AS THE credit crunch sends planned car buying to its lowest point in two years, analysts at AA Warranty say that by keeping their existing vehicles longer motorists are leaving themselves vulnerable to driving without any warranty protection, which could be a costly mistake.
A new survey by AA Personal Loans found the number of people intending to buy a car in the next 12 months has fallen from 25 per cent a year ago to 20 per cent now. Furthermore, those planning to make a purchase will spend less on their car, the survey of 2,000 people showed.
With the current financial climate and escalating fuel prices increasingly dictating car buying trends, AA Warranty forecasts that more motorists will be driving vehicles aged three years and over. At this point, most cars cease to be covered by a standard manufacturer warranty, leaving the vehicle owner to pay for unscheduled repair bills.
Simon Tennyson, managing director of AA Warranty, said: ‘If motorists are choosing to keep their existing vehicles for longer they should think about how they will pay for unscheduled repair costs – especially if they are going through financially challenging times.
‘Whilst some makes and models are generally more reliable than others, the probability of components failing increases as a car gets older. So the objective of saving money by keeping a car or buying an older used one can easily be defeated if an engine or cylinder head gasket fails, for example.’
According to the automotive division at Experian, vehicles less than three years old suffered the highest loss of sales in quarter three of 2007 – an eight per cent drop compared to the same time in 2006. This is the biggest drop in sales for younger cars during quarter three since 2000.
AA Warranty offers comprehensive cover for mechanical and electrical breakdown, lasting up to three years, with warranties that can begin when the manufacturer’s warranty expires. A range of options are available for cars, motorcycles, vans and caravans.