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Older drivers rule the road when it comes to basic car maintenance

25 July 2016

New research by Gocompare.com Car Insurance found that millions of British motorists lack the confidence to perform basic car maintenance tasks such as changing a flat tyre or jump starting a car battery.

  • Less than half (46%) of motorists feel confident changing a flat tyre.
  • Almost two thirds of motorists (61%) said that they can’t change a headlight bulb.
  • Older drivers were almost three times as likely to be able to jump start a battery than younger drivers.
  • Two fifths (43%) of young drivers aged 18-24 would call their parents if something went wrong with their car.

New research by Gocompare.com Car Insurance found that millions of British motorists lack the confidence to perform basic car maintenance tasks such as changing a flat tyre or jump starting a car battery. And what’s more, 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

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.

Car Maintenance Tasks: Young Drivers Vs Older Drivers

 

Task

Young Drivers (18-24)

Older Drivers (55+)

1

Change a flat tyre

22%

61%

2

Jump start a battery

23%

63%

3

Replace a headlight bulb

23%

49%

4

Top up brake fluid

31%

55%

5

Change a windscreen wiper

31%

64%

6

Top up engine coolant

32%

63%

7

Check tyre tread

44%

77%

8

Check tyre pressure

52%

86%

9

Top up screen wash

74%

90%

10

Check oil

77%

87%

 

None of the above

8%

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: “It seems that younger drivers have a lot to learn from older motorists when it comes to car maintenance with simple tasks like changing a windscreen wiper often leaving them scratching their head.

“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.

“In the event that poor car maintenance leads to an accident it could also invalidate your insurance.

“Performing regular checks can help keep down the cost of running a car, a well maintained vehicle is less likely to break down and knowing how to perform some of these quick fixes means not paying a mechanic to do them for you.

“With young drivers generally paying more for their car insurance, taking some time to sit down with their car manual and learning how to perform a few basic maintenance jobs could help them to reduce their running cost

See Gocompare.com’s essential motoring checklist for more information on car maintenance jobs you can perform at home.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*Between the 18th and 24th May 2016 One Poll conducted an online survey among 2,000 randomly selected car owners aged 18 and over.

**DVLA holds records for 45.5 million active motorists in GB as of 30th September 2014 (source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/397430/FOIR4341_How_many_people_hold_licences_in_the_UK.pdf)

Motorists unable to complete any tasks listed – 7% of 45.5 million = 3,185,000