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Are DIY car repairs becoming a thing of the past?

Thinking of performing minor repairs on your motor? Good luck with that. Research suggests new cars are so complicated, that even the most common of repairs requires the assistance of a professional.

To illustrate the point, Warranty Direct looked at the UK’s 10 best selling cars of 2012 and measured the average time it took to replace the headlamp, change engine oil and filters and change the front brake pads.

Replacing the headlamp on a Ford Fiesta, for instance, was found to take a mechanic 30 minutes. For a BMW 3 Series and 1 Series, the same task takes one hour. Even the quickest headlight repair, for a VW Polo, takes a whopping 18 minutes.

On modern Audi A4s the entire light cluster must be replaced at a cost of £21.56 and the task itself takes a mechanic 45 minutes. Back in 1994 the same job took just 10 minutes with the bulb costing about £6.12.

It’s the same story for changing engine oil and filters. The time necessary ranges from 15 minutes for a BMW 3 Series to 36 minutes for a Ford Focus.

“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,” Warranty Direct managing director Duncan McClure Fisher said.

Besides the hassle and making men feel mechanically inadequate, lengthier repairs mean greater costs to motorists. “New, more complicated technologies on cars are placing even more pressure on already strained household budgets,” Fisher added.

Mechanics tend to be paid on a labour basis so it’s not uncommon for unscrupulous garages to try and turn a blown fuse into a broken head gasket. However, increasingly complicated cars do require increasingly sophisticated diagnostic tools and the necessary training, which has a knock-on effect of making garage visits more expensive.

The average hourly rate for repairs now sits at £96.

Of course, the by-product of the modern-day car is that the likelihood of something going wrong is much lower than it once was, but when things do go pear shaped, you may need to dig deep.

Image: Flickr 

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