Nine Million Motorists Confused About Their Own Car

  • 2.5 million drivers have no idea where to find the spare tyre
  • One-in-six women drivers don’t know how to open their bonnet
  • One-in-five men wouldn’t know where to find their spark plugs

 Brits may claim to be a nation of car lovers but millions of motorists just wouldn’t know where to start if their car went wrong.  The research, by breakdown specialist Green Flag, reveals that over nine million motorists - nearly 30 per cent of the country’s driving force - admit that overall they don’t know their way around their motor, a basic skills gap that could lead to significant time waiting around at the roadside if they ever broke down.

Over 3.5 million motorists are unsure about how to do something as basic as open the bonnet (11 per cent).  Additionally, others don’t know where to find the dipstick (13 per cent), how to fill up windscreen washers (13 per cent) or how to check tyre pressure (22 per cent).

Furthermore, over two million motorists wouldn’t recognise the low oil light if it flicked on (eight per cent) while nearly one million have no idea what the low fuel signal looks like (three per cent).  Given this, it is perhaps no surprise that running out of fuel is one of the most common reasons for car breakdowns!

It’s not just the everyday workings of the car that British motorists can’t deal with - many wouldn’t be able to get their car started again should they come to a grinding halt. Half of all drivers don’t know where to find their spark plugs (49 per cent) whilst almost 15 million (44 per cent) don’t know how to attach leads for a jump start.  Just over 2.5 million drivers have no idea where to find their spare tyre (eight per cent) and 16 million wouldn’t know how to change the spare wheel should they have a puncture (49 per cent).

Philippa Naylor, spokesperson for Green Flag, said: “The research clearly shows that many of us have scant knowledge about our cars despite relying on them to go about our everyday lives. There are few things more boring than being stuck waiting for help and just by brushing up on some basic car maintenance knowledge, drivers could identify some simple problems before the frustration kicks in and they need to call us out for expert help.”

Nearly ten million drivers don’t know their engine size (30 per cent) while almost one-in-ten (eight per cent) have no idea how old their car is. Another 4.6 million (14 per cent) couldn’t remember their registration number when questioned.

The research also identified the cities with motorists who know the least about their cars. It shows that motorists in Cambridge are the worst followed by Chelmsford, Newcastle, Bristol and Nottingham.

Men v Women

The research also highlights that women drivers are worse than men when it comes to knowing their own car. While many women have no idea how to check tyre pressure (30 per cent), others couldn’t fit a spare wheel (65 per cent) or know where to find the spark plugs (61 per cent). Just over 15 per cent of women drivers don’t know how to open their car bonnet.

However, although cars could be considered a male passion, not all men can claim to know their way round a car. One-in-twenty male drivers (five per cent) have never opened the bonnet to look at the engine. Many don’t know where to find the dipstick or screen wash (four per cent) or are unable to locate their spark plugs (22 per cent). Nearly one-in-ten don’t know their registration number (nine per cent) while 16 per cent don’t know their car’s engine size.

“With just a little bit of knowledge drivers across Britain could save themselves the frustration of getting stuck.  However, there will undoubtedly be a time when expert help is required, so the reassurance that someone will be with you in around 40 minutes should not be underestimated,” Naylor added.

22 June 2007 Staff

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