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‘Your kids can’t but neither can you: over a third of middle-aged drivers unable to change a tyre’

11 April 2017 - Research released today has found that over a third (38 per cent) of UK drivers aged between 45 and 55 confess that they don’t feel confident changing a tyre on their vehicle.

Despite much ‘finger-pointing’ at the millennial generation for not knowing how to look after their vehicle, with older generations supposedly being far more capable when it comes to care and repair, research from fleet leasing and business mobility specialist, Alphabet, in conjunction with Arlington Research, has actually found that a sizeable proportion of those millennials’ parents can’t or won’t change their vehicle’s tyres either.

The research, which surveyed 1,500 UK road users, does show that 62 per cent of 18-24 year olds struggle when it comes to changing a tyre and over a third say they don’t know how to check either their tyre tread or pressure. But it also found that almost a quarter (23 per cent) of middle aged people can’t change their oil, and more than one in ten (12 per cent) can’t change the windscreen washer fluid in their vehicles.

On the regional breakdown, it appears that drivers in Yorkshire and the South West feel really uneasy about changing their vehicle’s tyres, with almost half of respondents (47 per cent) in Yorkshire and the South West admitting it’s something they can’t do. When it comes to changing the oil, 40 per cent of respondents in Yorkshire claimed they couldn’t do it and 41 per cent in the South West.

Commenting on the research, Matt Sutherland, Chief Operating Officer of Alphabet, said: “While this research shows that it’s not just the millennial generation that struggle with vehicle upkeep, what it also shows is that as a society we are becoming more and more reliant on experts and third party providers to assist us with vehicle maintenance.

“We’re not lazier; we’ve just become accustomed to a different way of managing our daily lives. On-demand services are now an integral part of most people’s busy lives. It’s now more convenient and affordable to include services like maintenance and breakdown as just another part of the ‘vehicle package’ that you lease or own. It removes a lot of hassle and worry for drivers who are increasingly time poor, providing them with reassurance and peace of mind. The technology is now so sophisticated that as soon as a warning light goes on in your car, the car also informs your leasing company who can be in contact with you the same day to book it in for a service.”

The shift towards greater reliance on technology and technical expertise was further reflected by the research, which found that over a quarter (27 per cent) of all drivers said that they don’t check the oil level in their vehicle until a warning light or beeper tells them to do so. A further 26 per cent also said that they will wait to refuel until they’re warned to do so.

“There is also a safety element here in that many companies advise their drivers not to change their tyres themselves and leave it to a trained professional,” continued Sutherland. “We would encourage drivers of all ages to familiarise themselves with the basics of vehicle maintenance, such as checking their tyre pressures, tyre tread depth and oil levels. These simple ‘life-hacks’ will help you stay safe on the road and hopefully avoid the inconvenience of breaking down.”