One in five drivers can't open their own bonnet
The survey, conducted by tyre manufacturer Kumho, also found that half of drivers would be left stranded at the side of the road if they suffered a flat tyre, as they simply wouldn't know where to begin to try and change it.
This lack of basic car maintenance knowledge is leading to an increased reliance on roadside assistance services. One in six drivers over 30 who took part in the survey also admitted to relying on their parents to make everything better in the event of a breakdown.
The number of breakdowns could be set to rise, too, with a third of motorists relying on their annual MOT to flag up mechanical faults and to reassure them that their car is fit for use. This is despite the fact that the MOT test will not highlight most current or developing faults and doesn't even guarantee a car's roadworthiness for the whole year.
This latest study follows previous research that highlighted the fact that a third of young drivers (aged 18-25) never check their tyres tread depth is within the legal limit, and a quarter never check their tyre pressure.
Dan Woodward, brand manager at Kumho Tyre UK, said: "It's a concern that such a large proportion of British road users don't know basic car maintenance, especially something as crucial as accessing the engine bay!
"A fundamental knowledge of how your car operates ensures that drivers recognise potential warning signs, improving safety for all road users. Perhaps British drivers need to go back to basics."