Auto care necessary to know, more education and resources should be provided

October 10, 2016

Ellie Colpitts

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It’s hard to know what’s worse: nails on a chalkboard, screaming babies or your car making a noise you’ve never heard before.

When my car has issues, I call my dad. Whether a new light on the dashboard appears or it just won’t start, no matter when or where, I always call him first.

But now that I’m in college, being away from home means I’m in charge of maintenance and repairs.

This can be a daunting task for a young woman with limited car knowledge.

Yes, I can change a tire, check my fluids and do all the basic, necessary tasks, but I feel incredibly out of place when I walk into a car repair shop. I feel branded as a stereotype: a teenager who doesn’t know anything about her car.

Founder of Girls Auto Clinic, Patrice Banks wrote in The Washington Post describing her frustration with the car repair industry.

She quit her job as an engineer and decided to start her own auto-mechanic shop after feeling like she was being scammed over and over.

Banks cited a survey conducted by RepairPal in 2013 that found 77 percent of respondents believed mechanics sell unnecessary repairs to women and 66 percent believed women were charged more than men.

Young car owners need to be more informed on car maintenance and repair, but this isn’t limited to women. I know girls who know more about cars than guys. The issue is generational.

Unbiased information should be readily available about vehicles and upkeep needs. Often the information found on the internet is written or sponsored by shops that further advantage their intentions to take advantage of customers.

Young people need to be more informed, and that’s the bottom line, whether it be about taxes, raising kids, buying stocks or car maintenance.

Fortunately, I learned about these tasks from my parents, but their knowledge will no longer suffice.

The skills we need change as the car industry evolves, but the parental advice does not change with it.

My high school required all students to take speech, health, fitness and an applied arts class. This barely scratches the surface of what young people need to learn.

Students need to be taught how to care for their cars.

When at a car shop and I’m told I need to replace multiple parts in my vehicle, I call my dad, and he assures me I’m fine without it.

I trust his opinion more than any mechanic, who only has my money on their mind, but I can’t depend on my dad forever and neither can future generations.

The fact that I, among many other students, are not educated in this area needs to be addressed.