Three out of ten wouldn't know where to fill up the windscreen washer bottle, according to a Flexed.co.uk survey.
Suggesting that many car breakdowns are directly caused by owners' ignorance of everyday checks, the company says that this is one subject which should be taught at schools, sixth forms and colleges, or even as part of driver training.
"Millions of us drive every day, but it turns out that huge numbers know very little about the machine they're operating," said spokesperson Mark Hall.
To find out how much we take the automobile for granted, the survey asked over 3000 drivers if they knew how to carry out basic maintenance tasks:
- 49% didn't know how to change a wheel
- 31% didn't know how to check their tyre pressures
- 63% were unable to check the oil level
- 29% were unable to fill the windscreen washer bottle
- 58% didn't know where to top up the oil
- 1% didn't know how to fill up with petrol
"If school pupils are shown how to do even the most basic of task, that's a skill that they've got for life," said Hall.
In fact, Flexed.co.uk says, it's something that should be added to the driving test to prove that new drivers know their way around a car or motorcycle. That will go a long way to prevent breakdowns on public roads which sometimes cause long and costly delays, the car leasing company thinks.
"The fact that the major breakdown organisations now have specialist patrols to help people who have run out of petrol just goes to prove how little people know about their own cars," added Hall.
"Even older vehicles have bells and whistles to tell you your fuel is low, so how come people still manage to run dry?"
Hall recommends the ten tips below.
- Check your oil and coolant levels monthly
- Check your tyre pressures monthly – keep a note of the correct pressures in the front page of your car's manual
- Check your tyre tread depth, plus the general condition of your tyres
- Buy a spare set of bulbs – you never know when you need one, and it's cheaper than buying one at a time
- Acquaint yourself as to what the warning lights on your dashboard mean – some are more serious than others
- Service your car annually – it'll improve your car's reliability and your petrol mileage
- Keep your car clean!
- Find out how to check battery levels
- Test your brakes regularly
- Keep a basic tool kit in the boot, along with emergency blankets or a coat. You never know when you might need them