Ignorance is not bliss

Aethne Hinchliffe
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There’s very little I know about cars.

I mean I know the basics, like how to put the car in drive, park neutral, etc. I know how to press the gas and brakes. My licence is in my wallet, so technically I can drive without a problem, but when it comes to a car’s mechanics, I’m clueless.

My car was a requirement for my job. Initially, I was pretty excited at the prospect of having my first car. In the past few months - the more I realize how little I know - the more I realize how beneficial it would be for car owners to know a lot more.

There’s no shame in not knowing, but knowing would make things a lot easier and potentially cheaper for car owners.

A few days ago, I noticed a light on my dash flickering from time to time. I decided it was time to take my car in for a check up. Well thank God I did. The flickering light happened to be my oil, which was drastically low. This, by the way, isn’t a good thing.

There was also the time my car felt like it was going to stall. Something just didn’t feel right when it was idling. I knew it was time to head to my local mechanic. Apparently I was pretty close to losing my transmission. Oops.

Oh yeah! Then there was the time I started my car one morning and it didn’t start. Hmmm. That’s funny, I thought. It must be the battery. My neighbour kindly boosted me and away I drove. About an hour later, with a new battery, my car was as good as new. It was at least as good as 10 years old.

I’ve never felt less blissful being ignorant.

The manager of the place my car frequents said, “What do you think of the idea of having a night for ladies (and men) who want to learn about basic mechanics?”

It didn’t take me long to say yes. It took about two seconds. I thought back to the beads of sweat that have crossed my forehead when I’ve come to realize something’s going on with my car and I have no idea what that something is.

Heavens, I can’t even change a tire. I only just learned I have a spare tire in a fancy little compartment under my trunk.

I’ve been speaking to quite a few women lately who are in the same boat. They have cars and don’t know much about them. I was speaking with my sister in law and she said she’d like to take a basic mechanic course.

My brother piped up, “I took a course like that for bikes, and it was really helpful.”

Cars are fun for a while, but when they start costing because of simple things, they become a pain. I’d trade my car in for something simpler any day.

The thing is, I still need a car for my job, so I’m going to nip this little problem in the bud and learn what I can short of paying money to go back to school and becoming a licenced mechanic.


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