Millions of Brits have admitted being completely mystified by even the simplest car maintenance, a new survey has found. More than 4 in 10 motorists don’t know how to change a flat tyre, with 37% claiming they wouldn’t be able to find the spare wheel.

6 in 10 could not replace a bulb in a headlight, while almost a quarter (24%) were unable to refill an empty windscreen washer tank and 4 in 10 did not know how to check when tyres were worn beyond the legal limit.

More than half of drivers admitted they were not confident in carrying out the most basic safety checks.

Worryingly, 26% of the 2,000 motorists surveyed by injury law specialists Accident Advice Helpline, said they went on a journey knowing there was a serious defect on their car, for example a faulty or broken brake light.

David Carter, from Accident Advice Helpline, said: “It’s quite worrying that so many motorists may be getting behind the wheel without the ability to spot simple but potentially serious maintenance issues with their car.

“Basic knowledge means problems can be nipped in the bud before they turn in to an issue which leaves a motorist stuck on the side of a motorway or busy road having to fix it.

“There’s also a serious safety issues; poor maintenance can leave a driver more at risk of causing or being a victim of accidents.”

Almost half (47%) of drivers said they relied on a partner or family friend to carry out simple maintenance.

A lack of basic knowledge meant three quarters (75%) of drivers were so clueless they relied on warning lights on the dashboard to alert them to maintenance issues.

In addition, 35% of motorists said they regularly ignored warning lights, while over half (52%) admitted they could not identify what problem each light corresponded to.

Many admitted driving with their car while it was unfit to be on the road, with motorists claiming they drove with no washer fluid (38%), faulty headlights (19%), bald tyres (14%) and even a faulty hand brake (5%).

car maintenance skills

Source: Accident Advice Helpline