What Car Maintenance Tasks Can Australians Perform?

We recently asked 1,000 comprehensive car insurance policyholders what car maintenance tasks they knew how to perform. Then out of curiosity we broke it down into men versus women and generation vs generation… Yep, battle of the sexes and wrinkles right here.

We used 16 measures, covering everything from changing a tyre and putting in petrol right up to changing brake pads and examining belts.

The results might surprise you!

Who knows how to do what when it comes to your cars?

Our latest research shows some trends that you might not expect. Other than a general lack of car maintenance knowledge (check out our car maintenance tips here to combat that) there were some stats that surprised us too!

From how many women can change windscreen washer fluid to whether millennials or boomers take the crown in terms of car maintenance, here’s what we found.

Car maintenance tasks: men vs women 

When it came to the battle of the sexes, you’re probably unsurprised to hear men won the game. From changing tyres to replacing brake pads, more men knew how to do every common maintenance task than women.

But the females are catching up, so hope is not entirely lost for stranded female motorists!

We think learning to change a tyre should be part of the school curriculum everywhere, honestly!

According to our research, the most proficient age group at changing a tyre was a tie for age 60-64 and age 45-49. The worst group? 25-29. Let’s look further at the age groups.

Car maintenance tasks: old vs young

Do years of experience and wisdom beat the confidence of youth? When it comes to car maintenance, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. That said, the older group seem to just edge out the young’uns overall.


What tasks had the highest proportion of respondents saying they knew how to do?:

  • Put petrol in the tank (82%)
  • Put air in the tyres (70%)
  • Change a tyre (58%)

The top three makes sense but still… 18% of respondents didn’t know how to put petrol in?! Sheesh. The age group with the least knowledge of this was unsurprisingly the 18-24 year olds (at 65%); however, they tied with the 30-34 year olds. Mind boggled. This compared to more than 91% of those aged 60 years and over.

keep your car's fluids topped up

Lack of knowledge

What tasks had the highest proportion of respondents saying they didn’t know how to do?:

  • Replace the brake pads (14%)
  • Flush out the radiator (18%)
  • Replace spark plugs (21%)

Replacing the spark plugs was more of an older person’s skill, with the knowledge percentage increasingly fairly steadily as the age brackets matured.

When it comes to changing brake pads though, the younger crowd are blazing the trail. Regardless, the vast majority still don’t know how to do it (86% of us), so they’re coming from a seriously low base. 21% of both 18-24yos and 25-29yos know how to do this money-saving maintenance task. This is compared to just 7% of those in the 40-44yo age group and 8% of people aged 65 to 69.

Across the 16 maintenance tasks we surveyed people about, the 60-64 age group ranked the most competent on car maintenance. As a group, on 12 of the car maintenance tasks they had the highest number of responders who could perform them. These included replacing coolant and oil filters to basics like putting petrol in the tank.

While the 18-24 age group performed poorly comparably, the 25-29 year olds weren’t ranked the least knowledgeable for a single item. Well done early 90s babies! Strangely enough, that knowledge seems to disappear when you hit 30, because those respondents aged from 30 to 34 were the least knowledgeable on eight of the common tasks like putting air in the tyres and changing a fuse.

Got car insurance? Then who needs maintenance!

If you’ve got comprehensive car insurance, then we’ve got you covered for accidents… But you’ll still need to give your car regular car maintenance, even if you’re not using your car as much.

We really recommend knowing how to do most car maintenance tasks on the list!

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