Porsche and Bentley among worst offenders for car electrical faults

Bentley Continental GT V8 S
18 Mar, 2014 9:00am Alex Yau

Car electrical faults are on the increase as new gadget-packed models grow in complexity

New research suggests that luxury manufacturers Bentley and Porsche are among the biggest offenders for costly rises in electrical faults. The two luxury brands come in second and third behind Renault in a list of manufacturers whose cars have the least reliable electrics.

Warranty Direct analysed 50,000 insurance policies for cars over three years old in a five-year period and discovered it would cost £757 on average to repair electrical faults in a Porsche. Average repair bills in a Bentley cost a cheaper £670, but both are expensive when compared to the Suzuki’s average £244 cost.

The overall results show that the number of electrical faults rose from 5,300 in 2008 to 11,500 in 2013 - that means one in every four drivers experienced an electrical fault each year. Prices to repair these problems increased from £221 to £291 in the same period.

As for the worst offending models, two thirds of all Chrysler Sebring’s (66 per cent) experienced electrical breakdowns, while the Hyundai Matrix (63 per cent) and Mercedes-Benz E Class (60 per cent) followed closely behind. The study also found that over 25 per cent of Renault, Saab, MG, Audi, Citroen, Seat and BMW models suffered electrical failure each year.

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In contrast, just one out of seven Subarus developed an electrical fault each year, whilst there were no recorded claims with the Honda S2000, Mazda 5, Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Passat CC

Basic equipment including relays and alternators still commonly fails, but modern gadgets like parking sensors are increasingly being added to that list of electrical problems. Only franchised dealers can fix them or other special equipment and that alone often bumps up the repair costs. 

David Gerrans, Warranty Direct managing director, 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.

“But 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.”

For a review of the most reliable cars on the market today, visit our sister site Carbuyer.co.uk.