When it comes to choosing a car, it makes good financial sense to opt for one that won't cost you an arm and a leg should it need any repairs. So before you buy your vehicle, it's well worth doing some research into which cars are the cheapest to repair and which manufacturers are the most reliable (inasmuch as they make vehicles that, statistically at least, are less likely to need repairs in the first place). Here's a quick round-up of some of the best options…
Cheapest cars to repair
MoneySupermarket and Warranty Direct investigated which cars are the cheapest to repair and put together the top 10. At number 10 was the car manufacturer Seat, with repairs costing an average of £273.35.
This was followed by Citroen, where repairs cost an average of £270.72. Vauxhall (£270.42), Hyundai (£269.90), Smart (£268.27), Skoda (£261.02), and Fiat (£260.25), took eighth, seventh, sixth, fifth and fourth place respectively.
Third place went to Peugeot at £251.57 and Suzuki took second place, with repairs costing £234.96 on average. But at number one was the car manufacturer Ford, with repairs on Ford vehicles found to cost an average of £223.92.
Most reliable cars
When it came to reliability, Japanese manufacturers took the top three spots – Honda, Suzuki and Toyota. The fourth and fifth most reliable manufacturers were found to be Ford and Kia.
Maintaining your car
The best way to avoid paying out for expensive repairs is to look after your car and carry out regular checks. It's a good idea to check the tyre pressure every two weeks and check the tread is above the minimum legal requirement of 1.6mm. You should also regularly check that the car's horn, lights, handbrake, seatbelts, mirrors and windscreen wipers all work properly.
Replacing light bulbs if they have blown is relatively easy to do and it won't cost you much. Topping up brake fluid, windscreen washer and oil levels is also a simple task. If there are any problems with your car, getting them fixed while they are still relatively small will prevent them from escalating into a larger, more expensive problem. What's more, it will also increase the chances of your car passing its MOT. All cars have to have an MOT every year once they reach their third birthday.
Maintaining your car becomes even more important when winter strikes. Ice and snow can affect how well your car grips the road, so it's crucial to check that the tyres are inflated correctly and the tread hasn't worn down. Checking the windscreen for cracks is also important as even the smallest of chips could turn into a large crack as soon as temperatures drop. Keep the windscreen clean too because a build up of dirt can reduce visibility and increase dazzle from headlights and the low winter sun. Also ensure the battery is in good working order because it can quickly run itself flat in the winter months.
Most batteries are reliable for two to four years, so if your car's battery is older than this it could be worth replacing it. Keep a few essentials in the car boot, such as a spare tyre, tool kit, jump leads, ice scraper, torch, blanket and first aid kit so that you're prepared in the event that your car breaks down. And, of course, make sure you have breakdown cover. You can compare quotes on the MoneySupermarket comparison service. Similarly, use our car insurance comparison service to find the best deal on your car insurance.
You can keep the costs down by taking care of your car and parking it somewhere secure such as your driveway or garage. Fitting an alarm or immobiliser will also help to keep your premiums down. But avoid modifying your car as this will only help to push up the cost of your car insurance. Finally, don't forget to take your car to be serviced. Generally-speaking this should be done every six months, but your car's manual should tell you how frequently your car should be serviced.