Operating a car and “fixing it.”

car-toolsI might be embarrassing myself but I’ve done that many, MANY times before and I’m used to it but I wanted to ask if you women out there can change a tire?  Have you ever used jumper cables?  Can you add oil or water to your radiator?  Put air in your tires?

The reason I ask this is I was thinking if I had to travel today or tomorrow, I’m not sure I would.  I have never once in my life changed a tire.  I have never done any of the above but put air in my tires and that’s probably because my first car had a very slow air leak and I had to learn to do it.  Oh, I can add windshield solvent!! 

Why not?  I’m really not sure.  I suppose it’s because I’ve never had to.  I know some woman who would laugh at this and say “of course I can” but some of those same women can drive and operate great big farm equipment too and I am not like that.  I guess also it’s because I have no interest in those kinds of things.  If I had to change one, I’ve seen it enough and guess I would be able to figure it out.  I went to WowOwow and read this.  This is from Women on the Web.  Some women can and others can’t and others are like me and just never had to.

For me, I should know how.  I’d probably stand along the road and wait before I’d try and figure it out.  I know how bad that sounds but I have a hard time with all things “mechanical.”  But, living here where the temps could be below zero and with feet of snow, it’s really not safe to not know some of these things.  I almost wish it was part of getting your license.  Then I’d have to have known how.

Sure, you may never need it but I’ve never needed parallel parking either.  I’d park a mile away if it was a tight one.  Is it part of my age and when I grew up, girls didn’t do such things?  I know it’s different now but back then, men did those things and I just never did it or really learned how.

Could you take care of your car if you had to?  Have you had to do it or does that kind of thing interest you?

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16 Responses to Operating a car and “fixing it.”

  1. javajunkee says:

    can change a tire..haven’t had to THANK GOD! My daughter can change brakes and a CV joint when the need arises as it has.

  2. SKL says:

    “Can you change a tire? Have you ever used jumper cables? Can you add oil or water to your radiator? Put air in your tires?” I’ve done all of that, mostly when I was much younger and (a) had to drive old junkers and (b) didn’t have AAA or a cell phone. Nowadays it depends on what else is going on, whether I’ll call roadside assistance or not. Am I in a scary neighborhood at midnight? Wearing a suit and heels? Traveling with two babies in the car? Then I make a call. I suppose it’s been a good 15 years since I’ve changed a flat, and I hardly recognize the tools any more. If I “had” to do it I’m sure I would figure it out, but I’m not all that motivated since there’s generally an easier solution. As far as oil and such, I take my car to the dealer for oil changes and they top off everything. My cars have been reasonably well-maintained for the past 15 years so I rarely have to do anything between routine servicings. I do still put air in my tires occasionally. I have had two cars in the past where I had to keep big bottles of water with me for when they would overheat. Ah, the memories . . . .

  3. I WISH I knew how to do these things. I feel a bit scared sometimes, thinking about what would happen if I were driving on the freeway and something happened to my tires. I would have no clue what to do.
    I agree with you, Joy, it would be great to have some part of Driver’s Ed. be about how to take care of your car. At leas the basic stuff like checking oil levels and changing your tires.

  4. Amy Hunter says:

    I can and have done all of those things. Used to change my own spark plugs, too, but they’re too hard to reach on my current car. I carry jumper cables in my trunk, and they’ve come in handy, both for me and for people I’ve come across.

    My stepdad always bought old cars that needed fixing, and I used to hang out with him and help. I was fascinated with fixing cars at a young age, actually. When I was five, I asked for a take-apart car for Christmas.

    Anyway, I like being self-sufficient, and I never assume someone will be around to help me. None of the things you listed, Joy, are difficult. Better to learn when it’s not an emergency, though, because even when I know how to do these things, it’s a little nerve-wracking to feel stranded and that’s not the time to be figuring something out. I’m sure you can find someone who knows how to do this stuff and they will show you. That’s how such knowledge is acquired, and that’s how I learned–from my stepdad.

  5. mssc54 says:

    Anyone can change a tire. Just dial *HP from your cellular phone and say “I’m all alone on a dark and lonely road with a flat tire.” Before long you will see the blue light in shining armor!

    Happy to help.

    Merry Christmas! 🙂

  6. kwoneshe2 says:

    Well……I’m a redneck. And a tomboy. Grew up and lived on farms/ranches most of my life. So..I can do the things mentioned, plus a few others. And…I’m one who can run farm equipment. It’s just a matter of how you were raised.

  7. javajunkee says:

    hey mssc54..is that true??? Serious? How much is that “help” gonna cost me 🙂

  8. SKL says:

    When I had a flat last winter when I had my two babies in the car, a cop stopped while I was waiting for Geico roadside assistance. He changed my tire for me, even though it was a big pain in the butt for him (I think it may have been his first time!). Another cop came along eventually and helped too. Before I had kids, all the cops would do is check to make sure I had some plan to get back on the road.

  9. Jane says:

    Being I’m a farmer, I can do all things mentioned above and lots more. There are many times I wish I didn’t have to though.

    You have a very good point though Joy, to many “women” don’t know how to do some of these things and to have a class in drivers ed wouldn’t hurt anything. My mom wasn’t as active in farming as I am and she can’t change a tire. I do think we all should know how to take care of ourselves if we had to.

  10. Jane says:

    Off Topic, is that Trinity on your header???? Snow shoes?? You guys have them? She looks pretty sure on her feet. We got Dylan a pair this year and I hope he loves them. I love that pic Joy. How she’s grown!

  11. Joy says:

    Hi Jane, yes that’s Trin. I got all the grandkids snow shoes this Christmas and got Paul and I a new set that came with boots. They are wonderful. They are really easy to get on and off. Our old ones are very hard to get on. Her and I went out during the storm last Sat. She is getting big isn’t she??

  12. Just a Mom says:

    I learned how to fix cars years ago after my brother gave me a lemon when he went into the Navy. We drove it to my house with only the emergency brake. I learned how to do a full brake system overhaul, how to replace the carberator (SP?), replace the battery. You name it I did it to that car!

  13. Sue says:

    My dad taught me how to change a tire b/4 I went to college. Needless to say I haven’t retained that info! I can put washer fluid in and I think I could use jumper cables if need be. Reminds me to renew my AAA membership…..

  14. nikki says:

    I know how to charge a battery and use jumper cables. I do not however know how to change a tire. I know I could figure it out, I’ve seen it done a hundred times. I know how to check all fluids and that’s about it!

  15. mssc54 says:

    @javajunkie; Sure it’s true! In fact some states (like SC) have specially rigged trucks that the Highway Patrol send out to help stranded motorists. Coverage is limited for these trucks but the Highway Patrol (State Troopers) are all about safety and especially respond to stranded females. It keeps them from having to investigate missing people and stuff. 😉

  16. holeycheese says:

    I did all those things… once upon a time when I was 19 and had a car.. 🙂

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