Brits Are Ignorant About Car Maintenance, According To Survey

It’s not far-fetched to suggest that many motorists lack basic maintenance skills. But a survey has revealed that things might be worse than many of us thought; over a million of us don’t even know how to open our car bonnets…

Widespread Ignorance 

The AA surveyed 18,000 drivers from a variety of age backgrounds in order to determine how clued-up on car maintenance we are. What it discovered was widespread ignorance concerning even the simplest of checks and routines. For instance, the equivalent of 1.3 million of us don’t even know how to open car bonnets; which, as you might expect, is pretty integral in performance general maintenance. A large amount of us are also seemingly baffled by checking tyre tread depth, changing wiper blades and topping up our oil levels. Around 5% of the respondents admitted that they couldn’t top up screen wash. A further 8% couldn’t check tyre pressures and 10% couldn’t use a dipstick to inspect oil levels.

Considerable differences were found to exist between different age brackets; with older motorists being more confident in their abilities. For instance, 30% of drivers aged under 24 felt they were unable to check their tread depths. This is compared to 18% of older drivers. The gap is even bigger when it comes to changing a tyre. 66% of 17 – 24 year olds said they weren’t up to the task. Whereas 66% of over 65s said they were.

Regional Differences 

Curiously enough, your ability to carry out car maintenance (and open a car bonnet) seems to be linked to where you live. Drivers in London and the West Midlands are the most inept; with 5% in each being able to open their bonnets. 19% of Londoners can’t replace their oil levels, compared to a national average of 14%. A worrying 6% of drivers in Northern Ireland can’t top up their screen wash and 30% of Londoners can’t refill coolant. The tasks we’re generally least confident with are checking power steering (46%), checking brake fluid (62%) and changing a windscreen blade (73%).

Sarah Rees, AA and BSM managing director, found the results of the survey worrying. She said, “it’s worrying to see so many drivers are not confident with performing basic car safety and maintenance checks when it’s a vital part of learning to drive”. She added, “being able to check fluid levels and tyre pressures are really important skills for drivers to perform before any long journey to mitigate the chances of a breakdown”. It’s important to learn how to conduct basic maintenance checks. Not only will they help keep you safe whilst on the road, they’ll help you prevent wear and tear long-term; which means saved money!

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The Autoserve Club can save you time, money and stress. Club Members can receive discounts on servicing and new tyres and will gain access to our professional 24/7 helpline. To learn more, contact our friendly Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 today.

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