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Dated: 25 March 2011

Are British Drivers Losing Basic Mechanical Knowledge?


A recent study carried out by the oil company Castrol has found that many British motorists are choosing style over substance when it comes to buying a new vehicle.

Worryingly, many motorists are also unable to perform some of the most basic car maintenance tasks.

This point is hammered home with the statistic that a staggering four million motorists in the UK are incapable of lifting the bonnet on their prized possession.

The statistics don’t get much better with 2.6 million people (that’s almost the equivalent of the population of Wales – not that we’re saying Welsh drivers are bad mind, just putting the number into context (lawsuit avoided rather skilfully there)) have not taken their car in for a service.

One number that shot off the page and slapped us in the face was that only an eighth of motorists said they knew how to check their tyres.

It seems when it comes to maintenance – or even simple basic safety checks – there is a large proportion of drivers who just don’t know, or don’t care. They are more concerned with the appearance of the car – 67% of those who took part said it was important for their car to look good.

Recently quoted by the Daily Mail, Quentin Willson, the television presenter and ambassador for TyreSafe said, “it is both surprising and disappointing to see that British motorists on the whole are more interested in how their car looks than ensuring it is in good mechanical health.

“After all, you won't look very cool if your car breaks down on the motorway with all your friends in it.

“The real shame is that this decline in basic maintenance knowledge marks an end of the proud British tradition of tinkering under the bonnet.

“It also shows a waning in our love of all things mechanical.

“Those who ignore the basics, or don't even bother to get their car serviced, should realise that this is a false economy - both with their time and money.

“A new engine can be an expensive proposition but basic and easy maintenance tasks can ensure this does not happen.”

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