failed starts that the Horrific H-0WL3R will experience, with some 48.3% blighted by such issues.

Once started, stopping the Horrific H-0WL3R could also make your heart skip a beat. Surprisingly, the Mazda MX-5 donates its braking system to the H-0WL3R. Although the car experiences most problems as infrequently as Halloween itself, in almost 50% of these instances, the issue is related to the brakes.

Adding to this engineering monstrosity is the Chevrolet Tacuma. For drivers of the Horrific H-0WL3R, turning corners and swapping cogs will most likely be an unpleasant experience thanks to a steering system and gearbox which have both been proven to plague 33% of Tacumas with reliability woes.

Passengers too will feel the car’s wrath but via its temperamental electrics and ventilation system. The complex electrics of a Lexus GS will cause regular headaches with a 67% failure rate, while the wheezing air conditioning system of a Honda CR-V is likely to bring unpredictable temperatures and a lamentable failure rate of 18.4%.

David Gerrans, Managing Director of Warranty Direct commented, “This Halloween vehicle is the culmination of motorists’ nightmares, guaranteeing inconvenient and expensive breakdowns if it was ever to be built.

“Thankfully it is fictional and can’t be found on the market, nonetheless, it does highlight the Achilles heel of different vehicles, some of which are generally reliable, but could cause a fright as a result of a rogue component.”

Jul 192011

renault meganeThe car most likely to suffer an electrical fault is the Renault Megane, with a staggering one in three sustaining a malfunction each year, according to Warranty Direct.

With cars increasingly packed full of technical wizadry, it’s perhaps unsurprising that electrical faults account for 27% of all car failures, up by about 17% on five years ago*.

Overall, nearly four in 10 cars go awry each year and electrical problems are among the most common causes of breakdown, with repair bills running as high as £2,500.

While the Megane is not necessarily known for its gadgetry, the French hatchback’s electrical gremlins contribute to an overall failure rate of 50 per cent, with the Peugeot 607 and BMW’s sporty Z4 close behind as the next most likely cars to ‘short circuit’.

The top 10, compiled by Warranty Direct using data from the 50,000 live policies that contribute to its www.Reliabilityindex.com website, indicate a potential Achilles’ Heel for European cars, which feature exclusively.

Top 10 cars to suffer electrical faults

Make, Model, Chance of failure

Renault Megane (02-09)34.66% Peugeot 607 (00-10)31.28% BMWZ4 (03-09)29.86% Renault Modus (04- )29.61% Audi A2 (00-06)29.02% Land Rover Range Rover (02- )28.75% Land Rover Discovery (04- )26.94% Audi A3 (03- )26.58% Smart Roadster (03- )25.67% Audi A4 Convertible (05-09)24.44%

Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct said: “Electrical faults are extremely common and the amount of computer technology we demand in our new cars today is to blame.

“We pay a huge number of claims to fix highly complex systems such as the electronic control units at the heart of modern cars.

“Often problematic to put right, owners can end up visiting expensive franchised dealers to fix faults.”

Just under a third of drivers who own the opulent Peugeot 607 pay for electrical glitches, possibly due to its well appointed cabin and relatively luxurious specification.

BMW’s Z4, with its clever electric folding roof, is third, followed by another Renault and a brace of Audis and Land Rovers. The quirky Smart Roadster and A4 Convertible complete the rundown with around a quarter incurring problems with their electrics.

According to Warranty Direct, nearly four in 10 vehicles will develop a mechanical failure during any 12-month period. However, the figure varies dramatically depending on the make and model.

Warranty Direct cover starts from as little as £15 a month. For more information on the reliability of your vehicle, visit www.reliabilityindex.com, or go to www.warrantydirect.co.uk for a quote.

Jun 232009

Labour ratesGiven the state of British roads, it’s hardly surprising that suspension parts dominate the top ten most common car faults, a new report suggests.

But what might set alarm bells ringing in the heads of the UK’s 30 million motorists is the fact that the majority of the top car part flops cause unavoidable bills that average £300 or more.

According to analysis of mechanical failures on 50,000 vehicles over the past two years by automotive insurance specialist, Warranty Direct (www.warrantydirect.co.uk) springs and shocks, upper and lower arms, hubs and wheel bearings regularly bring motorists to a standstill.

The cheapest of the top 10 parts to replace is the hub/wheel bearing, but even that starts at an average of £301.12.

“Even if you take good care of your car, you can’t avoid the effects of an average year’s motoring,” says Duncan McClure Fisher, of Warranty Direct. “Mileage, running over uneven or potholed road surfaces and general wear and tear all take their toll on moving parts.”

As the most common failure with 8.2 percent of all breakdowns, springs and shock absorbers come with an average repair bill of £322.82. Radiators deliver the most expensive faults of the top ten, at £497.84.

Alternators, electric window motors, injection system, drive shafts, ignitions and miscellaneous electrical faults make up the remainder of the top 10 faults.

Top Ten Most Common Failures / Ave. Cost of Repair / % of all failures

1.    Springs & Shocks                     £322.82           8.2%

2.    Ignition                                      £302.00           7.6%

3.    Upper & Lower Arms                £406.75           7%

4.    Electronic window motors        £346.75           4.7%

5.    Misc electronics (ecu wiring)    £364.04           3.5%

6.    Hubs & Wheel Bearings           £301.12           3.1%

7.    Injection system                        £361.75           3%

8.    Alternator                                  £322.62           2.9%

9.    Radiator                                    £497.84           2.8%

10.   Drive shaft                               £340.64           2.7%


One in three vehicles outside the manufacturer’s standard three-year warranty will suffer a mechanical failure this year. Of that number, ignition problems account for 8.2 percent, the alternator almost 3 percent and upper / lower suspension arms 7 percent.

