Tight Parking Spaces Costing Motorists £500 million in Repairs

Posted on 17 Sep 2013

Have you found it increasingly more difficult to park your car lately? Don’t worry, your driving skills haven’t worsened; it’s just that parking spaces have become much more of a squeeze.

A new study from car parts and enhancements dealer Halfords and paint renovation company G3 Pro has revealed that, while parking spaces have remained the same size for the past 20 years, cars have increased in size by 16 per cent, making them an average of two inches broader and parking a whole lot tighter. In fact, such is the trouble with parking these days that it is costing motorists £500 million in paintwork repairs every year.

Doors the biggest problem

Having worked so hard to squeeze into a parking space, motorists are then faced with the tough task of getting out of the car without scuffing the door, a challenge that proves too difficult for many. According to the survey, two-thirds of drivers have to fork out more than £50 in repairs on paintwork, the majority of which are scraped doors.

Doors were found to account for 50 per cent of reported damage, followed by bumpers (14 per cent) and wing mirrors (13 per cent), and the problems affect an estimated 10 million motorists a year.

“The majority of drivers we questioned blamed their scratches and repair costs on inconsiderate drivers parking too close to them but our research shows that the actual size of parking spaces is leaving them little choice,” said a spokesperson for Halfords.

Beware of the supermarket

The Halfords research looked at where motorists found spaces to be the most difficult to park and revealed supermarkets as the biggest offender. Thirty-eight per cent of those surveyed said that supermarkets have the smallest spaces, followed by shopping centres, which accounted for 29 per cent scrapes and station car parks, which resulted in 18 per cent of nicks.

G3 Pro’s Donna Howard said, “Even the smallest scratch can be very annoying and reduce the value of a vehicle by hundreds of pounds.

“But with car park operators looking to maximise visitor volumes and revenue, there is little incentive for them to exceed the recommended minimum size requirements.”

Technology helping

A greater demand for interior car space has seen manufactures increase the size of vehicles beyond the Department of Transport’s 5 ft. 11 in (1.8 metres) minimum width for on-street parking bays; however, power steering and parking sensors have made it easier from drivers to squeeze into a tight space. Parking sensors are available at JenningsMotorGroup from only £129 for any make or model of vehicle.

Speaking to the Telegraph, a spokesperson for the AA said that 80 per cent of its members complained of parking dings, but technology was helping lessen the problem.

“With even small cars getting bigger, the familiar beep-beep of the parking sensor is a reassuring sound to many drivers. It certainly helps a driver avoid chickening out of taking on a tight parking space and risking embarrassment all-round for getting it wrong and exchanging some paint.” 

Tight Parking Spaces Costing Motorists £500 million in Repairs
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