7 million UK cars illegal

According to a survey by Britannia Rescue of just over 2,000 motorists, almost a quarter (23%) of motorists admit their cars have a defect which renders them illegal and 14% say their vehicle is in urgent need of repair.

The most common issue is bald tyres, although 15% of people claimed not to know that bald tyres were illegal. Either they were telling porkies about their knowledge, or they are so out of touch with the realities of driving that you have to wonder if they should be on the road at all.

Also, 18% of motorists have driven a car without a valid MOT certificate, most of whom did so unknowingly because they had forgotten to check the renewal date on the certificate. It certainly seems odd that we get a reminder in the post about everything from car tax to TV licences, but not for MOT certificates. Now that MOT records are fully computerised, it would not be the hardest job in the world.

Typically, offenders were delaying repairs for four months, with the main reason being shortage of cash, with 40% of drivers saying it was just too expensive to repair their car and 24% not seeing the repairs as urgent, because their car still “gets from A to B”. Unsurprisingly the worst offenders were younger drivers (generally poorer and having older cars), with a quarter of those aged 18-34 driving a car in need of repair compared with just 5% of those over 55.

Britannia Rescue managing director Peter Horton said: “At a time when money is tight and fuel prices are on the increase, motorists are looking to save cash where they can…But sacrificing car maintenance is a false economy.”

Incidentally, if you are wondering about the strange car in the picture, it is a 1974 Citroen Ami. Just in case you wanted to know.