AUTOMOTIVE ANXIETY AND ‘MOTPHOBIA’ MEANS DRIVERS IGNORE WARNING SIGNS

The fear of costly mechanical faults is causing genuine anxiety among more than 14 million motorists, leading many of them to ignore potentially serious vehicle defects, a new study by Halfords Autocentres reveals. 

Research by Britain’s leading independent garage chain has found that almost half (45%) of UK drivers admit to experiencing anxiety when it comes to visiting a garage as well as other symptoms including nausea (13%), profuse sweating (8%), heart palpitations, shortness of breath (7%), dizziness (5%) and feeling faint (5%).

Consequently more than a quarter of drivers (29%) are willing to ignore warning lights on their dashboard rather than seek technical advice and a further 16% would not have them checked until the next scheduled MOT or service – which could be many months away and result in unnecessary damage.

TV’s Dr Pixie McKenna*, said: “Whilst these symptoms are not uncommon in isolation, they can be a signs of underlining health problems, such as stress or even heart disease - but together they can be a sign of a phobia.

“Brits have a real tendency to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to doing things that may cause stress – be it visiting a doctor, dentist of even a mechanic – and it’s quite clear that the thought of costly vehicle repairs is creating a genuine fear amongst UK motorists, leading to a nation of MOTphobics. Phobias themselves are not uncommon, and I’ve seen hundreds of them - from the driver that is worried about bridges and roundabouts to my personal phobia; being locked in.

“But despite phobias and fears, medicinal or mechanical checks are so important. Just as minor coughs or colds can turn into pneumonia or symptoms of fatigue can turn out to be anaemia, minor motoring ailments can lead to much bigger problems, which is why it is vital to identify problems and get treatment as early as possible – prevention is always better than cure.

By comparison, when it comes to something they look forward to Brits plan well ahead. Nearly half of people (47%) book their holiday six months in advance and one in ten (11%) plan a full year ahead in order to ensure they get their desired destination.

A third 33% of people also view the annual MOT as an inconvenient necessary evil and a further 5% believe it is little more than a money making scheme by government, rather than a valuable safety check.

As a result of these factors, two thirds of people (66%) don’t think about making preparations for their car’s MOT until a month before it is due to expire and 25% of those leave it less than a fortnight.

However, since the research also found that more people find the prospect of breaking down in their car more stressful than moving house, breaking up with a partner, their job and queuing, putting off a visit to the garage is really counterproductive.

Halfords Autocentres’ Stefan Warhaftig, added: “Regular mechanical check-ups may fill some people with dread but a good garage should be able to reduce both your bills and stress levels. They can prevent small problems becoming major, more costly ones and give you greater peace of mind.

“Not only that but - like a doctor - they should be able to diagnose and explain any work that is required without baffling jargon. That way your next visit should will not only be sooner but also cause less anxiety.”

To find your nearest Halfords Autocentre, find out more about our MOT services or make a booking online visit www.halfordsautocentres.com

ENDS

*Dr Pixie McKenna is best known for her work on TV’s Embarrassing Bodies.

Media contacts:

Hayley Longdin or Josh Roberts, Grayling T: 0121 265 7070, E: hayley.longdin@grayling.com / josh.roberts@grayling.com

Notes to Editors:

Survey conducted among 2007 UK drivers during February 2015 by Atomik Research.

About Halfords Autocentres

Halfords Autocentres is a leading independent garage network with a heritage spanning more than three decades.

Highly trained technicians at over 300 Halfords Autocentres carry out over 1 million jobs a year - including MOTs, car servicing and repairs as well as tyre sales and fitting - for over 850,000 customers a year, with more than 9 out of 10 of them being happy to recommend us to their friends.

Being independent means that we deliver dealership quality work at more affordable prices for any make or model of car. We offer a price match guarantee and a minimum guarantee of 12 months or 12,000 miles on work carried out (See website for terms and conditions).

www.halfordsautocentres.com

About Us

Halfords is the UK's leading retailer of automotive, cycling and leisure products and, through Halfords Autocentres, also one of the UK's leading independent car servicing and repair operators. Halfords customers shop at 465 stores in the UK and ROI and at halfords.com for pick-up at their local store or direct home delivery. Halfords Autocentres operates from around 300 sites nationally and offers motorists dealership-quality MOTs, repairs and car servicing at affordable prices. The Halfords group strategy is based on three pillars: · Supporting Drivers Of Every Car · Inspiring Cyclists Of Every Age · Equipping Families For Their Leisure Time The Getting Into Gear strategy for the Retail business is based on executing in five key areas in order to deliver a significantly-enhanced customer experience: · Service Revolution · The H Factor · Stores Fit to Shop · 21st Century Infrastructure · Click with the Digital Future Halfords employs approximately 12,000 colleagues and sells around 9,000 product lines in store, increasing to around 160,000 Retail products online. The Retail offering encompasses significant ranges in car parts, cycling products, in-car technology, child seats, roof boxes and camping equipment. Halfords’ own cycling brands include Apollo, Carrera and Boardman cycles, augmented by a range of other brands of cycles and accessories, including Kona, Mongoose, Raleigh and Pinarello. In Auto, the Halfords Essentials and Halfords Enhanced ranges are sold alongside brands such as Generic Electric, Bosch, Garmin and TomTom. The Retail Auto offering was recently augmented by the introduction of Car Parts Direct, a service delivering rapid customer access to around 130,000 car parts. In Travel Solutions, Halfords sells a premium range of camping equipment including brands such as Vango and Outwell. Halfords offers customers expert advice and a fitting service for car parts, child seats, satellite navigation and in-car entertainment systems, and a service for cycles.

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Quick facts

The fear of costly mechanical faults is causing genuine anxiety among more than 14 million motorists, leading many of them to ignore potentially serious vehicle defects.
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More than a quarter of drivers (29%) are willing to ignore warning lights on their dashboard.
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Quotes

Brits have a real tendency to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to doing things that may cause stress – be it visiting a doctor, dentist or even a mechanic.
Dr Pixie McKenna
Just as minor coughs or colds can turn into pneumonia, minor motoring ailments can lead to much bigger problems>
Dr Pixie McKenna