Many women unprepared for car trouble but intend to call spouse for help

June 15, 2014 (Foster City, Calif.) -- Half of female drivers in the U.S. have never changed a tire, and a third say they do not know how, according to new survey., an auto insurance comparison-shopping website, asked 2,000 men and women, all married homeowners with children, about their abilities to deal with car-related maintenance and problems. Some coping techniques were universal: 63 percent of all respondents said they had purposely ignored a dashboard warning light, and 60 percent said they had imitated car noises for a mechanic.

“Women were slightly less likely to ignore a warning light or try engine karaoke at the repair shop,” said Managing Editor Des Toups.

The bigger differences between the sexes involved hands-on experience, the survey found.

  • 93% of men have checked their car’s oil; 78% of women have
  • 93% of men have checked tire pressures; 76% of  women have
  • 88% of men have jump-started a car; 65% of women have
  • 88% of men have changed a tire; 47% of women have

And more women admitted they don’t know how to:

  • Check oil: Men 4%; women 13%
  • Check tire pressures: Men 4%; women 15%
  • Jump-start a car: Men 7%; women 26%
  • Change a tire: Men 6%; women 33%

“There was a time before cell phones when you had to know how to do these things,” Toups said. “Even now, knowing how to change a tire rather than call emergency road service could keep you from making an auto insurance claim.”

Indeed, the percentage of drivers who said they had changed a tire or jump-started a car was much higher among older drivers. Eighty percent of drivers 55 or older had changed a tire, compared with 60 percent of younger drivers. And 85 percent of older drivers had jump-started a car, compared with 75 percent of the younger set.

When a roadside crisis hits, men call AAA, and women call their husbands, the survey finds. Fifty-eight percent of women say they would call their spouses; 31 percent of men would. But 38 percent of men would call roadside assistance; 27 percent of women would.  

Methodology commissioned a survey of 2,000 licensed drivers, half men and half women, in April 2014.

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