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Motorists left cash-strapped by COVID-19 skipped 12.5 million car services

A technician at a work on a car

Car services have been skipped by around 12.5 million UK motorists left cash-strapped by COVID-19, according to research compiled by BookMyGarage.

The results of a survey conducted by the aftersales booking platform last month found that a third of UK motorists (32%) had put off getting their car serviced because of financial difficulties resulting from the pandemic.

A similar proportion (29%) said that they had delayed servicing procedures simply because their car had covered far fewer miles during lockdown.

BookMyGarage said that, while more than half (56%) used the Government’s MOT exemption to delay the legally required DVSA certification, the number of drivers who have also put off servicing equated to around 12.5 million cars across the UK’s total of 38.2 million registered vehicles.

Jessica Potts, BookMyGarage’s head of marketing, said: “The figures we’ve seen coming through our network of 9,000 franchise and independent garages suggests that the pandemic and lockdown has definitely had an adverse effect on the health of our cars.

“It’s understandable that motorists have wanted to save money during the pandemic, as many have unfortunately lost their jobs, earned less because of the furlough scheme or taken pay cuts.

“But it’s important that motorists get their cars up to scratch now that Britain’s car parc is moving again.”

Many car retailers spoken to by AM in recent weeks have highlighted the ongoing demand for aftersales – alongside used car sales – as a key area of business underpinning their recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown period.

That demand looks set to continue, with GiPA also highlighting last month the volume of MOT tests set to reach test centres between now and the end of 2020 following the DVSA’s lifting of the MOT ‘holiday’.

BookMyGarage said that its research indicated that the amount of additional repair work required by cars booked in for an MOT in July had almost doubled from 25% to 48% over the same period last year, prompting concern over the health of vehicles on the road.

Nearly eight-in-10 drivers said they would normally get their car serviced annually even though more than 60% said they had been adversely impacted either financially or personally by the pandemic.

Despite nearly half (47%) claiming that they were concerned about the safety of their vehicle, fewer than four-in-10 (38%) were comfortable doing maintenance work on their car themselves.

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