British drivers warned of huge used car breakdown risk without 'vital' changes

Broken down car

Around 78 per cent of people don't protect themselves with an extended warranty

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 31/10/2023

- 09:04

The average price of a used vehicle has spiralled to a massive £17,774

Most British drivers are scared of seeing their used cars break down as repair costs spike for drivers amid the cost of living crisis.

A staggering 68 per cent of second-hand car owners expressed concerns about their vehicles either breaking down or “going wrong” in some way.

This is exacerbated by more than three-quarters of drivers who don’t protect themselves with an extended warranty to avoid any major consequences.

With the nights getting longer and temperatures dropping, some drivers may be concerned about how they fare on the roads.

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The average price of a used vehicle – generally defined as any car between three and 12 years old – has spiralled to a massive £17,774.

These prices, according to Auto Trader, are 36 per cent higher than the same period in 2021 and 45 per cent above pre-pandemic levels.

Experts argue that used car cover can help drivers have extra confidence in their vehicle, especially at times when they may be more at risk.

Lawrence Whittaker, CEO of Warrantywise, highlighted how supply chain disruptions and global economic challenges have caused an increase in the price of car parts.

He said used car owners could be more likely to these high prices, given that repairing older vehicles gets more expensive the longer it stays on the road.

The expert added: “In the current economic climate, especially with the OECD’s worrying forecast that the UK’s inflation average will be the highest rate in the G7 group for 2023, extended warranties play a vital role in offering financial security and peace of mind to used car owners.

“Following the release of this data, we are more dedicated than ever to helping used car owners protect their purchases and navigate the challenges of the current economic landscape.

“With the recent news further suggesting that used car prices in the UK are continuing to rise, and that the demand for older vehicles keeps the price high for both buyers and sellers, it’s the perfect storm for those looking to buy a car amidst the cost-of-living crisis, and the need to protect themselves now is greater than ever.”

There are no suggestions at the moment that used car prices will come down, with interest rates and inflation still forcing prices to stagnate or increase.

Those wanting to switch to an electric car will face even greater costs, with Auto Trader reporting the average value of a second-hand EV hitting £32,203.

Used EV prices are growing 0.6 per cent month-on-month, as experts say more needs to be done to get more second-hand electric cars on the market.

Despite the high prices, they have been selling at their fastest pace for almost five years, with the average EV being sold after just 23 days.

This is also faster than all other fuel types on the online marketplace, suggesting that EVs are slowly becoming the first choice for drivers looking at new vehicles.

On average, used cars sell within 28 days of being listed, which is the fastest pace since May and faster than any time in 2022.


Broken down car

Used cars could be more likely to break down as they get older


Edd China, expert arbiter at Warrantywise, said: “Working with Warrantywise my goal is to educate and ensure that those who already have a second-hand vehicle or are looking to buy a car from the used car market have the peace of mind they are doing so with protection against unexpected repair costs.”

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