Average person drives around for 9 days with ‘Check Engine’ light on before taking car in for service

NEW YORK — While many Americans are still sheltering in place, their more mobile neighbors are finding a way to take quarantine on the road. A new survey finds the average driver still hits the road four times each week — despite suggestions to stay home.

With the pandemic on everyone’s mind however, many are still a bit wary of communicating face-to-face. Sixty-nine percent say they would take advantage of a pick-up/drop-off service if their vehicle needed to be serviced.

As many states begin to increase social distancing requirements again, many respondents want to see businesses taking serious measures to maintain safety. Nearly four in five (78%) think it’s vital to know the precautions a business is taking before visiting a location. The top three things consumers are looking for in their future vehicle services are social distancing between employees and consumers (62%), requiring PPE face coverings for employees and consumers (51%), and touchless/hands-free transactions (43%).

Do Americans really care for their cars?

car maintenance The survey of 2,00 drivers, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Hyundai, also revealed the average person drives 7,460 miles before changing their oil. That’s more than the typical recommended distance of 5,000 miles.

Forty-seven percent of Americans have been late or missed an event due to a vehicle malfunction. Among those mishaps, half of those drivers couldn’t make it to work on time. Over a third have missed a birthday celebration (35%) and nearly as many missed a get-together with friends (32%) all due to auto trouble.

In spite of so many breakdowns, four in five think they take good care of their vehicles. The survey also finds one in three confess to driving with a check engine or maintenance light on. In fact, the average driver will keep going for nine days with a warning light on before taking their vehicle in for maintenance.

Among the most common bad car habits are driving with bad tire pressure (26%), not using the parking brake (22%), and shifting into reverse while the car is in motion (21%).

Beyond the daily wear and tear of the road, one in four Americans have not had their vehicles serviced in the past 12 months. So why aren’t people taking better care of their cars? Over half of respondents admit they find maintaining their set of wheels intimidating. Forty-five percent add it’s the expense that keeps them getting their car fixed.

Auto shop apprehension

car maintenance A quarter say they just don’t have the time to wait around for their car to be serviced. One in three drivers blame their lack of knowledge and three in ten claim their technician’s attitude keeps them out of the repair shop.

“In order to keep up with the demands of daily life, routine vehicle maintenance is important to ensure you can get to your destination safely and reliably. Now with Hyundai Complimentary Maintenance, Hyundai is making it easier for car owners to maintain their vehicles and have peace of mind. Especially with the ongoing pandemic, it’s also important to be safe while getting routine vehicle maintenance, which is why we are offering service pick-up and drop-off, and we are providing guidelines for dealerships to help safeguard the health of customers and employees,” says Hyundai Chief Customer Officer Barry Ratzlaff in a statement.

That lack of knowledge is evident when it comes to respondents’ upkeep of their vehicles. Seventeen percent admit they don’t know how to change their oil by themselves. Thirty-seven percent said they could, but not without some instructions. One in ten confessed they couldn’t change a tire alone and 36 percent said they could, but would need to look up a how-to guide.

“While it’s valuable to know basic skills like changing a tire, your local dealership is the best place for regular maintenance and other services when it’s needed. Taking your vehicle in for routine maintenance at its normal intervals helps improve the performance and extend the life of your car,” Ratzlaff adds.