Drivers in the East Midlands and Yorkshire (77% respectively) are the most confident at tackling car maintenance tasks. This compares with those in London (71%) and the South East (74%), according to an AA-Populus survey*.

Drivers were asked which tasks they felt the most confident attempting without the help of a professional. More than 97% are confident opening the bonnet and topping up the windscreen washer fluid.

The top 5 tasks that drivers feel most confident doing themselves are: 

  1. Open the bonnet – 98%
  2. Top up windscreen washer fluid – 97%
  3. Check tyre pressure – 93%
  4. Check engine oil level – 91%
  5. Top-up engine oil – 86%

Fewer than 1 in 3 drivers are confident changing the oil and filter without taking the car to a garage. Meanwhile, more than half (54%) aren’t confident checking the power steering.

The 5 tasks that drivers feel are the hardest are:

  1. Change oil and oil filter – 31% confident to do this themselves
  2. Check power steering is working – 46%
  3. Check for safe level of brake fluid – 63%
  4. Change a flat tyre / fit spare wheel – 63%
  5. Change windscreen wiper blade – 75%

Across 13 different tasks, on average 3 in 4 drivers are confident performing them. You can find the full list of car tasks and responses here.

Regional Differences 

Drivers in the Yorkshire and Humberside and East Midlands regions are the most comfortable performing these tasks (77%).

However, just 71% of those surveyed in London were confident. The second-lowest region was the South East where 74% of drivers answered confidently.

These are the tasks with the biggest differences in confidence levels: 

  • Checking the tyre tread depth – 87% of East Midlands drivers are confident versus 76% of London drivers
  • Checking the power steering is working – 48% of East Midlands drivers are confident versus 38% of London drivers
  • Changing the oil and filter – 35% of Yorkshire and Humberside drivers are confident versus 25% of London drivers

When it comes to looking for help online, London turns to Google the most for help.

As a whole, the UK asks Google for car-related advice more than any other English-speaking country, including Ireland, Australia and the US. The most-searched for questions relating to which kind of oil your car needs.**

Older and wiser

It appears that age is a deciding factor when looking at vehicle maintenance confidence, with an average of 77% of drivers aged over 65 claiming they could carry out the tasks listed in the survey.

Conversely, 1 in 3 drivers aged 18-24 weren’t confident handling the same tasks. While 97% of the youngest age bracket felt confident opening the bonnet of their vehicle, less than half were comfortable with tasks relating to flat tyres, brake fluid, power steering and oil changes.

As well as more detailed figures on how age and region affects car confidence, you can find further insights here on where people are most likely to use the internet to solve their motoring problems.

Professional Advice 

AA Patrol of the Year, Ben Sheridan, stated on the findings, “It’s important to perform regular car maintenance checks to avoid a breakdown. This is particularly true in winter and following periods where the car hasn’t been used much, such as during Coronavirus travel restrictions and over Christmas. It’s great to see that most drivers are confident in carrying out essential car maintenance themselves. If in doubt, take your car to a garage or call us for help.”

The AA recommends carrying out checks at least every two weeks as part of regular maintenance and always before a long journey.