Close to half of UK motorists have delayed servicing their cars or performing essential maintenance during 2020, a new survey has found.

Some 48% of drivers have delayed repairs or services for their vehicles due to falling average mileages and the MOT extension introduced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A survey of 2,004 drivers aged between 18-65 conducted by Money.co.uk found that just under a third of drivers said that their car was currently displaying a warning light, or that they were driving it fully aware that it had mechanical issues.

However, it was tyres which were the most commonly ignored area, with 68% of respondents admitting that they hadn’t checked their tyres since the beginning of the year. Of those that did check them, more than a quarter said that they knew that their tyres needed replacing but hadn’t done so because of the cost of new ones.

Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert for Money.co.uk warned: “Between remote working and local travel restrictions, right now many of us are using our vehicles less than ever before.

“With most regular drivers making smaller, more infrequent journeys, it’s easy to see why some might be tempted to put off repairs and maintenance, especially particularly expensive work. However, doing so could have serious consequences to the safety of your journey, and even invalidate your insurance.”

The average UK mileage has dropped by more than half to an estimated average of just 3,500 miles a year – down from 8,000 in 2019. The study shows that, as a result of this change, drivers were less likely to pay attention to mechanical issues with their vehicles.

Other maintenance areas likely to be ignored included interim services, oil changes and unrecognised warning lights.

Some 40% of drivers blamed how little they were using their cars for not checking any mechanical issues, alongside tighter finances and delayed MOTs.

Haqqi added: “Most insurance policies will require you to keep your car in a roadworthy state, which includes ensuring your tyres and lights meet the minimum legal requirements.

“This means if you were to have an accident and it was found that you didn’t do so, you could risk your insurance being invalidated, leaving you to foot the bill. This is in addition to legal implications which could see you fined and receive penalty points which could impact your ability to get insurance in the future.”

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