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'Too small parking spaces costing car owners £500m a year in repairs'
10:20am Sunday 22nd September 2013 in Local
PARKING spaces that are too small are costing motorists over £500 million pounds a year in repair bills for damaged paintwork, according to a new study.
The study, from Halfords and paint renovation specialist G3 Pro, has revealed that more than 10 million car owners have suffered annoying scuffs or scratches as a result of unwanted contact in car parks over the past year, with two thirds of them having to pay more than £50 to fix bodywork.
Car doors are the most likely area to suffer scrapes as a result, accounting for 50% of reported damage, followed by bumpers (14%) and wings (13%).
Halfords paint protection specialist David Howells said: “There is a squeeze on the nation’s car parks and the consequences are hitting frustrated motorists in the wallet.
“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 size of parking spaces is leaving them little choice.”
Despite the size of the average car growing - as manufacturers strive to offer more interior space, crash protection and comfort - Transport Department rules governing car park space sizes have remained the same since 1994.
The width of cars has increased by around 16% over the same period, making the average British car two inches wider than the 1.80m (5ft 11in) minimum parking space - that is 40mm smaller than a Ford Focus and incapable of accommodating a BMW 3 series measuring over 2 metres (6ft 7in).
Donna Howard of G3 Pro 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.”
The research found that supermarkets were reported as the worst offenders by 38% of drivers, followed by shopping centres (29%) and railway stations (18%).
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