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.

May 092011
  • Some drivers face £7,239 costs

Repair BillsOne in three British motorists will share a £1.6bn unwanted repair bill this year, with some facing bills as high as £7,239, according to new data.

Analysis by Warranty Direct, the UK’s largest direct consumer warranty provider, shows that a third of the 16m DVLA-registered three to10-year old cars will suffer some degree of mechanical failure over the next 12 months.

The average cost of fixing problems stands at £335, with the most common faults being electrical gremlins.

Data held on Warranty Direct’s Reliabilityindex.com, the only resource to look at the cost, inconvenience and rate of failure of thousands of different models, shows that the two-seater Mercedes Benz SL (02-) has the highest average repair bill of £742.10, with the Mazda 3 (04-09) small hatchback also making the top 10 at £655.24.

Highest average repair costs by model




Average Repair Cost



(02   – )




(04   – 09)




(00   – 07)




(00   – 07)




(01   – 08)




(03   – )




(03   – )




(99   – 06)




(04   – )




(03   – )



The largest garage bill handled by Warranty Direct was for a luxury BMW 7 Series. The upshot of its piston and cylinder head damage was a staggering bill of £7,239 for parts and labour.

But big bills are not limited to prestige or expensive cars.

One owner of a 1.3-litre Vauxhall Corsa (06) received a bill of £4,975 when it encountered catastrophic engine failure, requiring a complete rebuild.

Highest individual claims seen by Warranty Direct




Largest Claim


7 Series

(01   – 08)




(03   – )



3 Series

(98   – 06)




(02   – )



A4 Convertible

(01   – 05)




(99   – 03)




(02   – )




(00   – 06)



3 Series

(05   – )




(98   – 05)



According to Warranty Direct, which studied more than 50,000 policies, one in three vehicles will develop a mechanical failure during any 12-month period. However, the figure varies dramatically depending on the make and model. For example, the frequency of failure on a Honda Civic is 8 per cent compared to 61 per cent for a Renault Grand Scenic.

Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct said: “It’s part and parcel of car ownership that, at some stage, something will go wrong. Even on the most reliable of cars, things still break sometimes.

“The worst part is the unknown – failure could happen at any time and, unfortunately, as we’re all driving evermore complex vehicles, the cost of repair is reflected.”

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 for a quote on cover www.warrantydirect.co.uk.

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.

Oct 012007

RenaultDrivers of 04 and 54 plates beware. Almost half of cars leaving the comfort zone of their 3-year manufacturer warranties will suffer some kind of mechanical failure in the next 12 months, according to new research by independent specialist, Warranty Direct.

As September’s batch of new regiatration vehicles hits the UK’s roads, Warranty Direct’s data shows that 46.9%, or around 1.03 million cars*, entering their fourth year will break down during the next year.

The worst offenders on average from 10 of the UK’s most popular car manufacturers studied by Warranty Direct were Renault and Audi, with more than 68% of cars from the French and German giants breaking down in their fourth year.  Prestige marque Mercedes also fared badly, with well over half (57.1%) of its models likely to develop a fault in their fourth year.

“It’s a well-worn joke that items at home, like washing machines, fail the minute they leave the manufacturer guarantee period,” says Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warrnty Direct.  “Clearly, the same is true of our cars if this data is anything to go by.

“The only difference here is that, instead of suffering a problem with an electrical item worth a couple of hundred pounds, you’re facing big repair bills on a product worth many thousands more than a washing machine.”

Warranty Direct analysed the most common faults to occur across the 10 manufacturers, and found that air conditioning units, ignition and fuel systems are the first things motorists can expect to fail once the peace of mind offered by their manufacturer guarantee expires.

Table showing in which year components are most likely to fail


Fuel system 4
Ignition   system 4
Air   conditioning 5
Steering 6
Cooling   system 8
Engine 9
Axle &   Suspension 10
Transmission 10
Braking   system 10


Table showing at what age cars develop the most failures


Mercedes 4
Peugeot 6
Audi 7
Vauxhall 7
Renault 8
Ford 8
Toyota 10
Honda 10
Volkswagen 10


For example, if you have a four-year old Vauxhall, there’s almost a 1 in 7 chance that its engine will suffer a mechanical failure before it gets to its next MoT, necessitating an average £520 payout for repairs.

Owners of relatively new prestige models shouldn’t think they’re safe either – four-year-old cars built by Audi and Mercedes showed a similar chance of developing problems with their fuel system – 13.7% and 13.9% respectively.

On average, the chances of a Ford developing brake failure more than doubles from 4% to 8.6% when it increases in age from four to six years.  Ford air conditioning units are also twice as likely to break down once the vehicle moves into its fifth year.  These failures cause average repair bills of £155 and £330 respectively.

Although Audi owners may have an uneventful first three years of their car’s life, once it reaches four years old the chances of developing axle or suspension failure almost doubles, from 12.9% to 25.6%. By the time it reaches seven years old, there is a 51.4% chance of failure – almost four times the average of the 10 manufacturers examined by Warranty Direct.

At the other end of the scale, only 1 in 10 four-year-old Hondas or Toyotas develop a major problem of any kind, almost four times less than the average. Honda powerplants also stood out, with an incredible 19 out of 20 engines lasting until they were 10 years old.

Overall, 44% of the cars analysed by Warranty Direct suffered some kind of mechanical problem at some point once outside manufacturer cover.

Audi came bottom in Warranty Direct’s list, with 7 in 10 of the German cars suffering some kind of failure within 12 months of leaving its manufacturer guarantee.  Typically trustworthy, Japanese cars had less problems than most between the age of 3 and 10 years, with Honda and Toyota topping the pile.


Table showing chances of a mechanical failure in any given 12-month period for cars aged between 3 and 10


Honda 22%
Toyota 22.3%
BMW 39.9%
Peugeot 39.1%
Volkswagen 39.1%
Mercedes 40.5%
Vauxhall 42.7%
Ford 47%
Renault 67.3%
Audi 70.2%


Andy Bothwell or Paul Rayner at Performance PR on Tel: 0208 541 3434 Email: andyb@performancepr.com

* Calculation based on conservative estimate of 2.2 million new cars sold each year

Warranty Direct analysed 20,500 vehicles, with an average age of 4 years, 5 months for this survey. All data taken from policies and claims dated between 2001 and 2007 for cars aged between 4 years and 10 years old.