Report shows that 1/3 of UK doesn’t know how to check brake fluid

Close up of brake fluid on black background

Leading family motor retail group JCT600 has revealed that 33% of car owners do not know how to check brake fluid and 26% of car owners wouldn’t know how to change a tyre.

With 71% of the UK currently owning at least one car and 23% of the UK claiming to undertake some, or all, of their car maintenance (YouGov), JCT600 was keen to understand the knowledge gaps that exist when it comes to maintaining cars.

Running a nationally representative survey of over 2000 respondents with FindOutNow; JCT600 found that those who went to university or completed a post-graduate degree were more likely to not know how to change a tyre (25% and 29%), windscreen wiper (18% and 22%), or check their brake fluid (32% and 39%).

The survey found significant differences between men and women’s car maintenance knowledge with only 16% of men unsure how to check brake fluid compared to 36% of women, highlighting a clear gender automotive knowledge gap.

When looking at differences across the country, Northern regions lacked the most car maintenance knowledge, with people from the North West most likely to not know how to change a tyre (26%) and people from North East most likely to not know how to change windscreen wiper blades (22%). People from Wales were also most likely to not know how to check brake fluid (31%).

Just some of the results from JCT600’s survey include:

  • 33% of car owners do not know how to check brake fluid
  • 26% of car owners can’t change a car tyre
  • 20% of car owners do not know how to change a windscreen wiper blade
  • 10% of car owners do not know how to check tyre tread
  • 9% of car owners do not know how to check oil
  • 9% of car owners do not know how to check tyre pressure

According to YouGov data, 38% of the UK only change their car tyres when “absolutely necessary”. However, JCT600’s survey found that 26% of car owners do not know how to change a tyre. Looking at generational differences, 25-34 year olds are least likely to know how to change tyre (30%). They were also most likely to not know how to change a windscreen wiper blade (22%), check tyre tread (10%), and check brake fluid (34%). Whilst 18-24s were most likely to not know how to check oil (9%) or tyre pressure (9%).

Graham Thacker, Director responsible for Aftercare at JCT600 said of the results, “With so many car owners in the UK, it’s surprising in a way how many of us do not know how to perform basic maintenance checks on our vehicles. But in another way, it’s less surprising that with such busy lifestyles, many of us choose to leave car maintenance to the professionals so that we can get on with our day. At JCT600, it doesn’t matter how little you know about car maintenance. When we service vehicles we only use manufacturer-approved parts all fitted by manufacturer-trained technicians to ensure our customers have one less thing to worry about.”

1 thought on “Report shows that 1/3 of UK doesn’t know how to check brake fluid”

  1. Kevan Chippindall-Higgin

    I am astonished that 66% do know how to check brake fluid. Even if they do, they have no idea that brake fluid is hygroscopic and needs changing every 2-3 years. Failure to do so not only brings the boiling point of the fluid right down, it also gives rise to corrosion in the master and wheel cylinder, brake lines and above all, the ABS unit. If that goes, it is a four figure part plus fitting.

    The level of technical knowledge among driving instructors is lamentably low and a national disgrace. No wonder the poor pupils are so ignorant. DVSA is just as bad. Many of the show me tell me official answers are incomplete and one, indicators, is flat out wrong.

    Very few people understand the function of tread. 90% of my students tell me that tread gives grip. Not in the dry. The function of tread is to pump the water from the road surface thus creating greater grip. The key point to understand is that as the tyre wears, so its pumping ability decreases and thus grip in the wet is compromised.

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