The study shows that more than 13.5 million UK motorists would struggle to put the spare wheel on their vehicle without help from someone else.
Those in retirement are more likely to handle the job themselves than 18 to 24-year-olds. Although youngsters can handle smartphones and gadgets easily, they struggle with car maintenance.
Nearly half of motorists would have to ring for help if they got a flat tyre. And three-quarters of female drivers would become damsels in distress and call for assistance.
The study, which questions 1,400 randomly chosen drivers, found that just 46% of young drivers are able to change a flat tyre alone. But 49% of over 65s said they could handle this task.
Young drivers were also the least aware of the many features and functions of their vehicles and carrying out basic maintenance.
The over 65 drivers scored better than the 18 to 24-year-olds on all of the 15 questions on car knowledge and maintenance. Pensioners are more likely to be able to do things such as check oil levels, change a headlight bulb and top up the anti-freeze.
Furthermore, nearly one in five younger drivers are not even aware if their car has a spare wheel, and 15% do not know how to turn the headlights on. Nearly a third do not know what the dashboard display and warning lights mean.
And worryingly, the younger motorists are also least likely to have taken precautions against roadside emergencies, with just over two-thirds having breakdown cover compared to 92% of over 65s.
Car insurance expert Scott Kelly said the research shows that younger drivers have a lot to learn from their elders. Even the simple tasks leave them stumped, but reading the manual is a must, he continued.
The research was carried out by insurance site Gocompare.com