UK motors in need of TLC

New research commissioned by one of the UK’s leading motor industry bodies has revealed that half of Britain’s motorists are neglecting vital vehicle maintenance checks essential to ensuring the safety of their cars. This equates to a staggering 18 million drivers.

The survey by Trusted Dealers, the consumer facing website of the National Franchised Dealer Association, found that one in three drivers (32%) are unaware how often their vehicle should be serviced, with 6.8% admitting they never undertake routine vehicle checks.

It revealed that 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 were also shown to be relying on others to get their hands dirty with 29% 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% of their male counterparts who regularly maintain their vehicles.

Drivers in Oxford were found to be the worst offenders with 65% saying they neglect regular car care. Leeds came in pole position with 64% of motorists undertaking regular vehicle maintenance.

Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA wants motorists of the importance of regular servicing commenting: “Regular servicing not only keeps your vehicle running efficiently, but 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.”

Neil Addley, director of franchised dealer-owned used car website Trusted Dealers, added: “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.”

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.

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.

We say:
We strongly agree with Trusted Dealers. Neglecting essential maintenance is a false economy that will not only lead to bigger repair bills and invalidate any warranty, but can also result in serious road safety ramifications. The WMS Group are passionate about improving road safety, and we are aiming to reduce the number of incidents on UK roads through our partnership with Brake, the road safety charity. Many of our dealerships also offer free seasonal health checks to ensure that our policy holders’ vehicles remain safe, reliable and roadworthy at all times. We advise customers and dealerships to contact us for more information.