In the past few days, I have witnessed several accidents and near accidents that brought this topic to the forefront of my thoughts. Not enough people know basic maintenance on their vehicle.
I am not trying to convince everyone to go out and become a master mechanic and I am not espousing the idea that everyone needs to go broke taking their vehicle to their local wrench turner.
Instead, I am supporting the idea that each person who owns a vehicle should be able to check the air pressure in their tires, check the fluid levels for each fluid, and be able to diagnose simple repairs so they can more accurately communicate with a trained professional.
It might be a stretch but I think each person should know how to use a torque wrench and be able to change their own tire. Not remove the tire from the rim but at least swap a spare when one goes flat. There was a time where these basic skills were commonplace and now people simply can’t be bothered.
One of the biggest reasons for doing maintenance is it makes your vehicle safer on the road. Not just safer for you, but safer for everyone around you. Parts failures that result in accidents are often fatal and certainly more expensive than if the preventative repair had been done.
Case in point. A commuter bus was making a left-hand turn in front of my wife and I as we drove to the store the other day. Suddenly the left front wheel buckled and snapped completely off the hub rocketing off into the bushes and ricocheting back into traffic at probably 25 MPH.
This is what a 25 MPH crash impact looks like. Skip to 45 seconds to get right to the action.
Now imagine that bus-sized wheel and tire smashing into the front or side of your vehicle with your significant other or children in the car. Makes you want to check your lug nuts I hope.
The second incident involved a vehicle that had engine issues. It was a bot of a jalopy with smoke coming out of the tailpipe and clearly lacking some of that OEM power it came with. This individual decided to try and beat traffic and attempted to cross 4 lanes before cars got to them. It was a gamble with a properly operating vehicle, it was a black cat under a ladder bad luck to try it with this particular car. The result was a tire screeching scramble of cars avoiding the impatient driver. In this case, everyone made it out without a scratch but we are not always so lucky in life.
Final Thoughts for Today
What should we do? Well if you know someone who needs to learn… teach them. If you need to learn, find someone to show you. If you can’t find someone, stick around we will have some basic How-To videos coming.