Friday, November 15Serving the aftermarket

Younger drivers lack vehicle maintenance knowledge

Half of 18-24 year-old drivers don’t know how to check oil levels or tyre pressures on a car, yet those over 55 leave them standing when it comes to routine maintenance according to research by Continental Tyres.

Older motorists are more than three times more likely to replace a dodgy bulb, and twice as likely to change windscreen wiper blades as their younger counterparts. The ‘savvy seniors’ have the confidence to manage minor motoring matters, improving their safety and saving them money by avoiding unnecessary trips to the garage.

The study of 2,000 drivers revealed that eight in ten young drivers recognise they could save money by mastering routine maintenance and 62% said they would feel good about being able to do more. Some 45% of those over 55 would tackle changing a tyre, yet just 19% of 18-24 year-olds would do likewise. Surprisingly, only 56% of the youngest drivers would be comfortable about topping up their screen wash.

Mark Griffiths, safety expert at Continental Tyres said: “A lack of confidence and know-how on routine maintenance issues like tyre tread depth, tyre pressure and visibility present risks that could result in accidents. It is also likely to mean that younger drivers are spending money they don’t need to by requiring professional help to do simple tasks.”

“Maybe older people have a ‘make do and mend’ mentality where their younger counterparts believe the options are simply update or upgrade as that is the world they have grown up in. However, being able to confidently tackle minor maintenance has a bearing on safety for all road users.”

Technology matters

The detailed research also identified the very different driving experience of people based on their age reflecting changing habits and new technologies. Just one in ten drivers aged 18-24 would feel very confident navigating using a paper map, whilst 55% of older car owners would confidently tackle the challenge.

Young drivers recognise their failings and that older motorists know best. Over 80% of the youngest group in the study believed their parents more able than they were at car maintenance. In what might be a dying art, even half of those aged over 55 said their parents would be better equipped than they are.

Griffiths added: “All age groups pointed to people becoming more tech-savvy and less mechanically-minded, with younger people having an advantage. But when it comes to cars and recognising the advances being made, they are highly developed machines with both mechanical and technological features developed by brands such as Continental.

“The more knowledge and insight we all have, the better our driving experience and the safer the environment for all.”