MOTORISTS running EVs and hybrids who are tempted to cut costs by not investing in roadside assistance could be in for a shock from unskilled recovery agents.
The warning comes from breakdown provider Start Rescue - a Which? recommended breakdown cover provider - and comes as people tighten their belts during the cost of living crisis.
With vehicle breakdown cover often one of the first thing to go in such times, the firm says that could end up being a false economy - particularly for those with electric cars and hybrids.
With many modern vehicles having detailed recovery procedures, specialist and up-to-date knowledge is essential and particularly with modern EVs and hybrids.
Failure to recover these vehicles correctly can result in costly damage to the crucial motors, transmissions and expensive electrical components.
Start Rescue says drivers of conventionally powered vehicles could find themselves shelling out £250 or more from inflated call-out charges and extra, unforeseen costs from freelancers, but for EV and plug-in hybrid owners who fall victim to unskilled traders it could mean thousands in unnecessary repair bills.
And if the vehicle is damaged during recovery there is the added worry as to whether the operator has the appropriate insurance cover; potentially leaving the driver footing the entire repair bill.
Start Rescue managing director Lee Puffett said:"It's a false economy to skimp on breakdown cover but particularly for those running electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. These motorists are risking not just their vehicle but leaving themselves open to massive additional bills if the recovery is botched.
"When you need help, you should ideally obtain assistance from a company which has a good reputation in your community or holds an industry recognised standard. If they are PAS 43 registered, you can be very confident they have the necessary skills and technical training to recover your particular vehicle, whether it's a car, van, motorcycle or a bus.
"Companies operating without a recognised recovery industry standard or lacking the experience of working with varying vehicle types, frequently don't have the skills to recover a petrol or diesel vehicle correctly. So, if you have an EV or hybrid the risks of hugely expensive damage to these vehicles - which require a specific set of skills - are potentially higher."
Without appropriate roadside rescue knowledge, these kind of ‘have-a-go' operators are also potentially putting themselves and drivers at risk of injury, due to a lack of knowledge in appropriately recovering the vehicle or correctly managing the scene.
‘Have-a-go' traders also may not have DBS or background checks, leaving vulnerable drivers at risk and recovery traders lacking a recognised recovery industry standard may exceed their allocated tachometer hours, increasing the risk of an accident due to fatigue.
Start Rescue has issued the following breakdown tips:
1. Use a reputable breakdown assistance provider.
2. Have the breakdown cover's contact details stored in your phone.
3. Check the recovery company's credentials. Reputable companies should show ID.
4. Read your vehicle handbook to check for any special recovery instructions.
5. Obtain a written and signed vehicle condition report before and after assistance has been provided and take photos of your vehicle both before and after assistance has been provided.
6. Check for vehicle damage straight after recovery; report any problems immediately.