Complex car electronics spark trouble for motorists

Complex car electronics spark trouble for motorists
ï Number of electrical faults on cars increases by two thirds in five years
ï Repair bills increase by a third over the same period
ï Luxury and premium cars among most likely to suffer electrical faults
Increasingly complex electronics are making cars more prone to expensive breakdowns, according to automotive specialist, Warranty Direct.
Electrical faults have increased by two thirds (66%) over the last five years, according to the firmís unique Reliability Index ( and analysis of cars aged over three years. Electrical faults are the most common across all cars on Warranty Directís database of 50,000 policies, with almost a quarter (23%) needing a repair every year.
Meanwhile, the average cost of repairing failures caused by electrical gremlins has also increased by nearly a third (32%) over the same period, to £300*, but can rise as high as £2,804.
While relays and alternators are the most likely components to break, newer electronic innovations like parking sensors are typically amongst the many faults reported.
The 10 most reliable brands for electrics
Position Make     Avg Mileage Avg Cost
1 Subaru 55,861.15 £450.67
2 Mitsubishi  51,563.56 £479.67
3 Daihatsu  36,766.75 £432.60
4 Suzuki 38,169.82 £243.90
5 Mazda 46,518.44 £411.38
6 Lexus 52,904.78 £411.25
7 Toyota 49,600.09 £376.35
8 Alfa Romeo 51,249.92 £373.60
9 Nissan 48,057.88 £378.08
10 Jeep 51,291.68 £453.87
Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: ìAs 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. 
ìBut, 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. 
ìWorkshops 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.î
Among the cars most likely to feature a failure are luxury and premium brands, like Porsche and Bentley, while Japanese brands Subaru, Mitsubishi and Daihatsu have the soundest electronics ñ only one in seven Subaru models suffer gremlins.
The 10 least reliable brands for electrics (worst to best)
Position Make Avg Mileage Avg Cost
1 Renault 47,974.64 £264.33
2 Bentley 37,997.56 £670.24
3 Porsche 41,610.21 £757.24
4 Saab 56,296.36 £323.85
5 MG 38,091.87 £405.25
6 Audi 58,196.01 £511.75
7 Mercedes 54,059.16 £458.69
8 CitroÎn 47,864.96 £302.94
9 SEAT 51,195.47 £290.62
10 BMW 57,397.98 £432.89
Overall, Subaru electrics cost an average of £450.67 to fix. At the other end of the scale, Renault is the brand most likely to suffer a fault, with more models suffering a fault each year (38%) but a lower repair cost of £264.33.
Warranty Direct cover starts from as little as £15 a month. For more information or for a quote, go to or 


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