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Author Topic: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID  (Read 1524 times)

Offline BadgerAngel

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This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« on: November 20, 2012, 07:51:29 AM »
I'm 35 years old and don't know how to change a tire, check my oil, fluids, et cetera.

The husband goes and gets everything done at Wally World.  I have asked him on multiple occasions to teach me how to do these things.  "Sure, sure, yeah, this weekend."  And the weekend comes and goes and it doesn't get done.

My stepfather, who should have taught me these things, is now just about crippled.

Where could I go to learn these things hands on?  I can watch YouTube videos, yeah, but I don't really learn well that way.
Help?
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Offline idelphic

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2012, 08:10:22 AM »
Might try a neighbor - Or some service stations may help.
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Offline Nicodemus

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2012, 09:24:37 AM »
First, good for you, for wanting to learn the basics, Badger.

I was lucky enough that my father showed me how to do all of this stuff when I first learned how to drive, but I've known a lot of folks who had to learn it on their own and picked it up without much hassle.

A car is a pretty complex machine, but don't let these basics intimidate you.

Checking the fluid levels is probably the easiest place to start and a good way to put a little boost in your confidence to move forward. In spite of your thoughts to the contrary it also happens to be one of those things that you can pretty easily translate from watching a video because it's very basic and most everything will be labeled or can be found in the owner's manual. About the only difficulty in learning from a video will be finding the placement in your particular make and model car if you don't have an owner's manual. Along with identification labeling, most if not all of the dipsticks and reservoirs will have markings that show where the fluid levels should be when the car has been at rest (some will have cool and hot markings).

Engine Oil
Transmission Fluid/Oil
Brake Fluid
Coolant (don't open when the engine is hot)
Power Steering Fluid
Washer Fluid

The toughest to check might be the transmission fluid and might need to be checked by a mechanic. Depending on whether the car is manual or automatic and the model year the transmission oil might not be accessible.

Changing a tire isn't all that hard to do in most cases either. However, due to the number of steps, proper jack placement (usually in the owner's manual or stamped on the frame) and lug nut tightening pattern (opposite or star pattern depending on number) might be something you'd be more comfortable doing after being shown. While you're learning this, also try to get someone to show you where to find the tire pressure information and how to check it.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2012, 09:33:29 AM by Nicodemus »


Offline nelson96

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 09:28:37 AM »
You can find just about every kind of "how to" video there is on YouTube.  I would watch some video's and then go practice. 
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Offline BadgerAngel

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2012, 09:32:27 AM »
Thanks, guys.  :)
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Offline Nicodemus

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2012, 09:44:50 AM »
A few other notes here...

If you're going to top off any of the fluids, know what types of fluid your car uses. For example, know the Motor Oil Weight.

Learn where to fill the various reservoirs as well as where to check them. Almost all will be the same with the exception of the oil, transmission fluid and perhaps coolant depending on whether it has an overflow or not. I once stumbled upon a college student in the parking lot where I used to live about to add oil with a funnel sticking out of the oil dipstick tube!  :o ::)


Offline Mountain State Prepper

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2012, 09:48:05 AM »


Here in my home town, there is a vocational education center that offers adult classes on various items, including basic automotive repair.   Maybe there is something like that in your area?   I'm told these are not very expensive, and offered at night.   It may get you some hands-on training the online information can't offer.
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Offline Cedar

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2012, 11:31:02 AM »
Is there a local 4-H mechanics club in your area? What about a car enthusiast? I know a few women who are building their own cars (one even restored a Gremlin  :-X ), but they love to talk cars and might be willing to teach you.

My editor for my newspaper is going through a divorce and she recently asked me if I would teach her how to check her oil, deal with the lawnmower, can and more. She said her husband used to deal with all the other stuff and she never learned how and needs to now.

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Offline SeePhour

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2012, 11:55:52 AM »
Your local community college might have continuing ed classes that would cover this.

Offline nelson96

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2012, 12:38:53 PM »
A MAN would never do this (wait, I'm a man), but reading the owners manual would be the quickest, easiest, and shortest way to get you where you want to go on the subjects you listed. . . .  Then go out and do it.  Trial and error, "Fake it until you make it".
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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2012, 07:21:29 PM »
If there's one in your area, the Parks and Rec department might offer simple classes in those basics.

Offline ChEng

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2012, 08:13:41 PM »
I'm 35 years old and don't know how to change a tire, check my oil, fluids, et cetera.

The husband goes and gets everything done at Wally World.  I have asked him on multiple occasions to teach me how to do these things.  "Sure, sure, yeah, this weekend."  And the weekend comes and goes and it doesn't get done.

My stepfather, who should have taught me these things, is now just about crippled.

Where could I go to learn these things hands on?  I can watch YouTube videos, yeah, but I don't really learn well that way.
Help?

Thanks for the reminder.  It has been years (maybe decades :-[), and many vehicles, since I have pointed that kind of stuff out to Mrs. ChEng.  We will do some quick reviews in the upcoming days (after Thanksgiving, of course.)
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Offline OldManSchmidt

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2012, 09:56:19 PM »
Go to the auto parts store and pick up a Haynes or Chilton's manual for your make, model, and year of car.  I am a long time mechanic and find these books to be invaluable.  The people who write them actually take a car apart and put it back together in order to write the manual.  They give detailed instructions along with pictures for the routine stuff and most of the minor to major repair work.  A nice bonus is that you can have it right there while you are doing the work and the book won't mind a bit if your hands are greasy.
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Offline fratermus

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2012, 10:19:53 PM »
Another vote for youtube;  it's not hands-on but a good video can teach us what to expect in unknown scenarios. 

BTW, "good on ya" for wanting to learn more.  I think it is helpful for everyone to know the basics of how our daily tools work.   It's empowering and confidence inspiring. 

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Offline joeinwv

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2012, 10:49:07 PM »
Please be careful. I second the votech school as a means of education. Jacking up a car can be very dangerous. Improperly torquing lug nuts can be dangerous.

Basic auto maintenance is not hard, but requires a little knowledge.

As above, get a Haynes or Chilton manual specific to your year vehicle. Get a good set of basic tools - Craftsman is a good mix of price / quality. Be willing to get your hands dirty.


Offline BadgerAngel

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2012, 10:55:49 PM »
Thank you all so very, very much for your support and wisdom! 
Excellent advice from everybody and I appreciate you all!

I think that the classes somewhere is the best route to go.  I will look into that ASAP.  THANK YOU!
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Offline Garandman

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Re: This is probably going to sound REALLY, REALLY STUPID
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2012, 03:14:45 AM »
Count your blessings: Click & Clack say "Almost everything your father taught you about cars - was wrong."

Ditto on Clymer's Chilton's and Continuing Education courses offered by local Voc Tech schools and Community Colleges. Know who took a similar course back in the day? Barbara Bush.

The Owner's Manual in your car will give detailed instructions on changing a tire.

Local libraries are full of books on auto maintenance.

Check out Car Talk - http://www.cartalk.com/content/do-it-yourself-guide-6