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1 in 10 motorists aren’t confident enough to perform any basic car maintenance tasks

28th September 2015 Print

As research reveals that nearly one in ten drivers don’t know how to perform basic car maintenance checks, is warning drivers that poor car care can be an expensive or illegal mistake which could even invalidate your insurance. 

Drivers are legally obliged to keep their car in a roadworthy condition.  A car is deemed unroadworthy if using it would cause danger to the driver, passengers, other road-users or pedestrians.  Common signs that a car may be unroadworthy include headlights that don’t work, cracked wing mirrors and worn-out tyres.  Failure to maintain your car in a roadworthy condition can also invalidate your insurance.

But, in a survey of over 1,570 drivers, commissioned by, it was revealed that only 21% of motorists walk around their vehicle and perform basic checks before heading off and only 66% of drivers get their car regularly serviced.

The survey questioned drivers about the areas of basic car maintenance that they feel confident in carrying out. Checking and topping up screen wash and oil levels topped the list, followed by tyre pressure check.

Less than half (46%) of the motorists surveyed thought that every driver should have basic car maintenance skills, while 21% said that they didn’t need to know about car maintenance because they have breakdown cover.  13% thought that car dashboard warning lights removed the need to know how a car works.

The survey also revealed that many drivers are not fully au-fait with the operation of their vehicle – only 47% of motorists have read their car’s instruction manual, leaving many drivers ignorant of some key safety and practical information:

Only 56% say they know the recommended tyre pressure for their car;

71% know how to turn on their vehicle’s fog lights;

61% say they know the meaning of all of their car’s dashboard warning lights;

72% know whether their car has a spare wheel or not;

60% know if their car is front, rear or four-wheel drive.

Matt Oliver,’s car insurance spokesman commented: “Our survey reveals a low level of understanding by some drivers of how their car works and basic motoring maintenance – which could potentially be dangerous.  So if they’ve not done so, we’d suggest that drivers dig out their car’s instruction manual and familiarise themselves with it.  Make sure you know essential safety information such as how your fog lights work and the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle, as well as understanding the meaning of all the dashboard lights.    

“All drivers are responsible for making sure that their car is roadworthy.  Failure to regularly check your vehicle for faults and defects could result in it becoming unsafe or illegal to drive.  For example, poor visibility is a contributory factor in many accidents, so it’s important to regularly check your lights and windscreen wipers for damage and undertake any repairs as soon as possible.  Damaged or worn windscreen wipers are cheap and quick to replace, but could leave you open to a £1,000 fine if you’re stopped by the police or result in your car failing its MOT.”  

Matt Oliver continued: “Regularly checking for and repairing faults can also help you save money in the long-run.  A well maintained car is less likely to break down, will run better and last longer.  And, with a little car DIY know-how, you can save some cash by being able to perform some quick and easy jobs yourself.  While all the new technology found in newer cars can make maintenance a daunting prospect, there are still a number of key jobs that are easy to do, including changing the wiper blades and checking the oil and coolant levels.”