TPMS rendered useless by apathetic component
Kwik Fit has identified a weak link in the tyre pressure monitoring systems fitted to modern vehicles – and that weak link is, it appears, you and I. The retail network commissioned a study to investigate motorist responses to vehicle warning lights – and discovered that almost a half of all drivers don’t know what a tyre pressure warning light means.
The study, conducted by ICM research using a nationally representative sample of 2011 adults, showed that while a group representing three per cent of the motoring population – one million drivers – has already been confronted by a tyre pressure warning light, only 51 per cent could correctly identify what the light was there for.
And it isn’t just TPMS warning lights failing to get our attention. It appears the British are fairly relaxed when it comes to all dashboard warning lights, be it for tyre pressure, oil or engine issues. Although 36 per cent of participants in the Kwik Fit study had been alerted to vehicle issues by at least one dashboard light in the last year, 31 per cent of these drivers didn’t investigate the cause of the light for at least give days. From this group of slackers, more than a quarter – a number representing 1.2 million motorists – are afflicted by what Kwik Fit calls ‘dashboard denial’, and still haven’t been to a garage to get the fault looked into.
Of the 13 million drivers on the receiving end of a warning light in the last year, just 29 per cent (3.7 million) had it checked out immediately, Kwik Fit shares. The remaining 5.1 million motorists (39 per cent of those whose vehicles displayed a warning light) took between one and four days to look into the underlying problem.
The warning light illuminating more than any other is the ‘engine system warning light’, as 3.6 million (10 per cent) motorists have seen it come on, whilst the ‘oil pressure warning light’ is the second most frequent offender, affecting 2.5 million (seven per cent) of motorists. The Kwik Fit survey also revealed that 400,000 vehicles may have shown a warning light their drivers couldn’t identify, which could mean that, for many, ‘dashboard denial’ is a result of ignorance.
“If a warning light flashes up on your dashboard it’s important not to panic. As long as there are no visible or audible signs of a problem – and the car feels ok to drive – then it’s often ok to carry on driving calmly until the next available service centre,” commented Roger Griggs, director of communications at Kwik Fit. “It’s shocking, though, that millions of us are driving around for days – and sometimes months – with a warning light illuminated. These motorists could be risking serious engine damage at the very least, but if the issue is left to develop, and the car fails mid-drive, it could even end up causing an accident.”
Motorists in the North West are the biggest dashboard deniers – two in five (40 per cent) drivers there have been in ‘dashboard denial’ after seeing warning lights, with the South East and South West close behind with respective denial rates of 39 per cent and 36 per cent. Welsh motorists are the most diligent when it comes to investigating warning lights – just 13 per cent are dashboard deniers.