Quarter of drivers can’t identify what’s under a car’s bonnet

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More than a quarter of drivers aren’t able to identify what is under their car’s bonnet, a new survey has revealed. The findings also discovered that over a third of drivers aren’t able to top up their vehicle’s screenwash, while one in five can’t identify the dipstick used to check oil levels.

Breakdown assistance provider Green Flag spoke to 2,000 motorists, who were shown photographs of common engine parts.

However, because of their inability to correctly identify these key areas, 31 percent of respondents leave all maintenance checks to a trained professional during the annual service.

This does, however, come with additional cost, as simple procedures such as topping up the engine oil can easily be done at home without requiring professional help.

Katie Lomas, head of Green Flag Breakdown, said: “It’s essential to carry out regular car maintenance checks to ensure your car is safe to drive, but many drivers wouldn’t know where to start.

“Without regular checks cars can quickly develop faults that can be dangerous and expensive to repair.

“Although these checks are quick and easy, a significant number of drivers end up with unnecessary expenses because they would rather pay a mechanic to conduct this work.”

The research has also highlighted that only 50 percent of drivers can correctly identify a car’s tyre pressure warning light.

In addition, a further 43 percent can’t spot a brake system warning light. More than a third cannot correctly tell when the check engine warning light has been illuminated, too.

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Ms Lomas added: “In an environment where UK drivers are already under significant financial pressure, drivers can educate themselves when it comes to identifying warning lights and carrying out basic vehicle maintenance, to improve road safety and save money.”

Another important part of car maintenance involves topping up the engine coolant. 

An expert has warned drivers that they could risk engine damage if they fail to make sure that their antifreeze levels are sufficient.

Dorry Potter, an expert at National Scrap Car, said: “A vehicle’s antifreeze/coolant level should always be at the maximum recommended level throughout the whole year.”

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The expert continued: “The purpose of antifreeze and coolant is not only to stop the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing during the winter by lowering the freezing point of the water, helping your engine block to maintain an even temperature, it is also vital for protecting your engine from corrosion, aiding heat transfer and preventing rust and scales from building up.

“Water expands when it freezes, so without antifreeze to prevent this from happening, you could cause damage to your car’s radiator and other pricey and essential engine components such as the head gasket.”

Ashley Johnson, sales manager at Parkland Motors, echoed Mr Potter’s claims saying that topping up with antifreeze is vital.

He added that there are several car maintenance checks that motorists should carry out during winter.

Mr Johnson said: “Car maintenance checks are vital to ensure your vehicle continues to perform smoothly and failing to carry out these checks can lead to a potential car breakdown.

“With temperatures dropping dramatically in the winter months, spending a few minutes performing these basic checks will prevent damage to your car which may be costly to fix.”

Speaking about antifreeze, Mr Johnson explained: “Antifreeze is an absolute must for when the temperatures start dropping into minus figures as it does exactly what it says on the tin – prevents freezing in the engine.

“Antifreeze is essential during the winter months but motorists should remember that engine coolant needs to be a mix of 50 percent water and 50 percent antifreeze.”

The expert continued: “Antifreeze becomes diluted over time as people top up the engine with water throughout the year.

“This means antifreeze becomes less and less effective when more water is added. The engine can overheat during very cold weather if the antifreeze is diluted, so it’s crucial that this is taken care of and topped up.”

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