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Have we given up on DIY car maintenance?

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Many of us will be familiar with the suburban ideal of Dad (or indeed Mum) standing in the driveway, hands dirty from fiddling around with the engine, poking a dipstick into the oil levels and so on.

But a new study* from automotive service company MotorEasy suggests that we may have passed the golden days of motoring DIY.

It found that a third of car owners nowadays delve under the bonnet and get their hands dirty fewer than four times a year, with over six in ten (62%) going two months at least without even touching the bits that make a car work.

Three possible reasons why DIY car maintenance has fallen

We’re more time-poor

In 2016, over 5.3 million people in the UK worked 7.7 hours a week in unpaid overtime, according to TUC figures. Could it be that we just don’t have the time, nor the energy for rolling up our sleeves and dealing with what’s under the bonnet, and want to do something with family and friends instead?

Technology-connected cars

Modern cars are so much more technologically smart than they used to be, with computer-driven systems designed to boost fuel efficiency, safety and convenience. Advances like smartphone integration, active safety and digital gauges make it a lot more complicated to just attempt simple maintenance.

We prefer to trust specialists

As a result of not feeling so comfortable dealing with the new technology, motorists are having to look more to specialist tools and diagnostics equipment in order to identify faults and get repairs sorted out.

However, developments in car technology can potentially help us keep control of the health of our motors. Next month MotorEasy introduces a warranty-linked ‘health monitor’ for their cars, said to be the first of its type in the world.  

Duncan McClure Fisher, MotorEasy founder, says:

“While DIY maintenance might be the domain of classic car owners and the determined few, it is clear that the service, repair and maintenance industry is changing fast.
“We always recommend that drivers carry out essential basic safety checks like tyre pressures and windscreen washer fluid levels but, from next month we should be able to empower drivers in a completely different way.”

5 tips to keep your car in good condition

  • Check your fluid levels. Oil levels should be topped up to the maximum mark on the dipstick, if you want to keep the engine healthy. Likewise, keep the radiator topped up with antifreeze.
  • Make sure all the lights are working, and keep a set of spare bulbs and fuses in the car in case you need them.
  • Check the pressure and tread depth of the tyres, as tyres that aren't inflated properly will wear out more quickly, and can also cost you more in fuel. The legal limit is 1.6mm, but replacing the tread depth at 3mm is recommended.
  • Make sure you know where to find your wheel nuts, spares and other necessary equipment.
  • The older your car gets, the more likely it is to run into difficulties or break down.  So it is worth ensuring you are protected if things go wrong.

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Those people have a work-life balance problem!  Haha!

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My brother in england doesn't work on his car at all. I would say he is typical with his attitude to cars. He has spare time and hates spending money on mechanics. He runs his car until something breaks. He is just lazy, his excuses:


-I have no where to work on the car

-I have no tools

-I dont know what im doing

-Id rather just pay someone to do it



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There is a similar discussion going on over on the Corvette Forum.  Someone in a gated community said his neighbor would not let their daughter play with his daughter because he liked to tinker on his Corvette and that made him "low class".  It seems more and more people have lost that "DIY" feeling and just do not want to spend some quality time with their cars.

Some may have gotten too old or don't have the stamina anymore, but I find doing projects on my cars both relaxing and fun.  I am 71 and plan to keep tinkering until I am no longer physically able to.

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