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Confidence around car maintenance in the UK

Many drivers recognise the importance of safe driving practices, but car safety goes far beyond our abilities behind the wheel. The importance of conducting essential car maintenance tasks such as checking tyre tread depth can often be underestimated. Our recent survey of 2,000 British drivers revealed that a staggering three in four  (76%) Brits admit to struggling with performing car maintenance tasks. 

Our research highlights key insights around the nations’ confidence while performing car maintenance, revealing the tasks drivers feel the least confident undertaking and the cities that struggle the most with different aspects of ensuring their cars maintained and road worthy.

The car maintenance tasks that the nation feels the least confident performing

Rank Task Percentage Number of UK
drivers who don’t
feel confident
carrying out the
1 Changing a tyre 27% 11,392,317
2 Oil change 24% 10,131,507
3 Checking brake fluid levels 21% 8,993,503
4 Checking tyre tread depth 13% 5,440,312
5 Changing your windshield wipers 12% 5,264,290

Changing a tyre was found to be one of the most unnerving tasks, with an estimated 11 million drivers admitting they would not feel confident performing a tyre change. This was closely followed by conducting an oil change (24%) and checking the brake fluid level (21%).

Drivers in Nottingham are the most confident when performing car maintenance

Our research shows that Nottingham leads the way when it comes to car maintenance confidence, with almost two in five (38%) motorists in the city saying they feel comfortable performing all car maintenance tasks. This is closely followed by Plymouth (36%), and Bristol (33%). 

At the other end of the spectrum, 81% of motorists in Liverpool and 80% in Birmingham say there are certain car maintenance tasks they struggle with. Drivers in London (79%) followed closely behind as the third least confident city.

Drivers aged 55 and over are significantly more confident when conducting car maintenance 

Alongside location, age was found to play a significant role in how confident drivers are when performing car maintenance. Fewer than one in ten (6%) of those aged 17 to 24 said they felt confident carrying out all necessary car maintenance compared to almost two in five (37%) motorists aged 55 and over.

Rank Age The percentage of people
who felt confident to
perform all car
maintenance tasks
1 17-24 6%
2 25-34 11%
3 35-44 12%
4 45-54 25%
5 55+ 37%

If like most of the nation you don’t feel confident undertaking car maintenance yourself and prefer to look to professionals to conduct these tasks, there are some key things to in mind to help ensure you get the best service.

Tips when using a professional to help with car maintenance 

1. Take time to research
By conducting a quick internet search, you should be able to get a brief estimate of roughly how much each service should cost, giving you a ballpark figure. 

2. Find a second opinion
If you have received a quote that is more than you anticipated after researching the service, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion. This can help give you a figure to benchmark against to ensure the original estimate is correct. 

3. Always discuss the price prior to a service 
To avoid any hidden surprises when it comes to your car maintenance bill, it is important to get a rough cost estimate before the service is carried out. Having a written estimate ensures you have something to hold the person conducting the work accountable to. 

4. Conduct background research on the garage
With a quick internet search, you should be able to read reviews that have been posted for garages, so you can see what experiences pervious customers have had.

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Sources and methodology 

The survey data collected in this study was based on a survey of 2,016 UK drivers, which took place in February 2022.