Three skills young Queensland drivers don’t know
Millennials are putting their lives at risk on our roads in alarming numbers.
New research from Driver Safety Australia has found young drivers know very little about maintaining the cars they drive.
Many don't know how to check a car's oil and coolant, replace windscreen wipers or check tyre pressures.
In Queensland young drivers are turning their backs on basic car safety checks. The research showed that 86 per cent of drivers under the age of 25 don't worry about checking oil levels and tyre pressure in their vehicle. More than one-third of these drivers don't know how to perform the basic checks.
This is a concern as 33 per cent of young drivers have a car that is more than 10 years old putting them at a higher risk of breaking down. And if they do break down almost 40 per cent of young drivers don't know what to do when they break down.
Almost two-thirds of drivers said they continued to drive while their car is making an odd noise and more than half have admitted to continuing to drive their car with a known fault.
The survey showed that drivers were more than four times more likely to spend $50 to go out to dinner and twice as likely to buy close than replace a brake or headlight.
Russell White, head of Driver Safety Australia, said young drivers were ill-equipped to deal with situations where something went wrong with their car.
"The sheer startled factor of the car doing something it doesn't usually do is a worrying situation. People can panic and put themselves in a really bad situation," said Mr White.
He said that even though some of the regular safety checks seemed trivial they could have huge consequences if not routinely carried out.
"It can be anything from a minor inconvenience to something major where you end up paying the ultimate price. When we look at road safety when something goes wrong it can go wrong in a very big way," he said.
"The big thing is making sure the vehicle is roadworthy.
"Make sure the tyres are right, lubricant is full and all those under bonnet consumables such as oil are right. Anyone can check them. It can be done while you are washing the car."
Aside from the safety issues, neglecting basic maintenance can cost owners thousands of dollars.
Mark Short, a former service manager for a major Holden dealership, said skipping maintenance could hit your wallet big time.
Driving your car while it's low on oil can lead to excessive engine wear, while being low on coolant can cook the engine. Ultimately, both problems could lead to a blown engine.
If this happens you are looking at a massive repair bill that could be anywhere from $5000 to $10,000 depending on the severity of the damage.
For those with an inexpensive car, it can mean the end of the road, as the repairs aren't worth doing.
Some cars can use two to three litres of oil every 5000km, while some have been known to consume one litre per 1000km, which means you need to top up your oil in between regular services.
"When the warning light comes on it could already be too late and most people will keep driving after the light comes on. It is all about preventive maintenance," said Short.
Short also made the point that tyre pressure is one of the most important things to check on a car. He said because rubber is porous you'll naturally lose air over time and you should really be checking this monthly. Worn and flat tyres can lead to an accident which can cost you much more than money.
Driver Safety Australia has joined forces with Supercheap Auto to give free training on basic vehicle checks as part of a national "Check It" day campaign on March 28.
The aim of the free workshops is to better arm young drivers with the knowledge they need to properly maintain their vehicles and it will run at all Supercheap Auto stores nationwide.
Ireland born Orla O'Dwyer, who plays for the Brisbane Lions in the AFLW, said the training was worthwhile.
"I thought I knew how to do the checks but I didn't. But I can now check the tyres and what's under the bonnet," said O'Dwyer. "Everyone can do it, I think once you do it once you can kind of understand it. I'm a visual learner and the demonstration helped."
O'Dwyer said that the free education has given her the confidence to look for the clues as to when something might be about to go wrong with her car.
The "Check It" classes were particularly important for young people who didn't have a parent or knowledgeable friend to help them with their car.