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Motorists need to get up to speed with vehicle servicing

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British motorists must wise up to the ways of being ‘service savvy’, a nationwide consumer survey has revealed.

More than half (52%) of the 1,338 private car owners questioned didn’t know when their next service was due, according to findings released on the opening day of the British International Motor Show in London.

Nine per cent also admitted they didn’t carry out any basic maintenance and safety checks, such as monitoring tyre pressures and oil levels, in between service intervals.

The research was carried out on behalf of Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA), the UK’s first voluntary independently run scheme, which proves the skills and abilities of car technicians to a national standard.  This scheme includes a requirement for them to sign and follow a professional code of conduct.

The findings also revealed confusion amongst motorists about the numerous sophisticated systems built-in to today’s cars.  When asked about various acronyms, nearly a third of all respondents (30%) said they had no idea what the likes of EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), VVT (Variable Valve Timing), TCS (Traction Control System) actually mean. 

The advanced technology now included on most cars has made DIY servicing a thing of the past, with 45% of people saying that, unlike their parents’ generation, they know next to nothing about maintaining their car.

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) which regulates the ATA scheme, has launched a campaign to help motorists seek out garages who employ ATA registered technicians. Sporting the slogan, ‘You know you’re OK with ATA’, consumers can search on-line at www.OKwithATA.com

The scheme has the support of consumer groups. Steve Brooker, Senior Policy Advocate at the National Consumer Council, said:

“It can be difficult for consumers to find a reliable garage, so we welcome the ATA scheme as a means to reassure motorists that their technician has been properly trained and adheres to a code of conduct.”

Sarah Sillars, Chief Executive of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), said:

“Motorists really need to get more service savvy now that cars have become so complex. This means making sure your car is well looked after at the right time.   The ATA scheme recognises technicians who have put their skills on the line voluntarily to show customers they are professionals who you can rely on.

“There are now more than 10,000 ATA registered technicians nationwide, who carry photo ID and have signed up to a code of conduct, which ensures customers get an expert service.”

Darren Wilson, a Senior Technician at Renault Enfield, was the 10,000th technician to achieve the standard.  He was presented with a bottle of champagne and a cheque for £200 by Sarah Sillars OBE at the British International Motor Show.

ENDS

Notes to Editors
- Research was carried out in July 2008 by Opinion Matters / Tickbox.net amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,338 UK adult car owners
- Results can be supplied by geographic region as well as nationally
- ATA is being showcased in Hall S1 at this year’s British International Motor Show at ExCeL, London from 23 July to 3 August.

For further information or interviews please contact Nick Trueman or Jo Mathers at Seal Communications on 0121 200 0780 / 07966 231826