Our young drivers own older and less safe cars but despite this about one third of drivers under 25 don't know how to compete basic vehicle maintenance, new research has revealed.

New data from Driver Safety New Zealand showed young drivers were six times more likely to blow $50 on a meal out with friends rather than replace a worn windscreen wiper.

The research was conducted by using 601 New Zealand and Australian licence holders between 18 and 25.

Driver Safety chief executive Russel White said the evidence suggested the issue was a lack of skills and understanding rather than an attitude problem.

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Evidence showed three in five of those who did not have any car safety check knowledge were eager to learn how to perform the checks.

The research was part of the organisation's effort with Supercheap Auto to educate young drivers about the importance of maintenance.

Car crashes happened in an instant and having a car in good condition could be the difference between life and death, White said.

"Every driver has a responsibility to ensure they're taking precautions to keep themselves and those around them safe.

"Whether that's tyre tread and being able to brake in time, or having adequate vision in different weather conditions with working wipers or headlights."

Research also showed that 40 per cent of those aged 25 and under have driven a
car they knew had a safety issue at the time.

The group will be at Aotea Square today from 9.30am to share their research and highlight the concerns around young people using unsafe vehicles.

It is part of the "Check it" initiative which looks into the dangers of unsafe or older cars and the risks of being hit when on the side of the road during a breakdown.

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Next year, the initiative aimed to reduce the risk by "arming young drivers with the knowledge and skills to make their vehicles, and ultimately all of us on the roads, safer", White said.

Supercheap Auto general manager of customer communications and engagement David Bauer said empowering young vehicle owners with knowledge and skill would greatly improve safety on the streets.

"There's so much about safety that is within our control - how we behave on or around the road, and ensuring that our vehicles meet safety standards," Bauer said.

On Saturday, March 30, dubbed "National Check It Day", free training will be provided across Supercheap Auto's 45 stores nationwide.

Driver Safety New Zealand's Findings

• 89 per cent of New Zealanders under 25 are driving a vehicle more than five years old, while 80 per cent owned cars more than 10 years old.

• A third of NZ drivers aged 25 and under don't have the knowledge to undertake vehicle safety checks.

• Three in 10 drivers leave basic car safety checks to their mechanic, while 20 per cent leave it to their fathers.

• Two in five drivers aged 25 and under knowingly drive on a car that had a safety issue at the time.

• Majority of respondents were prepared to continue driving with a warning light or flat tyre rather than pull over and call for assistance.

• A third of young drivers claim they don't know anything about basic car checks but half said being able maintain their vehicle was an important skill that every driver should know.