Purchasing cars is one of the great pleasures in life. Even if the new owner is not especially motor-minded, it is still nice to have that first flush of ownership be it new or used. Initially we care for our car with religious fervour but, over time, that fervour gradually becomes routine as the car becomes as much a part of life as the cooker in the kitchen and just how often does that oven get cleaned, eh? Exactly.
Familiarity with any object we own eventually takes over from pride of ownership and in the case of cars many of us are guilty of the sin of neglect. Recent research shows that as many as 61% of UK car owners are guilty of not checking their tyre pressures or oil levels as recommended by the manufacturer or indeed at all, between car servicing intervals.
Over time motorists develop bad habits regarding car maintenance and tasks crucial to the smooth running of the motor get shelved. There’s always something else to do, it seems.
It’s not about cleanliness; British drivers are pretty good at regular car cleaning, although to be fair that can often be a quick run through the local automatic car wash and a quick vacuum out with one those long-hosed suction machines. Still, a large majority clean their cars inside and out at least twice yearly and often more.
Yet curiously, well over sixty percent fail to check their tyre pressures or tread depth every month, while the oil dipstick languishes in the engine bay, untouched and unloved. All genders are more or less equally culpable.
Monthly Checks Manufacturer recommended monthly checks are vital to ensure safety on Britain’s broken, potholed highways, usually awash with rain (it is Autumn after all). Low oil levels could lead to engine damage over time and all drivers should know by now that worn tyres increase the risk of aquaplaning and loss of grip on wet roads, while under-inflated tyres increase the risk of blowouts; yet we do nothing to prevent this. It’s a mystery.
That’s why there is a need to regularly highlight the importance of vehicle checks here. The most recent Department for Transport figures, from 2017, show seventeen deaths and 719 total road casualties in reported accidents in the UK where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor, for example. That’s nearly two per day and they were all avoidable.
There is one glimmer of light thankfully. Despite the fact that the MOT test has become increasingly tough over time, there is a widespread understanding of the vital importance of the annual legally-required vehicle check. In fact, a big majority car owners state that they would still do an annual MOT even if it wasn’t a legal requirement, but it is.
That’s why, near to the driving date with destiny it is important to find your local MOT garage. A quick internet search for your home town, for example ‘MOT Bracknell’ and the job’s done. The MOT checks not only the safety of a car at that point but also gives advisories for items, not failures, that need attending to in the near future. For the rest of the year it is up to us to ensure our cars don’t suffer from neglect.