Automotive

Let’s Better Inform Our Friends And Others About Their Cars


Don’t make the mistakes that I or others have made. My poor Mercedes.

Don’t make the mistakes that I or others have made. My poor Mercedes.
Photo: Lalita Chemello

I’m not sure about you, but as a car person, I occasionally receive those texts or calls from friends, co-workers and the like that ask, “Hey, this happened with my car… is this bad?” In many cases, the problem is a simple fix that may require a quick trip to the auto part store or a mechanic. Sometimes, it’s a little more. And in many cases, an expensive issue could likely have been prevented, if they knew just a tiny, tiny bit about cars.

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I received my most recent example of this text Sunday morning. One of my good friends reached out not long after his car was towed away. He followed this little bit of information with an image of a very questionably large and dirty puddle of coolant that remained after his car’s departure. A few muddled and vague details later letting me know he had been in a small accident lead to that one question we all dread to ask and dread to hear: “What are your theories and how expensive is it gonna be?”

My guesstimate from what I could discern of his situation was incredibly conservative, as the actual estimate was a quite few thousand dollars more. But his coolant loss, punctured radiator and subsequent overheating may have been what tipped the bill.

A massive part of the takeaway of this unfortunate story: Had he simply known what the coolant was — or had he had a list of things to look out for after getting into that small accident — he may have been able to prevent the irrevocably expensive damage he’ll now have to get repaired (or try to tackle the used car market…). And that brings us to you.

We want to start a beginner series here, for the Jalops who love cars, but maybe don’t know how to do much of anything on them. And it goes for the non-Jalops too. How many of you — or your friends — could have been spared so much automotive pain, if only you had a little more information? Even something as simple as making sure coolant was still in the bottle and not in a massive puddle on the ground?

There’s no name for this series quite yet, but that will come as we start to put this all together. What I want to know from you kind folks is, what do you think we should talk about? What maladies have plagued your and your friend’s cars in the past and brought disaster to bank accounts? What advice can we debunk to better inform our readers?

I know we’ve tackled things like reliability with Jason’s fun new chart, or why letting your car sit for too long can be detrimental to your car battery’s health. But there is certainly more to explore, to inform and share with our brethren.

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While some of us were born with tools in our hands and have been tinkering from our crib days, many of us really aren’t as handy and are really quite clueless. But we don’t have to be. Think about that beginner/everyday person, and how could they be more informed. Tell us how we can help in the comments.

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