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Breakdown - don’t be left shivering about town!

26th November 2010 Print

With weather forecasters predicting that the current cold snap may last for some time, new research from The Co-operative Insurance highlights the prevalence of breakdowns and the most common motor maintenance mystifiers.

The research highlights that whilst on average just under half the driving population have experienced a breakdown in their vehicle, an unlucky 1 in 100 have broken down over 10 times.

However with over half of the motoring population unaware of how to check the brakes are working (59%) or change a tyre (49%), and a third unsure of how to check the tyre pressure (35%), these breakdown figures are perhaps not so surprising.

Top ten motor maintenance mystifiers -  % of motorists unaware of how to do this
1. Check the brake fluid 68%
2. Change a fuse 66%
3. Check coolant level 62%
4. Check brakes are working 59%
5. Change a windscreen wiper 55%
6. Change a tyre 49%
7. Check the tyre tread depth 49%
8. Check the tyre pressure 35%
9. Test oil levels 29%
10. Top up windscreen washers 27%

And worryingly when looking in more detail the findings also demonstrate that a quarter of drivers don't know how to do basic activities, such as top up windscreen washers (27%), or open the car bonnet (24%).

Grant Mitchell, Head of Motor Insurance at The Co-operative says: "Breaking down can be a stressful event for motorists and with the current cold snap; motorists would be advised to check that they have adequate breakdown cover."  

The research also shows that despite the fact that almost 50% of people have had a breakdown in their current vehicle, worryingly almost a quarter of people (22%) don't have any breakdown cover, instead relying on good Samaritans to help them out, and risking hefty towing charges.

The Co-operative Insurance is reminding motorists of the importance of breakdown cover and is cutting a third of the price of its comprehensive breakdown cover for customers who take out a motor insurance policy comprehensive breakdown cover before the end of January*. This includes many benefits such as no excesses on claims, and an average response time of 38 minutes from the initial callout.

According to the data, the most common cause of breakdowns are flat tyres (16%), flat batteries (12%) and electrical faults (10%).