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Car conundrum: 2 in 5 Australians can’t afford repairs

Car repairs being delayed_Canva_1800x1000

Australians are struggling to keep up with car maintenance and repairs due to the rising cost of living, according to new research by Finder, Australia's most visited comparison site.

A Finder survey of 919 Aussie motorists revealed more than 2 in 5 (45%) – equivalent to 9 million drivers – have skipped the mechanic to save money.

The research found 1 in 4 (25%) have avoided having their car serviced because they couldn't afford it, while 8% have let scratches or physical damage go unrepaired.

Bald tyres (5%) and damaged windscreens (4%) have also been put off due to financial trouble or affordability issues.

In addition to cost-cutting, a staggering 27% of Australian motorists – equivalent to 5.4 million drivers – said they will be driving less in the next 6 months.

James Martin, insurance expert at Finder, said the cost of owning a car is taking a toll on many Australian car owners.

"It's becoming increasingly expensive to own a car, and with the cost of living sky-high, something's got to give.

"From bald tyres to billowing smoke – Aussie roads are crowded with cars that might struggle to pass a roadworthy inspection."

Finder Roadside Assistance Customer Satisfaction Awards 2023 winners revealed

The best roadside assistance providers for 2023 have been revealed through Finder's Customer Satisfaction Awards.

Finder asked 600+ Australians to rate their roadside assistance provider based on customer service, value for money and more.

NRMA came in first place overall, scoring 4.5/5. 94% of the 119 people surveyed said they would recommend NRMA roadside assistance.

Highly commended policies included Youi and Virgin Money.

Martin said for many Australians a car is one of their biggest expenses in their budgets after housing.

"From registration to insurance to spare parts, it can feel like the car becomes a never-ending money pit.

"But the cost of letting a car become unroadworthy can be far greater than these upfront payments."

Martin said having roadside assistance is important.

"Roadside assistance is a great purchase for peace of mind. It can help if you're stranded on the side of the road with nobody in sight and you want to avoid expensive, out-of-pocket towing bills.

"It can also cover you for problems that may be your own fault, like locking yourself out of the car or if you run down your battery.

"If you want to take out a standalone policy, you can do so with a handful of insurers – starting from around $6 a month," Martin said.

Women (52%) are more likely than men (48%) to have let their vehicle fall into disrepair due to financial reasons.

Have you had to put off the following repairs/work on your car due to financial trouble/affordability issues?
Car service25%
Scratches or physical damage to the car8%
Bald tyres5%
Windscreen repair4%
Speakers or radio system2%
No, I haven't55%
Source: Finder survey of 919 respondents with a car, February 2023

For more information on the best roadside assistance provider for 2023, visit

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