On average, this repair costs £770 and tends to strike cars over three years old. According to the figures, head gasket failure – every used car buyer’s nightmare – can strike nearly six per cent of three- to 12-year-old vehicles.
Vehicles made by Proton, Saab and Fiat are the next most likely to suffer from the glitch.
Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: ‘Anybody familiar with buying a used car will know about head gaskets and how costly they can be to repair. I speak from bitter experience.
‘Some cars are almost immune to failures of this sort, while others are quite likely to blow. Bear in mind, too, that all the cars we cover are maintained according to manufacturer guidelines, so the problem could be even more prevalent on cars with patchy history and many former keepers.
‘Even though some of the poorest performing brands are now under new ownership or no longer exist in their former guise, there are thousands of these vehicles on the used market.’
At the other end of the scale, the Warranty Direct data shows that less than one in 500 vehicles made by Lexus will suffer a head gasket problem, and less than one in 1,000 Aston Martins are susceptible.