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  • Majority of motorists check how their car looks, but not how it stops

New research* released today by Kwik Fit reveals that almost three quarters of motorists (73%) don’t regularly check their brakes for wear. This is in stark contrast to the attention that owners pay to their car’s appearance – nearly two thirds (65%) of motorists carry out car care activities such as washing or vacuuming at least once a month.

Half of British motorists (48%) say they don’t check their brakes because they don’t know how to, but for one quarter of the nation’s drivers there is no excuse – they say they know how but just don’t bother. Only nine million of Britain’s 33 million drivers say they regularly inspect their brakes.  These findings indicate that there are up to 22.6 million cars on Britain’s roads which are not having regular brake checks**.

Women appear to be more blasé about their car’s ability to stop than men, with only one in five female drivers (21%) checking their brakes regularly, compared to a third of men (34%).

Those in East Anglia are the least likely to perform regular brake checks, and they are also least likely to wash or vacuum their car each month.  They are followed by Welsh motorists and those in the South East. Drivers in the East and West Midlands and the South West are relatively diligent when it comes to checking their brakes, compared to the rest of the motoring population.  Cars in the South West are most likely to look their best, with 71% of owners giving them some attention at least once a month.

Region Percentage of motorists who do regularly perform brake checks Percentage of motorists who do carry out car care activities at least once a month
East of England 23% 48%
Wales 25% 59%
South East 25% 64%
Yorkshire & Humberside 27% 68%
Scotland 28% 70%
London 29% 70%
North West 30% 65%
North East 30% 65%
West Midlands 31% 62%
East Midlands 31% 69%
South West 31% 71%

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “Along with its tyres, a car’s brakes are the most important system in keeping a car safe on the road.  However, it seems that for many cars, the only time they will be checked is during the annual MOT and service.

“With so few motorists checking their brakes, it suggests that many are waiting until the more obvious signs of deterioration appear – such as squealing, grinding, sponginess or worse, failure.  Unfortunately this could be an all too costly delay.

“It is a relatively simple and quick job to check the condition of a car’sbrakes, but any motorist who doesn’t know how to, or would like an expert opinion, can visit their nearest Kwik Fit for a free check.”

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