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The most Googled motoring problems in the UK

Google is often the first port of call when we have a question we don’t know the answer to, and this is no exception when it comes to dealing with the maintenance of our cars. Whether it’s changing tyres or replacing windscreen wipers, Uswitch has analysed google search data to reveal the most common motoring queries in the UK.
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Engine oil

It is vital you check your engine oil levels at least once every couple of weeks, or before a long journey. If the oil level drops too low, this can stop the engine from working and eventually lead to significant engine damage. This may affect your MOT, so it's worth doing an MOT check to make sure everything is safe and working.

You can face fines of up to £2,500 and receive three penalty points if your vehicle is found to be in a dangerous condition, which can include engine damage due to insufficient checks of the engine oil. It can even void your car insurance.

1. How much oil does my car need?

At 19,200 Google searches since August 2020, this is the most asked motoring question among Brits.

To see if your oil levels are low, you need to use a dipstick, which is usually found under the car bonnet.

Once cleaned, the dipstick should have two marks which state maximum and minimum oil levels. Push the dipstick all the way into the oil tube, then pull it back out to see where the oil line sits in relation to the two marks. You have the recommended amount of oil needed in your car when the level sits between the maximum and minimum lines.

2. How do I change the oil in my car?

This is the second most asked oil-related question, with a total of 8,640 searches.

First off, you will need to drain the old oil from the engine. Before doing so, start the car and let it run for up to two minutes so that the engine oil is warm, and it drains smoothly.

Always ensure you’re in safe surroundings for an oil change, such as a driveway or a garage with level ground.

Find the oil pan and drain plug from underneath the car, but be sure that the engine is cool enough to touch before you can locate the drain plug.

Once the drain plug is located, use an old cloth to spread underneath and place the oil pan below. Using a spanner, loosen the drain plug by turning it anti-clockwise. Remove the plug slowly and allow the engine oil to drain out; when the oil begins to slowly drip, reinsert the drain plug and tighten using the spanner.

With the oil drain pan remaining underneath the car, you should then locate the oil filter. Loosen the oil filter using a spanner by turning it anti-clockwise and removing the filter by hand.

Before you install the new oil filter you should apply some engine oil to the new gasket, this can prevent the gasket from causing an oil leak, or cracking. Then install and tighten the new oil filter by hand.

You should only begin to fill your car with the new engine oil once you have determined which oil is right for your vehicle. You should ensure the new engine oil is the recommended grade and amount identified in the owner’s manual for your car.

3. How much does changing engine oil cost?

Around 5,760 Google searches were made around the cost of changing engine oil.

The cost of changing your engine oil can vary depending on the size of your car’s engine. In the UK, prices can range anywhere between £70 to £160 if you choose to go to a franchise or dealer to carry out the task.

Purchasing engine oil can cost anywhere between £30 to £50.

Car bonnet

Knowing how to open your car bonnet is extremely important so you can complete vital checks to ensure the safety of your vehicle, including washer fluid and engine oil levels.

Completing these checks can ensure your vehicle is safe to drive, if not completed, you can face fines of up to £2,500.

1. How do I open my car bonnet?

Brits made up to 15,600 Google searches in the last year around how to open a car bonnet.

Before opening the car bonnet, you should ensure the engine is switched off and allow it to cool for up to 10 minutes.

The inside of your car may have a lever that is located on the passenger side. However, this may vary depending on the make and model. Once you have located the latch, you should then pull the lever and the bonnet will pop open.

Lift the bonnet of the car slightly and find the release catch, this should then slide to the left, and you can lift the bonnet open fully. Always make sure you’re in a safe environment for opening the car bonnet – it should never be done in high winds.

Windscreen wipers

Most windscreen wipers can work effectively for up to six months, but after this they can decline, which may affect their ability to clear your windscreen properly.

It is important to change your windscreen wipers at least once a year, as failure to do so could result in a serious accident, and in turn could affect your car insurance

1. How do I change my windscreen wipers?

This question was asked by 5,760 Google searches in the UK.

Ensure your car engine is switched off, then gently lift the windscreen wiper arms away from your windscreen. They should lock in an upright position.

You should find either a button or a tab on your windscreen wipers, this may vary depending on the make and model of your car. Once you have located the locking button, press it down, or if your car has a locking tab, push it open.

Hold the wiper arm in place and slide out the windscreen wipers. Once the old wiper is removed, slide the new one into the same position on the windscreen. If you have a locking button this should automatically click into place, however if you have a tab you may have to click this in place yourself.

