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Three in ten can't locate washer bottle

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

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Comments

  • Darren - 12/11/2014 11:18

    Cars used to be things most users could do basic maintenance on themselves, remove the air filter and bang it against the wall, remove and re-gap the plugs etc.
    But modern cars are getting harder and harder for the average user to maintain, add to that the attitude that some fleet drivers have of 'it's not my car, why should I have to do anything?'

    I used to be a car mechanic, so I consider myself to have reasonable abilities to carry out general maintenance. I carried out a service on my partners VW 1.6 Beetle this weekend, but it took me over an hour just to change the plugs (you have to remove part of the inlet manifold and the aux air pump), and you have to be double jointed to remove and refit the air filter.

    Also to change a headlamp bulb on the Beetle, it looks like you need to take the whole front bumper panel off as far as I can see. This is not unusual for modern vehicles where lamps are no longer accessed easily from under the bonnet or in the boot; but requires tools and removing trims and lamp units to access the bulbs.

    General car maintenance is no longer the purview of the average driver these days, although how 1% get through life without knowing how to put fuel in their own cars alludes me!

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