Hundreds of hard-up motorists are continuing to put themselves at risk by failing to take their cars in for their annual services - because they can't afford the cost, HiQ has claimed.

A recent HiQ study revealed that 32 per cent of motorists are still opting against paying for a car service, relying instead on their cars passing their MOTs.

While the most economical service at many HiQ centres currently costs £99, the network believes motorists could be paying more than double that amount if they fail to take their cars for the comprehensive annual check-ups.

The results arrive on the back of a similar survey commissioned by HiQ 12 months ago, which revealed that 36 per cent of drivers weren't taking their cars in for a service in an effort to save money.

HiQ's fast fit manager Stuart Carr said that the ongoing economic downturn and soaring petrol prices - currently more than £1.40 per litre of diesel in many places - were playing a big part in motorists' decisions to opt out of taking the measure.

He said: "While the initial outlay for a car service might be off putting for some drivers, the implications of not taking one will hit the pocket harder in the long run.

"Replacing an air filter, which would be part of a HiQ major service, can improve fuel efficiency by 10 per cent, while under inflated tyres costs motorists millions of pounds worth in fuel worldwide every year.

"Relying on the MOT has been how a lot of motorists have been judging their vehicle performance.

"This has meant that we are seeing a lot more vehicles arriving with major faults and minor faults that would have been picked up on a normal service.

"Above all of this, people are putting their own safety in jeopardy if they are aren't taking their car service, as a fault may arise which is not picked up for weeks or even months, before the MOT is due."

HiQ has now introduced a pair comprehensive service packages which promises to enhance vehicle performance and longevity, at economic prices.

The gold service is a full vehicle inspection including visual checks of lights, wipers and driving controls, and physical checks to the wheels, exhaust, brakes, steering and suspension.

The silver service will cover a visual inspection of the vehicle and will prepare it for the rigours of the season ahead, and will also include oil and filter replacement.