Nearly 30% of American drivers have ignored their ‘check engine’ light for a month or more!

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Research commissioned by Jiffy Lube and conducted by OnePoll examined the issues Americans commonly experience in their vehicle and how quickly we deal with them. (Photo by William Krause on Unsplash)

One in seven motorists is driving around with a potentially serious issue in their vehicle, according to new research.

From mysterious rattles to burnt-out headlights and fluid leaks — it’s perhaps no surprise that two in five drivers feel it’s ‘just a matter of time’ before their vehicle breaks down.

A study examining the diagnostic abilities of 2,000 American drivers found the average car currently has three things that don’t function as they should.

A rattling noise (17 percent), squeaky brakes (15 percent) and the “check engine” light on (15 percent) were the most commonly identified problems.

But that may be expected — for those who’ve had their “check engine” light come on, 29 percent admit to ignoring it for a month or more before actually bringing their car to the shop.

Commissioned by Jiffy Lube and conducted by OnePoll in advance of summer road trip season, the survey examined the issues Americans commonly experience in their vehicle and how quickly we deal with them.

Results found that 62 percent of respondents have experienced a breakdown — and in the past year, the average respondent has encountered two flat tires and ran completely out of gas twice.

Thirty-nine percent feel relief when they arrive at their destination and 32 percent thank their car when they get somewhere safely.

But while we might not have absolute faith in our vehicles, results show Americans have faith in themselves — as 54 percent feel they can successfully self-diagnose issues in their car.

Twenty percent of respondents say they’re the first to look at their car when something goes wrong, followed by asking their significant other (18 percent).

They might be able to self-diagnose, but many Americans aren’t able to fix the issues themselves. Twenty-one percent of respondents don’t know how to change a flat tire and 19 percent don’t know how to jumpstart their car.

Some people are, perhaps, more realistic about their knowledge when it comes to vehicle maintenance, and 40 percent say the first to take a look when something stops working is a service technician.

The average respondent last took their car to a service center or dealership just over six months ago — but they may not have had everything checked.

While it’s recommended to have brakes checked twice a year, a third of respondents haven’t had their brakes checked by a service technician in more than six months.

For those who aren’t taking their car to the shop often enough, the top reasons are not being able to afford having their car looked at or fixed (27 percent), believing there’s nothing wrong with their car (26 percent) and not having enough time (21 percent).


  1. A rattling noise 17%
  2. The brakes squeak or grind 15%
  3. The “check engine” light is on 15%
  4. Cracked windshield 14%
  5. A leak 14%
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  1. Feel relief when I arrive at my destination 39%
  2. Thank my car when we get somewhere safely 32%
  3. Talk to my car as I drive 28%
  4. Will my car to make it 20%
  5. Have a lucky charm in my car 19%
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  1. I can’t afford to have my car looked at/fixed 27%
  2. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with my car 26%
  3. I don’t have enough time 21%
  4. I’m confident in my ability to fix my car 19%
  5. I don’t trust technicians 15%

>> Download the video & infographic for this research story <<

NOTE: All news copy and multimedia on this SWNS account is free to use as you see fit. Where research has been conducted, we ask that you credit the company which commissioned it.

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