Once attached, carefully lower the wiper back onto the windscreen.

2. How do I remove my windscreen wipers?

With around 2,040 Google searches, this is the second most asked question about windscreen wipers.

You should only remove windscreen wipers once your car engine is switched off, to ensure they don’t move suddenly.

Lift the windscreen wiper arm away from the windscreen, and it should lock in an upright position. Once you have located a button or a tab on your wipers, either press the button down or push open the tab, hold the windscreen wiper arm in place and this should eventually slide out.

3. How do I replace the rubber on my windscreen wipers?

Lastly, receiving 840 Google searches in the last year, drivers in the UK are keen to know how they can replace the rubber on windscreen wipers.

The answer is it is better to replace the entire windscreen wiper. The rubber used to wipe the windscreen glass can break down due to weather conditions, dust, and dirt. However, the wiper blade itself will eventually become weak and lose tension and should be replaced entirely at this point.

Windscreen repairs

Certain weather conditions and a change in temperature can have an impact on your windscreen. If you’re driving in cold weather conditions using warm heaters, this can cause stress on the windscreen which encourages cracks to develop.

By law, you are required to ensure all glass on your vehicle is well maintained to avoid obscurity of vision. If a chip in the glass is left untreated, this could result in a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points.

1. How do I repair a windscreen chip?

With around 1,680 Google searches, this question is the most searched for windscreen-related motoring query.

Local dealers and franchises may offer a windscreen repair service, however there is a method for doing this at home by using a windscreen repair kit which can often be found online or in relevant stores.

Start by removing any loose glass fragments by scraping over the windscreen using the razor blade provided in the repair kit. Then, attach the applicator base to the windscreen ensuring the centre ring sits directly above the chip.

Screw the resin chamber provided clockwise into the centre ring, it will then meet the windscreen. Squeeze six drops of the resin into the chamber.

Screw the pressure driver into the chamber, this will then force the resin into the windscreen chip. Allow the resin to absorb for around four to six minutes. Then, unscrew the pressure driver and screw back in if not repaired after a few minutes. Damaged areas should show up as black or green on the windscreen.

After this, remove everything and clean away any excess resin. Then cover with the curing strip and move your car into direct sunlight.

2. How big of a chip can be repaired on a windscreen?

With 840 Google searches, Brits are keen to know at what size and depth a windscreen chip, or crack, can be repaired.

With any windscreen damage you should ensure you look to fix it immediately, before the problem worsens. Cracks of around three inches long, or chips around one inch deep, can be repaired.

It is advised to seek advice from a technician specialising in windscreen repairs. Usually, repairs can take place on cracks of up to 18 inches.

3. How much does windscreen chip repair cost?

840 Google searches centred around the cost of repairing a chipped windscreen.

Windscreen chips left without repair will likely turn into a crack, which could result in the need for a new windscreen entirely.

To have a chip repaired often depends on its size, the repair can cost anywhere between £50 to £70.

Brake lights

With winter approaching there’s no better time to check if the lights on your vehicle are working correctly. Brake lights should be checked once a week and regularly cleaned. If your brake lights are broken or don’t work as they should, you could face a £60 fine and three penalty points on your license.

1. How do I fix a broken brake light?

This question has been asked in almost 600 Google searches.

The cause of a broken brake light can be down to many different elements, such as a broken bulb, a burnt fuse, or even a malfunctioning brake light switch.

The most common reason for a brake light failure is a broken bulb, this is easily repaired by removing the current bulb, and replacing it with a new one.

A brake light with a burnt fuse can also be replaced. The owner’s manual will help you locate the fuse panel for your vehicle. You can then find the appropriate fuse in need of repair.

Use a fuse puller or a pair of pliers to remove the current fuse, if the element is broken then the fuse will need replacing. A new fuse can be sourced from relevant shops, simply re-insert the new fuse and check the brake light is working correctly.

If your car has a malfunctioning brake light switch, the best advice is for this to be checked over by a specialist technician.

Brake lightBrake light

Joel Kempson, Car Insurance expert at Uswitch, said:

“It is important to conduct safety checks on your vehicle regularly. This includes the engine oil levels, the windscreen, windows and mirrors, and all lights.

Failure to carry out these checks can result in fines of up to £2,500 and three penalty points on your driving license for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.”

No matter how young or experienced a driver you are, you should always take time to get to know your car to ensure safe driving, prevent damage and avoid hefty fines. If you’re looking for young driver insurance or car insurance for over 50s , compare car insurance providers here.