Out with the old and in with the new. This New Year, AA Patrols are encouraging motorists to treat their cars with a little more TLC following the results of their most recent Motoring Poll. The poll which was responded to by more than 12,300 people indicates that a significant portion of the Irish motoring population routinely neglect to check their car’s fluids, tyres and lights.
A key vehicle check; a third of those surveyed by AA Rescue said that they rarely if ever check their tyre pressure which is bad news for fuel efficiency and vehicle handling. This figure is seemingly higher again among female drivers with 37% compared to 32% of men indicating that they neglect the simple yet important task.
“Under inflated tyres means that your vehicle’s rolling resistance will increase making your vehicle more fuel thirsty.” Says Noel Keogh, Head of AA Rescue. “You also increase the likelihood of sustaining a puncture which means even more expense. But most important of all, under inflated tyres reduce your ve hicle control, increase braking distances and increase your risk of skidding.”
Another New Year’s resolution, AA Patrols are promoting is the regular checking of oil levels. 42% of those who participated in the AA Motor Insurance Poll indicated that their oil dipstick rarely sees the light of day. Once again female drivers as a collective were identified as having a worse track record as regard the basic check. 63% of men indicated they frequently check their oil levels while this figure slipped to 50% among women.
“Oil is the lifeblood of your car and without the proper level, your engine can be severely damaged. Try to check the oil level on the dipstick every couple of weeks when your engine is cold and before any long journey. ” Advises Keogh.
29% of the AA’s poll participants indicated that they hardly ever check if their lights are working, something which is especially important this time of year when day light hours are at their shortest.
The AA poll also identifies the checking of coolant levels as the most overlooked regular vehicle maintenance check. 56% of those surveyed said it’s not something they really bother with. Again the poll highlights a notable discrepancy between the two genders on this front. 67% of females compared to 48% of men stated that they tend to forget about it altogether.
AA Patrols advise motorists to check their coolant levels roughly once a week to check for a leak. “If you don’t check, in the event of a leak the first time you’re going to know about it is when you’re driving along and the car overheats.” Says Keogh. “An overheated vehicle should be taken care of straight away otherwise your car will eventually shut down leading to a more serious repair job.”
A full car maintenance checklist can be viewed at www.aaireland.ie/AA/Motoring-advice/Driving-advice/Car-Maintenance-Checklist.aspx
Notes to the editor;
Fig. 1 How often people check the following items in their car (Based on 12,322 responses)
|Your coolant levels||0.8%||43.5%||28.5%||14.9%||12.5%|
|Your oil levels||1.1%||56.7%||24.7%||11.1%||6.5%|
|Your tyre pressure||1.3%||67.0%||23.6%||5.7%||2.7%|
|Your windscreen washer fluid||1.9%||75.2%||16.2%||4.3%||2.6%|
Fig. 2 How often FEMALES polled check the following items in their car (Based on 4,992 responses)
|Your coolant levels||0.6%||32.7%||29.9%||17.9%||19.3%|
|Your oil levels||0.7%||49.7%||26.0%||13.9%||10.0%|
|Your tyre pressure||0.8%||62.3%||25.4%||7.2%||4.8%|
|Your windscreen washer fluid||1.6%||73.1%||16.4%||5.3%||3.9%|
Fig. 3 How often MALES polled check the following items in their car (Based on 7,161 responses)
|Your coolant levels||0.9%||50.9%||27.7%||12.9%||7.8%|
|Your oil levels||1.4%||61.5%||23.9%||9.3%||4.1%|
|Your tyre pressure||1.6%||70.2%||22.6%||4.6%||1.3%|
|Your windscreen washer fluid||2.0%||76.9%||16.1%||3.6%||1.7%|