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Drivers not clued up about basic car checks

People are putting their car's engine at risk by failing to carry out basic car checks. Picture courtesy: ADRIAN FOSTER
People are putting their car's engine at risk by failing to carry out basic car checks. Picture courtesy: ADRIAN FOSTER

LATEST AA research shows that two out of three drivers in the Thames Valley and South East do not know about the most basic aspects of car maintenance, such as checking oil and water levels, tyre pressures and battery condition.

The AA survey also shows that most motorists are unaware how frequently these checks should be made. One in 10 motorists put the car engine at risk by never checking the oil level. The AA recommends that this should be done once a week, but two thirds of drivers fail to do so.

And only one in 10 drivers in the region knows that the legal minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, with 58 per cent having no idea at all.

Less than a third know their car battery would, on average, only last for three to four years. Under a quarter check their engine’s coolant levels as recommended, with another 24 per cent never doing so and a further 6 per cent only doing so when they think there is a problem.

And only one in three motorists finds time to check their car's washing water levels, with five per cent of men and 13 per cent of women never checking.

Tim Shallcross, AA Technical Development Manager, said: "Modern cars are increasingly reliable, but that doesn't negate the need for basic checks, which all manufacturers detail in the owner's handbook.

“However, with people leading increasingly hectic lives, many of these checks get overlooked and, as the survey shows, the first time people pay any attention to them is when a problem arises.

"But by this time they may have suffered the inconvenience of a breakdown and, in many cases, face a hefty repair bill."

The AA research comes on the back of a new and unique benefit being offered to AA personal members - a breakdown promise "to fix your car by the road or get you another one".

While AA patrols fix around eight out of 10 vehicles, many of the 3.9 million breakdowns they attend each year are caused by motorists failing to make simple mechanical checks which could keep their cars on the road.

Tim Shallcross says: "The AA's new promise will allow our personal members to get on with their busy lives while their car is repaired."

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