Dashboard denial

New research reveals that four million motorists have suffered from ‘dashboard denial’ in the last year, ignoring a warning light for five days or more.

A new study for Kwik Fit, the automotive repair company, has found that 13 million motorists (36 per cent) have been alerted by at least one dashboard light in the last year.

However, a third of those (31 per cent or four million) didn’t investigate the cause of the light for at least five days.

The research showed that of these, 1.2 million continue to be afflicted by ‘dashboard denial’ – drivers who still haven’t been to a garage to get the fault looked into and are risking a breakdown.

Of the 13 million drivers seeing a warning light in the past year, just 29 per cent (3.7 million) got it checked out immediately.

The remaining 5.1 million motorists (39 per cent of those who have had a light come on) took between one and four days to look into the underlying problem with their car.

The warning light that affects more motorists than any other is the ‘engine system warning light’ as 3.6 million (ten per cent) 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 reveals that 400,000 have had a warning light illuminate their dashboard that they couldn’t identify, which could mean that for many ‘dashboard denial’ is a result of ignorance.

An illuminated ‘tyre pressure warning light’ has been seen by one million (three per cent) motorists, but in reality this figure could be a lot higher because a Kwik Fit study found that the tyre pressure warning symbol was the most unrecognised light – less than half (49 per cent) knew what it meant.

Roger Griggs, director of communications at Kwik Fit, said: “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.

“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.

“Although the engine warning light is the most commonly occurring, it’s potentially the most serious. We would urge any motorist who sees it flash up when they’re driving to have a diagnostics check run on their car at the very earliest opportunity.”