How do you approach your car maintenance? Are you a do-it-yourselfer, or do you take your vehicle to an auto shop? According to a survey of more than 2,000 US car drivers, about 60 percent of people are more likely to take their car in for an oil change than do it themselves because they’re either “clueless” or “not confident” in their own skills. But what if a simple activity with your family could change that?
Though there’s nothing wrong with taking your car in for an oil change instead of doing it yourself, the reasoning behind this decision may be evidence of an alarming trend that’s popped up. Some people have a complete dependency on auto mechanics for tasks that used to be DIY, such as changing tires or an oil change.
The Problem: Lack of Education
Here’s one thing NBC News and Fox News can agree on—changing tires is an essential task, and an alarming number of people don’t really know how to do it. Though the numbers reported vary around the 20-60 percent range, there’s obviously a need for automotive education. However, due to funding issues, auto-shop classes are disappearing from American schools. Without that basic knowledge, young people now depend on their parents or the internet to provide automotive education.
While the internet is great for all sorts of knowledge, automotive tasks need to be taught by someone who can make corrections and demonstrate techniques in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, it is relatively easy to accidently damage a vehicle even during routine maintenance.
The once familiar self-care car maintenance is now shifting primarily to a task completed by the automotive service industry. But, could spending more time as a family change that trend?
The Solution: Family Time
If you really want to learn the ins and outs of a vehicle, you should try building one. This solution came to us after we read the article “The Cars Are Newer, the Buyers Younger as Auto Collecting Moves Forward” by Robert C. Yeager from The New York Times. In it, Yeager describes the relationship between Kurt Glaubitz and his son, Cole, who worked together to rebuild a 1992 Land Rover Defender. Not only was it a bonding moment between father and son, it was a valuable educational experience for Cole to learn about his vehicle.
While this father/son moment gave us a hope for the future, we couldn’t help but think that this experience is something that could be extended to the entire family, especially since according to Mashable, women are completely underrepresented in the auto repair industry. Imagine instead of parents buying a new car for their children, they instead bought a salvage car that the family fixed up together. This would extend automotive education beyond simply changing a tire to being familiar with certain auto parts, and even fixing, repairing and identifying which car parts might need maintenance.
It’s important to note that there is a difference between preference and lack of knowledge, and there’s nothing wrong with choosing to take your car to a mechanic instead of doing work yourself. However, building a car with your family provides a unique experience to educate and inform. And, if you don’t need another car, a salvage car makes a much better practice vehicle than your regular car. That way the auto parts in your everyday vehicle remain intact.
Want to build a car with your family? See what you can find at a Copart auction.