By Ian Lewis
Most motorists understand the importance of keeping their vehicles properly maintained, but millions do not have the skills to do it, the results of a new survey suggest.
The poll found that while 59% of drivers acknowledge that regular checks are vital, more than a third (37%) lack the basic skills and knowledge to carry them out themselves.
More than one in eight (14%) of those questioned by Auto Trader admitted that they had played up their knowledge of car mechanics to either impress their friends, avoid embarrassment or just to fit in.
A quarter (24%) of motorists said they had never changed their car's engine oil, with nearly a third (32%) admitting to never checking the oil filter.
'Basic level of knowledge essential'
Among those who do not carry out the check-ups themselves, the main reason given was that it is easier to call on the skills of a professional mechanic.
Others said it took too long to do it themselves, while some drivers said they worried that they would not be able to do the job to a safe enough standard.
But it seems that many drivers, particularly younger ones, would not mind getting their hands dirty, with more than half those polled saying they would like to find out more about car maintenance.
Auto Trader's editor-in-chief, Jon Quirk, said: "A basic level of car maintenance knowledge is essential for all motorists, as it will help to ensure the safety of both drivers and their passengers.
"It's interesting to see that 55% of those surveyed want to know more about how to maintain their car, especially the younger generation of drivers (74%)."
Different attitudes depending on age
The survey found other differences in attitude among motorists of different ages.
Almost half (45%) of drivers aged over 35 said they would immediately call their breakdown service if things went wrong on the road, while more than a third (38%) of younger motorists said they would lift the bonnet and try and put things right themselves before calling in the experts.
Some 45% of the UK drivers surveyed said they thought knowing about car maintenance was a "masculine need" although a third of men said they had either very little knowledge about the subject or it left them completely baffled.
Among drivers claiming to know about car maintenance, most said they had taught themselves, with others reporting that they had picked it up from family and friends.