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Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

60 per cent of people struggling to keep their car on the road

Several people in a new survey said their financial situation had become so tight that they had to leave their car off the road for weeks or even months.

OVER HALF OF all Irish drivers are struggling to cover the costs involved in keeping their cars on the road.

A new survey of over 9,600 people by AA Ireland has shown that 60 per cent of people have difficulty finding the money to pay one or more of their car expenses including fuel, car tax, NCT test or motor insurance.

One of the poll respondents took a week off work last year so that they could offset the petrol costs against their motor tax bill. Several others indicated that they were forced to pay their car tax at three month intervals as they simply could not manage to pay it in one lump sum.

Many of the people surveyed also said their financial situation had become so tight last year that they had to leave their car off the road for weeks or even months until they could afford repairs or meet their motor tax.

Dangers of older vehicles

Conor Faughnan, Director of AA Consumer Affairs said the motorists have been “squeezed and squeezed and clearly the money they’re putting into running their cars has to come from elsewhere”.

“From what we’re hearing from the front line we’re going to be seeing more and more older vehicles on our roads and drivers need to be really conscious of wear and tear,” he said.

The survey also showed that as many as 79 per cent of drivers are planning to hold into their current vehicle for as long as possible.

According to the 2011 Irish Bulletin of Vehicle and Driver Statistics, 79 per cent of private cars in Ireland were four years and older while 60 per cent were six years and older. These figures compares to 71 per cent and 53 per cent respectively in 2009.

Just over a quarter of those polled by the AA, 28 per cent, said that they have some sort of fund set aside for when they next go to purchase a new or second hand car. According to individual comments received during the poll, vehicle running costs, which have increased significantly in recent years, are a major barrier for many when it comes to putting something aside for their next car purchase.

AA has advised motorists to “resist the temptation” to stretch out the interval between car services.

Read: New car sales down 8 per cent in February>
Read: 67pc of employees have considered changing job due to cost of commute>

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