Complex new cars 'killing off' driveway DIY enthusiast

The increasing complexity of modern cars is slowing killing off the DIY enthusiast, says a new survey by Warranty Direct.

Research carried out by the warranty provider has revealed that simple maintenance jobs like changing a front headlamp or replacing the oil filter now take more than an hour and a half in some of the UK's best selling cars.

Warranty Direct conducts an annual study of garage labour rates and this year's results show that an hour of a professional technician's time costs £96 on average, but soars to more than £200 for some car brands.

With specialist tools and diagnostic equipment now required to carry out some basic tasks, changing a front headlamp on the humble Renault Clio now takes a professional mechanic an astonishing 96 minutes.

Hands-on drivers of yesteryear could easily save money and time by replacing and maintaining certain parts but with a modern brake pad change taking 42 minutes on average, it's no wonder motorists are handing over a fortune to garages in order to maintain their vehicles.

Replacing a headlamp on a 1994 Audi A4 cost £6.12 for the bulb and took approximately 10 minutes.

Today, on an equivalent model, it not only requires the purchase of a whole light cluster with a RRP of £21.56 but also 45 minutes of a trained technician's time. Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct, 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.

"New, more complicated technologies on cars are placing even more pressure on already strained household budgets."

Warranty Direct's survey of the top ten best-selling cars in the UK found that the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was the most time consuming to work on, taking 54 minutes on average to replace a headlamp and change an oil filter, and 42 minutes to change the front brake pads.

The Vauxhall Corsa required the least time, taking 36 minutes to replace a headlamp, 24 minutes to change an oil filter and 42 minutes to change the front brake pads.

Warranty Direct is currently conducting a groundbreaking motoring study – the Warranty Direct 360 Used Car Survey is the first to combine real-world customer feedback with genuine reliability data.

To take part in the most comprehensive, all-round study of UK used car ownership ever conducted click here