Half of motorists don’t check their car before taking it on holiday

Younger motorists aren’t as conscientious as older drivers about doing checks, and female drivers are less likely to check their car prior to a trip than their male counterparts

Words By Claire Evans

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Almost half (49%) of car owners who have taken their car on holiday didn’t personally check the condition of their vehicle prior to heading off, according to a YouGov survey carried out for The Motor Ombudsman.

The research also revealed that a third of those who did get their car checked took the car to a mechanic rather than looking it over themselves. A further 17% asked a friend to check the car.

Women are less likely to get their cars assessed than men, and they’re twice as likely to take the car to a garage. In contrast, car owners aged over 55 were far more cautious – 86% either took the car to a garage or checked it themselves.

When comes to planning ahead in case something should go wrong with the car, around six out of 10 people (59%) were well versed in using onboard breakdown equipment, such as a jack or tyre sealant kit. However, only 18% would have the confidence to tackle a roadside emergency themselves without calling out a breakdown service.

The study also highlighted that nearly half of drivers (45%) who took their car on holiday did no research on the location of local garages at their destination before setting off.

The survey of more than 1600 British motorists was done to mark the launch of The Motor Ombudsman’s Stay Covered This Summer campaign, a two-month initiative to highlight the added cover that consumers have from using a Motor-Ombudsman accredited garage for servicing and fault repairs.

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, commented: β€œWith cars becoming increasingly complex as technology evolves, it can be daunting for some to peer under the bonnet and to determine whether their vehicle is fit for their holiday.

β€œFor added peace of mind, it’s always best for a professional to cast their expert eye over the car to give it the full stamp of approval. Equally as essential is that the garage is signed up to a recognised CTSI-approved Code of Practice for servicing and repair, such as that of The Motor Ombudsman. This gives motorists all-important confidence that their vehicle is in safe and qualified hands before going away.”

Best older cars for reliability - and the ones to avoid

Whatever type of car you're buying, if you're buying secondhand reliability will be an important consideration. So we've rounded up the most and least durable models in 10 different categories to help you buy a car that won't let you down or leave you with sky-high repair bills.

We asked the owners of 14,208 cars to tell us if their vehicles had suffered from any faults in the past 12 months. We classified the faults into 14 groups: battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, exhaust, exterior lights, fuel system, gearbox/clutch, interior trim, non-engine electrics, steering, suspension and other.

For each fault, we asked the owner to identify time spent off the road, using categories ranging from less than one day to more than a week. We also asked how much the repairs cost, from being fixed under warranty for free to more than Β£1500. This information was weighted according to the severity of the fault; those that cost the most and kept the car off the road the longest were penalised the heaviest.

The data has been used to create our What Car? reliability rating table, which ranks 32 brands and 169 models aged up to three years according to how dependable they are.

Read the full What Car? Reliability Survey results for cars aged 0-3 years

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Most reliable city car

Peugeot 107 (2005-2014) Reliability rating: 97.9%

Less than 6% of 107s we were told about had suffered a fault and the only area affected was the exhaust system. Athough repair bills ranged from Β£501 to Β£750, all cars remained driveable and were back on the road the same day.

Read our full used Peugeot 107 review

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Least reliable city car

Fiat Panda (2004-2012) Reliability rating: 44.6%

Half of Fiat Panda’s suffered a fault and the most common area of concern was the suspension – 29% of faults related to these components. Other problematic areas included the engine and the electrical system.

Although most repair bills were below Β£500, the faults rendered 8% of cars undriveable.

Read our full used Fiat Panda review

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Most reliable small car

Suzuki Swift (2010-2017) Reliability rating: 99.0%

The Suzuki Swift proves extremely dependable as the years roll on. Only 11% of cars had problems and those that did were mainly minor electrical niggles, such as faulty tyre pressure sensors.

All the cars remained driveable; 75% were fixed the same day and all work was carried out for free under warranty.

Read our full used Suzuki Swift review

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Least reliable small car

Renault Clio (2005-2013) Reliability rating: 54.2%

This data focuses on 4-10-year-old versions of the Renault Clio. Half of cars the cars were were told about had suffered a fault, with suspension the most common area of concern. Other problems were reported with engines and non-engine electrical systems including the heating and air conditioning.

Around 40% of cars took more than a week to fix and some owners were landed with bills up to Β£1000.

Read our full used Renault Clio review

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Click here to see the most and least reliable family cars

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