Lurking just outside the top 10 failures are some much more expensive repair bills, with a new turbo or housing and casing likely to set you back an average of £823.80 or £1,285.53 respectively.

Warranty Direct was the first UK provider to discard the clause excluding failures caused by ‘wear and tear’. Cover starts from as little as £15 a month, visit www.warrantydirect.co.uk or call 0800 731 7001 for further information.

Jul 032008

car checksHaynes, renowned worldwide for its car manuals, is urging motorists to save money by checking their cars before an MOT test. Recently released figures from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) gained by the Institute of Advanced Motorists Trust, show that first-time MOT failure rates in the UK are higher than in other European countries. There was a 21.6 per cent MOT failure rate recorded in 2007, with more than 271,000 of those failures due to lighting faults – most of which can be cured without difficulty by someone with basic mechanical knowledge.

J Haynes, Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Haynes, said: “It takes very little time to check a car over before submitting it for an MOT test. Basic faults such as lights not working, worn wiper blades and insufficient tyre tread depth can easily be sorted out before the test. This is invariably cheaper than having your car fail the MOT test.”

Haynes manuals have a section detailing the checks you can do before your car’s MOT test. Haynes is the world’s leading publisher of automotive repair manuals and renowned for teaching millions of car owners how to carry out routine maintenance and repairs. Haynes publishes manuals for more than 500 cars and vans as well as useful glove box guides such as Your Car.

Below, we summarise some of the range of pre-MOT checks.

• From the driver’s seat, you can test the handbrake, footbrake, steering wheel and column for correct operation and excessive play.

• Still in the driver’s seat, check that the windscreen is free of cracks or damage.

• Now check that the door latches work and that all seat belts are in good condition and fasten properly.

• Moving to outside the car, check that the wiper blades are in good condition and that the lights and horn work.

• The wheels and tyres should be inspected thoroughly. Wheels should not be damaged and tyres must be free of cuts, tears, lumps or bulges. Check the tread depth – a minimum of 1.6mm over at least three-quarters of the tread width is the current legal requirement (though it’s best to fit new tyres well before the legal limit is reached).

• Finally, clean your car thoroughly inside and out and on the underside, if possible. The tester can refuse to examine a car which is filthy underneath.

Haynes manuals are available for 80 per cent of cars over three years old on UK roads. They contain many tips for saving fuel and show motorists how they can save money on garage bills by doing simple servicing and maintenance tasks themselves.

Haynes Manuals retail at £18.99 (hardback) – less than half a tank of fuel. They are available from www.haynes.co.uk or from all good automotive accessory retailers and bookshops including Halfords and Motor World.

Feb 012005

Free MOT TestBritish motorists could be forking out up to six times more than they have to on spare car parts according to new research from independent warranty provider, Warranty Direct

Researchers compared the cost of new parts on a selection of four-year-old vehicles from the UK’s top ten selling manufacturers. Prices were gathered from franchised dealers, independent garages and high street motor accessory retailers on six common parts: starter motor, air-con compressor, wheel bearing, alternator, shock absorber and radiator.

By shopping around, motorists could save over £395 (169 percent) on an air-con compressor for a Mercedes E-Class if bought over the counter instead of at franchised dealer. In another case, a replacement wheel bearing for a Honda CRV cost 517 percent more from the dealer than the £21.88 charge from a motor accessory retailer.

The service and repair industry is worth over £10 billion annually.

Table Illustrating Frequency Of Failure According To Warranty Direct

Model Part Franchised   Dealer Independent   Garage Retailer Price   Difference
Honda   CRV Wheel   Bearing £135.13 £116.33 £21.88 517%
Vauxhall   Astra Wheel   Bearing £145.70 £111.63 £25.26 476%
VW   Golf Air   Con £528.75 £450.31 £169.42 212%
Mercedes   E Class Air   Con £630.00 £432.13 £234.04 169%
Peugeot   306 Shock   Absorber £79.43 £56.40 £21.88 263%
Ford   Focus Starter   Motor £191.58 £129.25 £91.85 108%
Citroen   Xantia Radiator £258.50 £107.00 £113.01 128%
Toyota   Previa Shock   Absorber £68.29 £80.82 £16.94 303%

The four-year-old cars analysed by Warranty Direct engineers would no longer be covered by the manufacturer’s traditional three-year aftersales warranty. “For anyone who has owned a car from new, this is the point when you really start paying for everything that goes wrong, and realise that it pays hugely to shop around,” advises Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct.

Motor accessory retailers proved to be the cheapest source for more than 8 out of 10 parts with an average saving of 65 percent. Franchised dealers and independent garages were equally cheapest in 9 percent of cases respectively.

Alarmingly, the gap between the cheapest and most expensive source was more than double for nearly half of the parts compared.

McClure Fisher adds: “Although there are still some dramatic disparities, some franchised dealers have started to recognise the need to slash prices on older vehicles in order to retain custom so it’s worth trying to haggle with them.” For example, franchised VW dealers were cheaper than independent garages on 5 out of the 6 parts analysed, yet Mercedes could only compete on one.