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Over three quarters of drivers at risk due to poor car maintenance

1st August 2013 Print

Eighty four per cent of motorists are putting themselves at risk on the road by not checking the basic components of their cars regularly, according to Trust My Garage.

The countrywide independent garage scheme polled 100 male and 100 female drivers in the UK to see what regular maintenance checks they carry out on their vehicles and concluded that a quarter of drivers are leaving it as late as six months before they open the bonnet.

The survey asked how often motorists check their oil levels, engine coolant, tyre tread depth and tyre pressure and concluded that men are inching ahead when it comes to checking these at the recommended times, but too many motorists are leaving basic checks too late.

It is recommended that engine coolant should be checked once a week, and it can be particularly dangerous if left at a low level during periods of hot weather. Failure to keep engine coolant levels topped up can result in leaks and overheating of a vehicle, which is exacerbated in warmer weather. This can lead to costly damage like a blown head gasket. Twelve per cent of men check their engine coolant levels once a week compared to just five per cent of female drivers, but a staggering 53% of drivers never check their engine coolant.

The survey also places men above women when it comes to carrying out checks on their tyres with 17% of male drivers stating that they check their tyre tread depth once a month, as recommended, compared with just five per cent of female drivers. The survey also found that men are four times more likely to check their tyre pressure regularly than women. Tyre tread depth and pressure should be checked at least once a month to minimise the risk of a blow out or puncture.

Motorists are also leaving it too late to check their oil levels, with 90% of respondents stating that they wait until later than the recommended time frame of one week. If oil levels do go down below the “low” mark, drivers could be faced with a damaged engine and potentially a costly repair. Twelve per cent of men check their oil levels every week compared to just five per cent of women.

Terry Gibson at Trust My Garage said: “This survey highlights that not enough attention is being paid to some the checks that motorists can carry out themselves. Even modern cars need to have regular fluid checks to stay safe. We always advise motorists to make good use of their local independent garage by having their cars regularly serviced and maintained. It’s then easy to carry out simple, regular basic checks yourself, giving drivers peace of mind whenever they are out on the roads.”