Warranty Direct investigate
Warranty Direct has conducted a study that reveals that do- it -yourself repairs on cars is fast becoming a long lost art due to our cars becoming ‘computers on wheels’. Duncan McClure Fisher, Warranty Direct’s managing directors said “the days of changing oil, filters and replacing light bulbs on the driveway are fast becoming a thing of the past in some cases, they already are.” Unable to carry out these tasks themselves, car owners are paying millions of pounds a year to garages to do the work for them, with average labour costs now reaching £96 an hour and some charging as much as £200.
The well known cars such as the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta are now built so complicated and high tech that it would take a professional mechanic to change a headlamp ninety-six minutes on the Clio and approximately half an hour on the Fiesta. Even to change the car’s engine oil and filter is pushing on to forty minutes. With parts and labour these are bills we could do without.
Mr McClure Fisher pointed out that back in 1994 it took ten minutes to change the headlamp on an Audi A4 and the bulb would have cost £6.12, now in 2013 the equivalent model would not only need the bulb replacing but the whole light cluster would cost three times as much and nearly an hour in labour time. Garel Rhys, President of the Society for Automotive Research at Cardiff University said “the rot started with sealed beam systems which means you can’t even change a headlamp.”
Roadside rescue company the AA conducted a survey last year that showed seven drivers out of 10 did not know how to check the engine’s oil level, while one driver in ten did not even know how to open the car bonnet. They also revealed that nine percent of their members had put off the most simple tasks such as replacing blown bulbs or wiper blades, while more than one in four drivers do not carry out the most basic checks such as oil, water and tyres.
In the defence of modern cars a spokesman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said the trend reflected the greater reliability of modern cars. “It demonstrates that things have become so advanced. You have gone from a very basic piece of machinery to something which is very sophisticated, you might not be able to change the fan belt yourself, but the upside is you are less likely to have done so in the first place.”
DIY maintenance does not stop at cars, most of modern high tech equipment and appliances are beyond DIY repairs. Most washing machines and tumble dryers can’t be tinkered with anymore and put back into use. Normally it works out cheaper to buy a new appliance than have to call out a professional and pay for parts and labor.