Car knowledge

Okay I’m pretty ignorant about cars, like blinker fluid-level ignorant. I was wondering how much is worth knowing about cars in order to save some money at the mechanic. Actually I pretty much have to use the mechanic since I park in a condo garage where I can’t work on the car anyway. I just wanna know I’m not getting scammed or something.

Or, should I just invest more in my career and eat the cost of car ignorance? Because doing that might earn me more money since that’s where I’m an expert.

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just don’t use your blinkers. you’ll be fine

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also, never press that red triangle button. It’s for eject!


Through advice from friends, I have found a mechanic that I trust pretty well.

He is the type to accurately and completely fix the things that go wrong with my cars/truck. He is not necessarily cheap, but I trust that when something is broken he will fix what needs to be fixed and not make up crap about what other repairs he can do to pad his bill. I think that’s about as good as it gets these days.


rotating your tires is a total scam! They rotate every time you drive, duh!


Buying a car that doesn’t require too much unexpected maintenance is probably what you should do.
So, Toyota or Honda (and their offshoots).
Oil changes and fluid refills gonna oil change and fluid refill.

I once worked at a full-service gas station, back in the day when there were no computers in the car. So, I know enough not to do my own maintenance at home (a lift is preferred, along with all the stuff found in a bay). I tried with my first car, but it was more trouble than the savings. I still had to dispose of the oil, and to clean myself afterward. Easier at a bay, with strong soap and gloves and the right tools that are used for hundreds of cars instead of just one. Economies of scale, that’s what I’m talking about.

The big issue is someone trying to replace something on your car that doesn’t need replacing. Or trying to replace something on your car that doesn’t exist. Or upselling, e.g., replacing a radiator when only a hose is needed.
Become a real pain by googling the parts and making them help you understand. It should make them realize that telling the truth is a lot easier than making up shit, and will lead to more customers and not fewer.

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The “cost of car ignorance” could be your brake cable snapping or your engine bursting into flames while you’re driving along a major motor thoroughfare. Please educate yourself.

the “check engine” light is a total scam invented by the manufacturers and repair shops who are totally in cahoots

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How do these happen based on car ignorance? I mean, not maintaining one’s car could result in it going up in flames, but a Tesla does that randomly. The brake cable snapping? By someone not inspecting it every 5000 miles, maybe.

Just, not the dealer. Or someone hired hourly by a large auto maintenance company (Pep Boys or Sears) who gets a bonus (so self-interest, not in your interest) for selling shit and services that you don’t need.

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Entry in parody threads in 5…4…3…2…1…

carnival knowledge?

I think you answered your own questions there. Thank you all the same.

I mean I do go to the dealer once a year to change oil and get a maintenance check and safety inspection isn’t that what it’s for

Yeah, I asked, then I started thinking (and typing out loud), huh, that’s how these things happen.

I’m able to do basic routine maintenance, beyond oil changes. i.e. I can and have done brakes.
You’re making actuarial money. Skip the car maintenance, leave it to the experts. It’s not worth either the time or any money saved. All you need to know is whether a repair is a reasonable price, and google will probably tell you that if you don’t trust the mechanic. Or, just get a mechanic you trust.
The only stuff I do myself is switch snow/summer tires twice a year. I do that because it’s quick (i have the tools, floor jack, impact wrench, etc), I have 4 cars to do it on (so it actually does save a noticeable amount of money) and most importantly, I can wait until the weather is right and then do the switch on my schedule instead of trying to schedule four cars at a garage.

How long do you own your cars?

Asking for a friend.
Dealers are usually more expensive and take longer and hire people who get bonuses for selling you shit you don’t need.
An independent, properly trained mechanic can do the same without the overhead, and who relies on word of mouth to succeed.

I pay for most stuff even though I could do some of it myself.

However, basic knowledge like how to top off your coolant rather than panic if you’re overheating from low coolant. Modern cars are getting more difficult but changing headlights might be braindead simple. My car needs the whole front bumper taken off so I pay for that.

Changing a spark plug usually isn’t too bad.

Anything that’s taking parts out of the engine compartment, except headlights, I just pay for.

Economies of scale, bro.

How about a list of Shit Anyone Should Be Able To Do On Their Own Car?

  1. Replace a tire with the spare out on the street/highway.
  2. Fill a low tire with air (especially the spare, cuz you never know when you’ll need it).
  3. Replace the air filter.
  4. Replace a headlight or any light.
  5. Replace the cabin air filter.
  6. Replace the car battery. (Not the hybrid battery, as that is heavy.)
  7. Fill the wiper fluid.
  8. Fill oil fluid if needed (my car needs it, until I decide to get a new engine) and check the oil level.
  9. Fill radiator if needed, at least to get to the mechanic.
  10. Replace a fuse.
  11. Plug the diagnostic into the car to get a code, then look up the code.
  12. Replace wipers (courtesy of glassy).

Also just changing the windshield wipers on your own. It takes about a minute on my car and the replacement blades are only $10-20 for a pair. The oil change places will charge you at least double that.

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Ah yes. I should add that.

We do have a car parts chain here that will replace the wipers you buy from them for free, so while I CAN do it, I don’t.