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Many motorists could be driving around in illegal and unsafe cars because they are too cash-strapped to afford essential car repairs and maintenance.

According to research by Britannia Rescue, there are approximately seven million cars which have such severe faults to make them illegal to drive are still on UK roads.

In addition, one in five (18 per cent) of motorists have driven a car without a valid MOT certificate while drivers wait four months to repair illegal car faults on average.

High cost of car repairs

For many motorists, the high cost of car repairs is one the main reason motorists are deterring from carrying out vital repairs.

"I think the overwhelming thing is that money's tight. When we speak to people, they don't deliberately go out to break the law," said Vanessa Chance, spokeswoman for Britannia Rescue.

"When we've spoken to people, the highest reason that people delay these repairs is because of money reasons."

However, with faulty car parts often increasing risks to the driver's and other road users' safety, Ms Chance urged motorists to do what they can to make sure their vehicles are well maintained and road legal.

"For ourselves, as a road rescue provider, we are trying to raise the profile of this issue to get people thinking about car maintenance again, realising that they could be putting themselves at risk of penalty points or a fine," she said.

"Also you can put yourself in danger, because if your brake lights aren't working, the person behind might not see that you're trying to stop and you put yourself in a very difficult position there."

In these straightened times, motorists could help themselves to keep up with car maintenance by investing in used car parts to replace faulty or damaged components, rather than forking out for brand new equivalents.