The front of a truck sits off to the right; a building behind it blocks some of the sun's setting rays.

In Tip-Top Shape

By Ashton Herman
Web Content Contributor

Getting a car is perhaps one the most liberating times in anyone’s life. A car symbolizes the freedom to move and progress, and to own one feels like a great step in the path of life. However, with such freedom comes responsibility; the car of one’s dreams can only go so far before something inevitably goes awry.

That is why every car owner should, at the very least, learn the basics of car repair and maintenance, a skill that, while surprisingly simple to learn, is being taught less and less.

According to a survey conducted by cheapcarinsurance.net, out of roughly 2,000 car drivers, only 42.2% were confident enough in changing a tire, and 26% were confident enough to change their vehicle’s oil.

Changing oil and tires are some of the most basic and frequent car maintenance jobs an owner will come across, so the fact that less than half on average are not confident in this task is worrying. 

A silver truck has its hood lifted, revealing the engine within. A Texas State student looms over the engine, their toolset placed on the truck off to their left.
If you have the tools and the knowhow, small fixes are a breeze! Photo by Ashton Herman.

Unprepared drivers could face flat tires or sludge build up, both of which can be detrimental to a car’s functionality if left untreated. Now, many owners would immediately resort to taking their vehicle to a mechanic, and while mechanics play a valuable role in keeping cars in top shape, this method is ultimately costly in the long run. 

Take an oil change for example; an oil change done by a dealership or an independent mechanic can cost a range from $50 to $200 (disregarding coupons or warranties), whereas any individual with the right tools and knowledge could do the same routine for roughly $30, depending on the type of oil filter and amount of oil needed. 

The same can be said for tire replacement. Only instead of losing money, you’re losing time. wardsauto.com states that people who call for roadside assistance can wait, on average, up to 46 minutes, and those who use integrated transponders wait for approximately 34 minutes.

Those with a spare tire, lug wrench and jack, on the other hand, can replace a damaged tire and be on their way in no time. But remember, a spare is not a fix-all for a flat; get a proper tire as soon as possible or you risk blowing the spare too!

I must concede, however, that knowing every step of repair or every specification for one’s vehicle is tedious and hard to do. That is why owners should, instead, refer to owner manuals that come with new cars, as well as any online source pertaining to the owner’s vehicle. This way, any car user has two sources for help on knowing whatto fix, howto fix it, and what to fix it with.

Remember, smaller fixes, while harder, ultimately save money and time in the long run!

Featured image by Ashton Herman.

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