Sunday 21 July 2019

How we look after our cars and who we pay to take care of them

In focus: car fitness

Car mechanics
Car mechanics
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

A new survey gives fresh insight into how we look after our cars - and who we get, and pay, to take care of them.

The survey, conducted for the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) by Continental Tyres Ireland, found that nearly two-in-five (37pc) carry out some maintenance themselves.

But most (43pc) revealed that they go to a "trusted mechanic or workshop" for all their needs. It isn't clear from the study if the 'trusted mechanic' is employed in an official or 'shadow economy' basis. 

There is always the possibility that maintenance is split between unofficial fixing up and formal work, of course. Of the 37pc who carry out some car maintenance themselves, there is a hard core who do nearly everything themselves. 

While most owners said they keep the car in a state of reasonable road-worthiness by attending to items such as topping up tyre pressures or windscreen washer fluid, the committed minority try to do all of the maintenance without going to a franchised dealership or independent mechanic/workshop. 

Meanwhile, one-in-five owners rely on the dealer from whom they bought the vehicle for "all their maintenance and servicing needs", the survey discloses.  Of all the findings, one appears to stand out.

It shows that as many as 120,000 drivers are not aware that you can get penalty points for having defective tyres.

While it is a small section in  percentage terms - 6pc of people ignorant of the facts - it goes to show how such a substantial number could be driving around in potentially dangerous vehicles. At the same time, it is encouraging that the vast majority of motorists (94pc) are aware that driving with damaged or dangerous tyres is an offence.

Nearly half of those surveyed said they rely on a tyre retailer for advice on choice. The survey was carried out to uncover attitudes of drivers to the general care and maintenance of their cars.

Tom Dennigan of Continental, whose company supported the survey, says: "The latest SIMI research offers some great insights into Irish drivers' attitudes to their cars, regular maintenance and tyre knowledge."

However, where we get our tyres is less focused, according to the survey.

For example, it found that: l Just one in three (33pc) drivers go to their local independent motor trader/workshop.  

* Only 10pc use a franchised car dealership for a replacement tyre.  

* And only 3pc order their tyres online, an indication that side of the retail market is still in its infancy. l

* 19pc always choose the brand being replaced on their car.  l

* Around 16pc say costs dictate their choice as they go for the lowest cost option available. l

* And 15pc always go for a premium brand.

Mr Dennigan adds: "All motorists really need to get the message: you can get penalty points if you do not look after your tyres.  

"And what is even more serious, garda forensic analysis of fatal crashes has shown that damaged or worn tyres were partially responsible for one in 10 fatal crashes on Irish roads."

The  EU label which must appear on all new tyres sold in the EU already provides a lot of important information in terms of fuel consumption, wet-grip performance and rolling noise.

Indo Motoring

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