Although it doesn’t happen so much now, there once was a time that the casual observer would know it was a Sunday because loads of blokes would be out in their drives washing and tinkering with their cars. For some reason this doesn’t happen nearly so much today.
The problem seems to stem from the fact that today’s generation have become scared of technical things around the home. Part of this is obviously due to the hugely complex digitisation of stuff, which nobody really understands, even the person that dreamed it up in the first place.
According to a recent survey, do-it-yourself jobs are routinely avoided by more than half of the population who, it seems, are too frightened to tinker despite the fact that tools and general maintenance products have never been better.
Increasingly, people know nothing about their cars. It is astonishing that folk have allowed themselves – at a time when money is so tight – to become so clueless when it comes to car mechanics, even the routine maintenance which, if regularly seen to, will prevent many problems from occurring later. It is a sorry state of affairs that drivers will actually pay someone to check their tyre pressures for them, yet this is increasingly so. Obviously, this is the way the industry wants it – a captive collective of car owners.
The most worrying statistic of all is that the older generation – who hail from a time when home maintenance was the norm and the professional garage was only for those really difficult jobs – are as guilty as everyone else. According to a survey by an organisation that by its very existence condemns people to be ‘old’, a few years ago some sixty percent of the over fifties would take their car to a mechanic for the simplest of jobs. In more recent times that figure has risen to the high seventies and is still going up! Owners of old or classic cars were more likely to attempt the jobs though.
This reluctance is probably due to the apparent complexity of cars today. When it comes to complicated electronic systems and toys this is probably fair enough but when it is just a matter of changing a battery or an air filter then it all becomes a bit silly.
We are all familiar with the cry of “Oh, I couldn’t begin to do something like that!” which we all understand is a way of pretending to be dense because that’s the traditional way to get out of the jobs you hate doing, like decorating. Yes, it’s all in hand, dear. Just at the planning stage now…
Slackers! DriveWrite has a friend who can fix any car with some WD-40, a roll of plumber’s tape and a 4lb lump hammer. He will tell you that many car maintenance jobs are simple. A ‘workshop manual’ is not a Spanish mechanic, it is a book that guides you through these maintenance jobs. Buy some basic tools and a socket set from Halfords. Be your own car mechanic – you may just surprise yourself. Geoff Maxted