Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

Scratched, cracked and bald: 1 in 4 drivers delaying car service due to financial trouble

Cars on road_Canva_1800x1000

From bald tyres to worn brake pads, the nation's roads are crowded with cars that could struggle to pass a roadworthy inspection, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,062 respondents – 936 of whom drive a car – revealed 35% have put off repairs due to financial constraints over the past year.

That's 6.3 million drivers who have been unable to afford car maintenance or repairs.

The research found 1 in 4 (25%) have avoided having their car serviced because they couldn't afford it, while 13% have let body damage go unrepaired.

Bald tyres (9%) and damaged windscreens (5%) round out the top four defects being put off due to financial concerns.

Graham Cooke, head of consumer research at Finder, said millions of Aussies are struggling to afford to fix their cars.

"With the skyrocketing cost of living, car maintenance has dropped to the bottom of the list of priorities for some.

"This could have deadly consequences with vehicles becoming unsafe to drive and putting other road users at risk."

Finder's research revealed women (42%) are more likely than men (28%) to have let their vehicle fall into disrepair due to financial reasons.

Cooke said for many Australians a car is one of their biggest expenses after accommodation.

"From trips to the mechanic to insurance to petrol, owning a vehicle is becoming even more expensive.

"But the cost of letting it become unroadworthy can be far greater than these upfront expenses."

Car insurance premiums increased by an average of 10.6% in 2023, with the average car owner paying about $1,551 a year, Finder analysis shows.

Cooke said it's a good idea to build up a vehicle emergency fund.

"In some cases, you could be denied a car insurance claim if a car was found to be in disrepair.

"Regular maintenance can actually prevent costly repairs – and is required annually in some states, so prioritise trips to the mechanic to save money in the long run."

Have you had to put off the following repairs/work on your car due to financial trouble/affordability issues in the last 12 months?
Car service25%
Scratches or physical damage to the car13%
Bald tyres9%
Windscreen repair5%
Speakers or radio system4%
No, I haven't65%
Source: Finder survey of 936 respondents with a car, March 2023


  • Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker is a monthly recurring nationally representative survey of more than 60,000 respondents.
  • Figures in this release are based on 936 respondents who drive a car from March 2024.
  • The Consumer Sentiment Tracker is owned by Finder and operated by Qualtrics, an SAP company.
  • The survey has been running monthly since May 2019.

Compare 30+ car insurance policies from a range of providers to save on your policy.

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our 1. Terms Of Service and 6. Finder Group Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Go to site