Many motorists are confused over basic motor maintenance checks, according to new research. The research tested how familiar drivers were with a modern car engine. Respondents were shown an image of an engine and asked to point out where they could find the screenwash reservoir (A), oil cap (B), coolant reserve (C) and dipstick (D).
While 79% of respondents identified all elements correctly, one in five motorists failed miserably. Over half of those who answered incorrectly confused the screenwash reservoir with the coolant reserve. Alarmingly, three percent of motorists would make an expensive and potentially dangerous mistake of filling their screenwash reservoir with motor oil. Another two percent made a fatal error of putting coolant in their oil; an action likely to cost them a new engine.
Even when drivers do check their oil correctly, the survey found they are simply not doing it regularly enough. Every year, oil starved engines cost motorists thousands of euro, yet only 60% take the time to check their dipstick before embarking on a long journey of 100 miles or more. And even if they did need to top-up, only 2 in 5 admit to carrying oil in the car. Conversely, for those journeying abroad, and expecting to travel over 3,000 km this figure doubles.
Motorists who checked their oil and those who carry a reserve of top-up oil
Estimated mileage Checked oil
Carry Top-up oil
Less than 100 miles 38% 38%
100 – 2,000 miles 59% 39%
More than 2,000 miles 85% 83%
Checking oil is still relatively simple. It’s important to check it regularly it should be part of a driver’s weekly routine. If you are unsure how to check the oil level, refer to the owner’s manual or ask your mechanic when the vehicle next visits a garage for a service.