CHECK: Do you check your oil levels?
Two-thirds of UK motorists are putting the lives of their vehicles in danger by not realising that engine oil has an expiry date.
New research by automotive repair company Kwik Fit has found 21.8million drivers are unaware their oil deteriorates over time.
Furthermore, 3.7million motorists in the UK believe they can safely wait more than three years before engine oil loses effectiveness – despite the correct timescale being just one year.
Even more shockingly, a whopping one million drivers say they never have the engine oil in their car changed.
The findings are particularly worrying, claim Kwik Fit, as such road users may not experience any noticeable effects of old or dirty oil until it is too late.
Indeed, failing to regularly check or change engine oil can potentially cause irreparable damage to vehicles.
Figures reveal that those over the age of 65 are most vigilant, with 68% ensuring their oil is changed at least every 12months.
However, less than half (49%) of those aged between 18 and 24 are aware of the correct timeframe for a change.
The study also found that female drivers are three times more likely to be unaware of how frequently their car’s oil is changed than male motorists.
Roger Griggs, Director of Communications at Kwik Fit, said: “These results are alarming, with many motorists admitting they pay very little attention to what is happening under their car’s bonnet.
“There seems to be a serious lack of knowledge when it comes to oil and this appears to be more common among younger motorists.
“These findings only confirm that more needs to be done to ensure people are aware of the problems and expense that neglecting regular oil changes can lead to.
“In addition, drivers need to make sure that they are using the oil that fits the manufacturer’s specification.
“Using cheaper oil can be a false economy if it does not meet the specific lubricant requirements of their engine.
“The most common failures we see due to incorrect or deteriorated oil is the blockage of the exhaust gas recirculation valve and the diesel particulate filter.
“Incorrect oil has even been known to cause significant internal engine damage and the effects are incredibly tricky, or complex, and expensive to reverse.”
Engine oil will degrade over time due to dirt ingress and additive depletion – this is the natural result of the oil keeping moving parts lubricated and clean.
Motorists should always follow manufacturer’s recommendations on how often oil should be changed and topped up, claim Kwik Fit.
“It is important drivers check their own engine oil levels on a weekly basis using the dipstick and we recommend that the car is regularly serviced to ensure that the oil is changed every six months or so,” added Mr Griggs.
“Many engines that are using old or insufficient oil may experience knocking noises and in this instance, the car should be taken to a garage as soon as possible to avoid irreparable damage to the engine.”
Image courtesy of Mark Allanson, with thanks.