More than a third of young drivers are putting off repairs to their vehicles as a result of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, according to new research. An RAC study of more than 3,000 motorists found 37 percent of drivers aged 17 to 24 are putting off “necessary” repairs to their vehicles due to the costs involved.

According to the research, nearly a fifth (16 percent) of young people say they are delaying “major” repairs to their cars, including works such as fixing a handbrake or cracked windscreen. Similarly, a massive 28 percent say they are putting off minor repairs, such as fixing oil leaks or replacing brake discs.

What’s more, young drivers are more than twice as likely as the average driver to say they have deliberately delayed getting any repair work completed, with 37 percent of younger drivers admitting to delaying work, compared with 14 percent of drivers overall. Those who drive cars over 10 years of age (19 percent) and who live in town or city centre areas (25 percent) are also significantly more likely to put off vehicle repairs.

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Intriguingly, drivers of all ages said they were more likely to skip repairs in a bid to save money, rather than reducing how often they get their vehicles serviced or switch to a cheaper insurer. Just one in every 10 drivers say they are servicing their vehicles less frequently and 13 percent say they have got a cheaper insurance policy, compared to 14 percent who have put off repairs.

Drivers are least likely to reduce their level of breakdown cover in the face of rising prices, with just three percent saying they have done this. That said, younger drivers aged 17 to 24 proved more likely to say they have cut costs in that area, with six percent admitting to reducing their breakdown cover levels.

Mechanic working under car at repair garage

“Without question, putting off vehicle repairs or skipping routine servicing are both false economies, but these figures show in all-too-stark terms just how many drivers, especially younger ones, feel they have to do this to lower their spending in the face of rising prices,” said RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis. “The fact over a third of young drivers are deliberately delaying getting their vehicles fixed to cut costs is actually a harbinger of future unwelcome – and possibly far larger – garage bills. What’s more, not getting work to a car done means the chances of it letting a driver down shoots up, making it potentially less safe.

“And as the average age of cars on our roads is getting older due to fewer people trading up to new cars, it looks as though many of them will also be in a poorer overall state of repair which is bad news for everyone using the roads. Given this, we sincerely hope the government permanently shelves its unpopular idea to change the compulsory MOT from once a year to every two years. After all, the MOT is the backstop when it comes to ensuring all vehicles using the roads are roadworthy.”