Are cars destined to breakdown after the warranty ends?

14th August 2013

UK motorists are well versed in their cars breaking down and finding that they have just passed their warranty.

Some believe it's just down to bad luck, while others with a more sceptical outlook on life believe that manufacturers create vehicles and their components knowing that they will eventually breakdown and need replacing.

This has long been a theory among motorists and while there may be no truth to it at all, a new survey conducted by Warranty Direct has revealed that over half of vehicles breakdown just after the their warranty cover reduces or runs out.

The firm noted that half of the used cars on the UK's roads breakdown as soon as they hit the 60,000 – 70,000 mileage mark, which is the point at which most manufacturer warranty cover dips.

Of course, some manufacturers have introduced a range of longer warranties in recent years in a bid to prevent motorists being hit with high costs of repairs, some are still lagging behind the competition and owners are being hit in the pocket.

Getting a regular comprehensive vehicle maintenance service can help to spot issues before they cause a breakdown. Carrying out one of these every 12,000 miles or so will ensure problems are fixed under the warranty, rather than waiting for them to become major issues after the cover has dipped or ended.

The Warranty Direct study indicated that the average cost to repair vehicles in the 60 – 70k miles bracket is £420, which means that in some cases the money spent on cars by owners is much higher, running into the thousands of pounds.

Axle and suspension issues were found to be the main failures in these cars, responsible for around a quarter of breakdowns, with electrical faults taking the second spot, recording 19.6 per cent of failures.

Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct, said: "Even with the much-improved reliability of modern cars, mileage will take its toll on any vehicle and parts will naturally wear out. You shouldn’t expect a new car to break down in its first three years but there is a reason that manufacturers, for the most part, limit their warranties to three years/60,000 miles and our research highlights that reason."

He went on to explain that the manufacturers that now offer five or seven-year warranties for their models will include small print that means the level of cover drops once a certain age of mileage is reached.

The survey found that Chrysler owners pay the largest bills when their vehicle gives up the cost, shelling out an average of £516 to get their car back on the road, which is more than the £419 average across all manufacturers. Fiat was found to be the cheapest to fix, costing drivers an average of £247 per repair.

Toyota models take the most time to fix, while Fiat models are the quickest, which may be the reason they are the cheapest to repair.