Are you a dipstick about what's under your bonnet? One in six drivers cannot identity a single main component of their car engine

  • One in six drivers cannot identify a single main component in the car engine
  • Among all drivers, one in eight are unable to even open the bonnet
  • Brake fluid is the most commonly misidentified car part under the hood
  • Problem is exacerbated by widely varying layouts of modern car engines

Basic engine knowledge crucial to avoiding expensive car bills is beyond many motorists - for one in six drivers cannot identify a single main component under their bonnet, a new study reveals.

And researchers found that among all drivers, one in eight were unable to open the hood of their car.

As part of a study commissioned by LV= Road Rescue, researchers undertook a roadside assessment and asked a total of 2,000 drivers to open their car bonnet to identify the seven main car parts underneath.

Many drivers surveyed were unable to even open the bonnet of their vehicle. Stock image used

Many drivers surveyed were unable to even open the bonnet of their vehicle. Stock image used

However, many fell at the first hurdle with 12 per cent of drivers unable to open their own car bonnet.

Despite both old and new cars requiring regular maintenance many drivers struggle to identify the key car parts involved in car maintenance.

Over a third of drivers (36 per cent) could not correctly identify where to put the brake fluid, while a quarter (25 per cent) couldn't find the engine coolant and 10 per cent were unable to pinpoint the oil filler cap.

Even the more simple car parts confused a number of motorists, with some unable to identify the oil dipstick (7 per cent) or car battery (7 per cent).

When shown photographs of key components found under the bonnet of a car, the only parts that more than half of motorists could correctly pinpoint were the windscreen washer reservoir (52 per cent could name it); the oil filler cap (61 per cent) and the bonnet catch itself (63 per cent).

The problem is being exacerbated by the fact that the look and location of car parts can vary greatly between car manufacturers and models.


1. Brake fluid (79 per cent of motorists answered incorrectly or didn't know)

2. Coolant (70 per cent)

3. Oil dipstick (54 per cent)

4. Battery (51 per cent)

5. Windscreen washer reservoir (47 per cent)

6. Oil filler cap (38 per cent)

7. Bonnet release safety catch (36 per cent)

LV= Road Rescue compared 16 of the most popular makes of car in the UK and found that only the car battery and brake fluid are located in similar places. The engine oil filler cap, oil dipstick, engine coolant, and windscreen washer cap varied in position significantly.

This lack of car knowledge means that a large proportion of motorists are not carrying out the basic maintenance required on their vehicle. Two fifths of motorists (40 per cent) confess that they don't do any checks on a regular basis, which can lead to car damage or a breakdown.

Experts at LV= Road Rescue advised not maintaining a car properly, for example by running an engine without coolant, can lead to problems that can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds to fix.

Peter Horton, Managing Director of LV= Road Rescue said: 'Regular car maintenance is crucial, whether your car is old or new. Looking after your car will prolong the time you get to enjoy it and will help prevent expensive car repair bills.

'Checking your oil level is one of the most important things you can do to extend the life of your engine - so get to know where to put the oil in your car and don't wait for a warning light to come on.'