Complex electronics lead to expensive breakdowns

Warranty Direct research finds most and least reliable cars

Published:  18 March, 2014

Increasingly complex electronics are making cars more prone to expensive breakdowns, according to automotive specialist Warranty Direct.

Electrical faults have increased by two thirds over the last five years, according to the company's Reliability Index and analysis of vehicles aged over three years. Electrical faults are most common on the company's database of 50,000 policies, with 23% needing a repair every year. Meanwhile, the average cost of repairing failures caused by electrical systems has also increased by 32% over the same period to £300, although some bills can cost over £2,800.

The company has discovered that Japanese cars are less likely to suffer from electrical gremlins, with Subaru, Mitsubishi and Daihatsu leading the top ten most reliable brands for electrics, a list which only features Alfa Romeo (8th) and Jeep (10th) as manufacturers from outside the country. In contrast, Renault leads the least-reliable list, followed by Bentley and Porsche.

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: "As automotive technology continues to advance, cars get more and more complex. Nowhere is that more so than in the field of computer technology and other electronics.

"While these advances can undoubtedly improve the performance and safety of cars, they also have a knock-on effect on how often they fail and how much it costs to repair them.

"Workshops now need advanced diagnostic tools to safely and effectively fix cars and, in some cases, it appears only franchised dealers can access some of the systems on newer cars, meaning that the customer is hit with a higher labour rate bill."

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