How Many Basic Car Safety Checks Do You Know?

By: John Tucker

A shocking recent survey by the AA Garage Guide discovered that millions of motorists don’t know how to perform even the most basic car safety checks, with almost 1.3 million of us unable to open our own car bonnet.

More than 18,000 people were surveyed on a variety of car safety checks, some of which are included in the Q&A section of the new driving test.

Of these 18,000 people, 4% admitted to being unsure how to open the bonnet of their car in order to access the engine bay. With nearly 32 million drivers on Britain’s roads, that equates to nearly 1.3 million drivers being unable to even open their bonnet.

You would assume that every driver would know how to perform such a straightforward task, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Nearly 22%, almost 7 million drivers, didn’t know how to check their tyres to ensure that they had the legal amount of tread depth. Perhaps just as worrying were the 35% (11.2 million motorists) who didn’t know how to change a flat tyre by fitting a spare wheel. A further 9% didn’t know how to check tyre pressures.

Things don’t get any better

Given the recent icy conditions, more of which are to follow, you’d hope that drivers would be prepared. However, a worrying 22% admitted to not knowing know how to check their antifreeze level and 26% didn’t know how to top it up.

More than half of all motorists polled in the survey said they didn’t know how to check if their power steering was working and 38% admitted that they wouldn’t know how to check if there was a safe level of brake fluid.

However, learner drivers taking the new driving test questions will be expected to know to do both so perhaps it’s time to take your car’s handbook out of the glovebox and make sure you know how to perform basic car safety checks. After all, it might make the difference between getting home safely and being stuck by the side of the road in the next bout of snowy weather.

So why are people stuggling with these simple tasks?

There seemed to be a variety of reasons why people couldn’t perform even the most basic safety check, but the main reason appeared to be that many people simply didn’t want to get their hands dirty and would rather leave simple tasks to garages or high street car maintenance shops.

It’s always worth knowing how to perform some of these basic car safety checks as you just don’t know when you may need to do something to get you back on your journey. Something as simple as being able to check and top up your fluid levels can make a big difference.

Take some time to read your car’s manual. That’s the best place to start getting to know your own car inside and out. You’ll also find helpful articles on our blog, as well as the multitude of YouTube videos designed to help you perform basic tasks.

In the meantime, you can make sure your car is ready for the incoming icy weather conditions by booking our Winter Health Check for just £9.99.

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