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New research commissioned by one of the UK’s leading motor industry bodies has revealed half (50 per cent*) of Britain’s motorists neglect vital vehicle maintenance checks including oil, tyres and lights – all essential to ensuring the safety of their cars. This equates to a staggering 18 million drivers when equated to the 36 million motorists on UK roads.
The survey by Trusted Dealers, the consumer facing website of the National Franchised Dealer Association, found one in three drivers (32%) are unaware how often their vehicle should be serviced, with almost seven per cent (6.8%) of motorists admitting they never undertake routine vehicle checks.
Important maintenance factors such as oil, engine coolant and tyres are often neglected, increasing the risk of accidents for Britain’s 36 million road users.
Many drivers rely on others to get their hands dirty with 29 per cent using partners, parents or friends to undertake maintenance on their behalf. The research also found less than half of female motorists (47.4%) carry out routine checks, perhaps leaving it to the 87 per cent of their male counterparts who regularly maintain their vehicles.
Drivers in Oxford were found to be the worst offenders with 65 per cent saying they neglect regular car care. Leeds came in pole position with 64 per cent of motorists undertaking regular vehicle maintenance.
When it comes to buying a used car, however, the research showed the value of regular franchised dealer maintenance was paramount, with almost 50 per cent (47.8%) of those surveyed saying they would pay £500 or more for a fully stamped main dealer service log.
Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA said:
“Regular servicing not only keeps your vehicle running efficiently, it will also quickly highlight any potential problems or safety concerns which can be addressed before the situation worsens – saving you both money and time in the long run.
“All NFDA members are signed up to our set of Aftersales Standards which guarantee all servicing and repairs meet stringent guidelines set out in consultation with dealer members. Plus their close links with manufacturers ensure they are kept fully up to date on any vehicle recalls or possible faults. Visual safety checks will also be carried out on any visit to the dealer, offering the customer complete peace of mind.”
Neil Addley, director of franchised dealer-owned used car website Trusted Dealers, said:
“Regular maintenance, checks and servicing are the only ways to ensure your vehicle remains efficient, safe and roadworthy over its lifetime. Recent research has found UK cars are getting older, with the average age now 7.7 years** and as such regular franchised servicing is even more imperative. This is why we’ve put together our ten minute checklist designed to save you both money and time in the long run.
Trusted Dealers recommends drivers undertake the following three checks when filling their tank for the first time each month:
1. Tyre Pressure: The correct tyre pressure depends on the make and model of your vehicle. It can usually be found in the manual, printed on the inside ledge of the driver’s door or inside the petrol cap and will alter based on the weight the vehicle is carrying. To check the pressure, take off the dust cap on the valve, fix on the pressure gauge and take a note of the result. Then inflate to the required pressure and reconnect the dust cap.
2. Tyre Tread Depth: By law your car tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm in a continuous band around the central three quarters of the tyre. Although 1.6mm is the minimum, most garages will recommend replacing tyres once the tread depth is below 3mm. We have produced a handy credit card sized guide to measure tread depth which you can request by visiting www.trusteddealers.co.uk/tyres
3. Oil Level: Ensure the engine is cold and take out the oil dipstick before wiping it on a lint-free cloth. Put the dipstick fully back into the pipe and then take it out again, noting where the oil reaches on the gauge. Add or change the oil as required.
*Survey of 1,000 motorists conducted by Seventy Two Point, December 2013. A full copy of the findings are available on request.
**Research conducted by Whocanfixmycar.com, August 2014