More than half of motorists (51%) admit to being confused by car maintenance, according to a survey.
Some 85% do not know what MOT stands for (Ministry of Transport), while 42% have no idea how to change a flat tyre.
Over a third of motorists (36%) do not understand the majority of dashboard symbols, and more than one in 10 (11%) do not know how to measure oil, according to the research.
The poll of 2,000 British drivers was commissioned by car repair and servicing company Kwik Fit.
Some 59% of motorists admitted not knowing the difference between MOTs and services, and over a fifth (21%) believe passing an MOT means a car is safe to drive for a year.
One in 50 (2%) drivers even think leaving the lights on will stop a vehicle frosting over.
Paul Boulton of Kwik Fit said: "The level of misunderstanding around what keeps our cars running safely is pretty shocking.
"The industry should be doing more to demystify these misconceptions."