Motorists lack maintenance basics

New research by Gocompare.com Car Insurance has found that millions of British motorists lack the confidence to perform basic car maintenance tasks.

Moreover, simple car maintenance skills look set to disappear with the Baby Boomers as the research revealed that young drivers are far less likely to be able to carry out straightforward tasks such as changing a wheel or jump starting a flat battery than drivers aged 55 and over.

Almost half of motorists (48%) admitted that they didn’t know the meaning of all of their car’s dashboard warning lights and almost a quarter (24%) believe that having breakdown cover means they don’t need to learn how to maintain their vehicle.

The survey questioned motorists on their ability to complete routine car maintenance tasks. Topping up screen wash and checking oil levels were among the jobs that motorists felt most confident in doing, while replacing a broken headlight bulb was the task motorists were least likely to be able to complete.

 

Which of the following car maintenance tasks would you feel confident you would be able to carry out?

Top 10 Car Maintenance Tasks People Feel Confident To Carry Out
1 Replace a headlight bulb 39%
2 Top up brake fluid 41%
3 Change a flat tyre 46%
4 Jump start a battery 46%
5 Top up engine coolant 47%
6 Change a windscreen wiper 52%
7 Check tyre tread 66%
8 Check tyre pressure 75%
9 Check oil 79%
10 Top up screen wash 83%
None of the above 7%

The survey also revealed that older drivers were consistently more knowledgeable on how to perform car maintenance tasks than their younger counterparts. Older drivers were almost three times more likely to be able to change a flat tyre than those aged between 18 and 24.

Knowledge of Car Maintenance Tasks: Young Drivers Vs Older Drivers
               Task                Young Drivers (18-24) Older Drivers (55+)
1 Replace a headlight bulb 39% 61%
2 Top up brake fluid 41% 63%
3 Change a flat tyre 46% 49%
4 Jump start a battery 46% 55%
5 Top up engine coolant 47% 64%
6 Change a windscreen wiper 52% 63%
7 Check tyre tread 66% 77%
8 Check tyre pressure 75% 86%
9 Check oil 79% 90%
10 Top up screen wash 83% 87%
None of the above 7% 6%

However, there may be a simple reason why older drivers are more likely to be able to carry out straightforward maintenance tasks on their car than younger drivers; they are twice as likely to have read the car’s manual. Only a quarter (25%) of 18 to 24 year old drivers have read the manual to their car compared to over half (53%) of drivers aged 55+.

Matt Oliver, from Gocompare.com car insurance said, ‘What drivers may not realise is that they have a legal obligation to ensure that their car is kept in a roadworthy condition, so knowing how to check the tread on your tyre or change a headlight will help you avoid getting a fine or points on your licence.’