Electrical gremlins are the faults most likely to provide motorists with an unwanted repair bill just as their car exits the standard three-year manufacturer’s warranty period.
While some car makers offer longer new car warranties, sometimes of up to seven years, most still offer the typical three years’ worth of cover.
Just over a quarter of cars suffer an electrical breakdown in their fourth year on the road, but axle and suspension faults have the sharpest increase between a car’s third and fourth year, jumping up nearly four per cent to just over one in five (22 per cent).
Engine failures are the third most likely thing to go wrong as a car comes out of the protective umbrella offered by a three-year manufacturer warranty, with 17 per cent suffering a fault.
Over the last five years, air con and electrical faults are the failures that have consistently increased as soon as a car enters its fourth year.
Data analysed from the 30,000 Warranty Direct policies that were live in 2015 showed that electrical and engine faults are actually more likely in a three-year-old car. But the repair bill for an engine failure on a four-year-old car is considerably more expensive, at an average of £740.76 as opposed to £692.26 on a three-year-old vehicle.
Gearbox faults are the most expensive to fix on a four-year-old car, with an average repair bill of £896.22, more than a hundred pounds more than on a three-year-old car.
The cost of fixing steering system woes also jumps between a car’s third and fourth years, again by more than £100, to an average of £532.37.
Overall, the average repair cost for a four-year-old car is £480.74.