One in five drivers have skipped a car service due to the pandemic

Published 10 May 2021

A fifth of drivers delayed their annual car service due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, while a further one in 10 plan to skip or delay their car’s next scheduled service.

The research, which comes courtesy of heycar in partnership with, revealed that there could be the equivalent of 7.3 million unserviced — and potentially unroadworthy — vehicles when these figures are applied to the 32.7 million motorists in the UK.

The study of 2558 motorists found that one in five (22 per cent) of drivers delayed or skipped their car's annual service during the last 12 months. A further one in ten drivers (12 per cent) are preparing to delay their vehicle’s next scheduled service. A service would typically check — and/or replace — components like the oil and oil filter, spark plugs, fuel filter, brake fluid etc — depending on whether it's a minor or major service.

Unsurprisingly, almost half of drivers who said they’d skipped or delayed a service (46 per cent) cited lack of use as the primary factor. A further 13 per cent said they couldn’t get the service done due to shielding during the pandemic.

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The lack of servicing will affect the millions of drivers eagerly awaiting the latest lifting of lockdown restrictions due on 17 May — which will allow people to meet indoors for the first time this year.

While postponing servicing isn’t against the law, it means that owners could be missing out on getting vital repairs done in order to keep their cars safe and healthy in the long run. Not taking a car in for servicing also prevents drivers from finding out about necessary recall work or updates, for example, as well as not getting age-related servicing done — like replacing the brake fluid.

>>> Car maintenance checklist: 10 service tips to care for your car

Generally, a service schedule will recommend or require you to get your car serviced every 12 months or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first). As well as flagging up any potential problems, if your car is still within its warranty period then a skipped will also invalidate the warranty.

The survey also quizzed motorists on how often they carried out inspections on the car’s oil levels and tyre condition. Over half who answered (56 per cent) said they did both once a month.

A fifth (20 per cent) said they checked their tyres once a week, while another 20 per cent of respondents said they inspected oil levels every three months. Nearly one in 10 (8 per cent) revealed that they never checked the oil level in their car.


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