More than half UK drivers can't replace a wheel themselves
Generation issue: three quarters of 18-25 year olds said they can't do it
New research has discovered that more than half of drivers in the UK can't fit a spare wheel if their car has a puncture.
The study, carried out to see what percentage of the nation's motorists can carry out 'basic' maintenance tasks on their cars, found that 55 per cent said they'd not have a clue what to do with a jack and a locking nut.
But a review of the new car market shows that knowing how to change a wheel is becoming less of a necessity, as just 42.5 per cent of models now come with a spare as standard.
A survey carried out by Leasing Options of 1,000 drivers asked if they were savvy enough to carry out simple tasks on their car, from opening the bonnet to checking the oil and brake fluid.
Of the all the drivers quizzed from a number of the nation's major cities, including Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, London and Newcastle, just 45 per cent said they could replace a wheel on their own.
However, with fewer and fewer cars being sold with full-size or smaller space-saver spare wheels,changing a wheel will soon become a redundant skill altogether.
CAP Automotive, specialists in car valuations, conducted a review of all the new cars currently on sale, finding 57.5 per cent of all showroom vehicles come with a puncture repair kit in the boot instead of a spare.
With the growing popularity of run-flat tyres — those with stiffer side walls that can be driven for short periods when punctured - and carmakers striving to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions outputs, repair kits have have been favoured by manufacturers over heavier spare wheels as the standard equipment to rectify a flat tyre.
CAP's findings correlate with Leasing Options results, which provided evidence for an inability to change a wheel being a generation issue — 76 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds said they didn't know how to do it.
The survey results threw up a number of other surprising figures too, suggesting one in five UK drivers don't know how to open their car bonnet.
At a more granular level, a third of women said they didn't know how to release the lock on their car hood, along with two in five 25 to 34 year olds.
Alarmingly, one in ten of the motorists interviewed admitted they would use boiling water to clear their frozen car windows on a winter day, rather than the correct method of using de-icer.
And there were causes for concern when it comes to safety, with just 19 per cent of UK drivers knowing the correct stopping distance when driving at 30mph.
Over a third of participants (37 per cent) thought the stopping distance when travelling at 30mph was nine metres, when in fact it's more than double that — 23 metres.
More than half also admitted to not knowing how to adjust the height of the steering wheel in their vehicle.
Mike Thompson, brand manager at Leasing Options, said the firm was surprised by the findings and urged those without maintenance knowledge to leave tasks to trained mechanics.
'We want to ensure Brits are safe on the roads when the weather makes driving conditions more risky,' he said.
'We were shocked by some of the results and as a nation we need to make time to get to know our cars.
'Carrying out tasks on your vehicle without the correct knowledge can not only put yourself but others on the road in danger.
'We recommend that drivers who are unsure about the correct procedures to follow do not carry out the tasks themselves but seek help from a professional.'
THE AA CHANGES 800 WHEELS A DAY BECAUSE MOTORISTS CAN'T
According to the AA in the UK, the second most common reason people call for breakdown assistance is for tyre problems.
David Bruce, of the AA’s mobile tyre fitting service AA Tyres, said: 'Last year, the AA had more than 300,000 call-outs from motorists wanting help changing their tyres – that’s well over 800 per day.
'In many cases, such as being stuck on the hard shoulder of a busy motorway, it is much safer to call your breakdown service.
'Surprisingly, despite the number of tyre-related call outs the AA receives every year, our research reveals that 60 per cent of motorists would try and change a wheel if they were in a safe place. However, just a quarter of women would try compared to 78 per cent of men.
In line with CAPs findings, the AA believes more than half of Britain’s new cars are not equipped with a spare wheel.
'Rather than being equipped with a spare wheel, they have a reflation kit with sealant for a temporary repair, or there is a run-flat tyre allowing the driver at least to get to a safe place to summon help,' Bruce added.
'However, again in many cases, motorists are unsure on how to use the temporary sealant kits.
'Meanwhile, those who do try to change their wheels, may find out the nuts are too tight to turn and they just can’t get the wheel off.'