Fifth of young drivers stall when it comes to taking their cars for repairs

20 September 2018

  • Two fifths of young drivers worry about the cost of repairs
  • Young drivers in Northern Ireland most likely to suffer from repair nerves
  • Co-op urging young drivers to not let nerves risk safety

New research from Co-op Insurance has found that a fifth (21%) of young drivers are fearful of taking their cars to the garage for repair.

Co-op Insurance is encouraging young drivers to let go of nerves when visiting their local mechanic, as its latest research reveals that young drivers often worry about dealing with mechanics, which could be putting them off taking their car for an MOT or service.

The study shows that the most concerning element for 17-25 year olds is the price they will be quoted for repairs, with over two fifths (43%) stating this as a worry, whilst 20% usually ask a parent to accompany them.

repair nerves

Co-op Insurance is calling for young drivers to boost their confidence when dealing with mechanics, by understanding new MOT rules and knowing their rights, to ensure both drivers and their vehicles are safe on the roads.

Other worries when dealing with car mechanics are:
- Not understanding what the mechanic is saying (19%)
- Feeling intimidated (17%)
- Feeling stupid (14%)

Despite journeying into adulthood, over a tenth (12%) of young drivers admit to relying on parents to dealing with all car-repair related matters.

Furthermore, there is a marked difference between young male and female drivers’ attitudes towards car mechanics, with women having more worries than men before driving onto the garage forecourt.

Gender split

This comes as the new MOT grading system is reportedly confusing drivers, with the introduction of the new system that came into effect in May this year. New categories now describe faults as ‘minor’, ‘major’, or ‘dangerous’. For problems falling under the major and dangerous categories, vehicles will automatically fail, deemed not suitable for driving on the road.

However, confusion is arising around the difference in repairs for major and dangerous defects. If a car is found to have a major defect, the driver can still choose to drive their vehicle to another garage to be fixed.

If the car has a dangerous fault, it is illegal for a motorist to drive the car – risking penalty points and a fine if caught on the road.

In light of this, although two thirds (65%) of young drivers consider an MOT very important, two fifths (37%) say that they would put off an MOT because they worry about the cost of repairs their car would need.

Nick Ansley, Head of Motor Insurance at Co-op says:

“We’re encouraging young drivers to understand their rights, get to know the MOT rules, and take time to learn some simple steps to feel more equipped when dealing with car mechanics. Having a successful experience at the garage with a trustworthy mechanic can be the difference between having a roadworthy car and not – it’s so important for motorists and their safety on the road.

“The majority of mechanics are completely trustworthy, so young drivers are worrying unnecessarily. However we’ve put together some confidence boosting tips to help drivers, of any age, when they visit the garage.”

Top tips for a successful experience with your mechanic:

  • Make sure you have your MOT before the day it runs out, this means you have options to take it elsewhere if you get a better quote at a different garage
  • Ensure that you check VAT is included on any quotes you are given so there aren’t any surprises when it comes to paying the bill
  • Although major faults result in a vehicle failing its MOT, this categorisation does not mean that you cannot shop around to get the repairs completed. It is within the law to drive your car on the road to another garage, should you need to (and your previous MOT has not expired). Some garages have reportedly been forcing drivers to carry out their repairs on major faults immediately, claiming that it is illegal to drive the car on the road.
  • If your car fails with a dangerous fault, you are not able to drive the vehicle on the road. If you do, it will result in a fine up to £2,500 and points on your license. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t shop around for repairs. If you find a better deal at a different garage, it is possible for the garage to move your car by towing it
  • Don’t ignore warning lights and other indications that something isn’t right. Waiting until your MOT is due to fix these can result in a costly surprise. The best way to ensure the health of your car and its roadworthiness is to address mechanical problems as they arise. This is also a good opportunity to test out different garages and find a trustworthy mechanic before your MOT is due

Notes to editors

¹Research was conducted among 2000 UK motorists on behalf of Co-op Insurance with Atomik Research

Media Contact

Hannah Charlton
Press Officer

About Co-op Insurance:

Co-op Insurance is part of Co-op Group, one of the world’s largest consumer co-ops, owned by millions of members. Alongside Co-op Insurance, we have the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the UK’s number one funeral services provider, and a developing legal services business.

As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes