Do Brits know how to do basic car maintenance?


Do you know your car’s tyre pressures, front and back? Could you change a wheel if you needed to? What about an oil change?

All the above can be filed under basic car maintenance that all of us should be able to carry out when it’s required, especially when you consider that Great Britain is generally regarded as an island of car lovers. However, according to a recent study from luxury car dealers, Jardine Motors, we might not all be as clued in as we like to think.

Are Brits good to go with basic car maintenance, or do we need to swot up on our skills?

The importance of good car maintenance

It’s very easy to sit back, relax and do nothing to your car while it’s running well. After all, if it’s getting you from A to B, what else matters?

Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple, and car maintenance is something we should be doing year-round to protect ourselves, our vehicles and our finances. Without basic upkeep, problems can start to develop under the surface, even if your car is superficially fine and still running. Left unattended, these underlying issues may become apparent very suddenly. For example, your car might not start one morning, or you may run into problems while out on the road.

Once these issues have come to the fore, they can be difficult and costly to resolve, not to mention can pose an immediate issue to you from a safety or practical perspective. Car maintenance helps to nip any would be disasters in the bud early, saving you time, money and even from danger when driving.

The findings

What do us Brits know about maintaining our vehicles? According to the survey from Jardine Motors, there are plenty of us out there who could really do with a crash course in basic car maintenance. Some of the findings from the survey are quite eye opening. Here are a few high (or low) lights:

  • 28% of respondents don’t know how to check tyre pressures
  • 39% don’t know how to check the engine oil
  • 58% can’t change a flat tyre
  • 80% don’t know how to check anti-lock brakes

There are plenty of interesting findings from the survey. Women, for example, know more about basic maintenance tips and tricks than men do, while Edinburgh wins the title of the city with the least car maintenance knowledge in the UK.

While no one’s going to get too worked up about the idea of most people not knowing how to check their anti-lock brakes, figures like over a quarter of respondents not knowing how to check pressures and over a third not able to change the oil on their car are more of a cause for concern. It would appear that as cars become more disposable and change hands more often, maybe fewer of us than ever feel the need to know about even the simplest of car tasks.

Does Britain know its way around its cars, then? While it would appear most of us know the real nuts and bolts techniques, there’s maybe a larger than expected chunk of people who could be in trouble if even the slightest problem occurs. Perhaps a few of us need a couple of hours stood on the side of the motorway waiting for the repair van to come to get on board, after all.