How To Become A 'Car Guy/Girl’
I have a confession to make.
Something most of my friends don’t even know about me, so you’ll be the first to find out.
I confess, that I’m not a ‘car guy’.
Yes, it's true. Throughout my entire life whenever my friends would start talking about their favourite cars, I would simply smile and nod, even though I had zero interest and little knowledge about cars.
The maintenance of my personal car was, up until a few years ago, managed by my late father, which meant that I had never even been to a workshop let alone ordered repairs on my car.
In 2012 when my father passed away, I had to take over the management of all the family cars. So even though I wasn’t a car guy, I had to learn as much as I could about cars, as quickly as I possible.
If you’re like me, there will come a time where you find yourself wanting or needing to learn at least the basics about cars or other automobiles as much as possible. So here are some tips on how you can quickly learn as much as you need to about cars and other automobiles, without feeling like a complete amateur.
1. “Car friends”
First and foremost, your most valuable resource is your own social circle. Even though you might not be a car or automobile enthusiast, odds are quite high that there is one in your social circle that you can go to for advice and guidance.
You might not realise it yet but there might even be different car enthusiast friends of yours with different ‘specialities’. For example, one friend might be better at guiding you on in-car entertainment (ICE) systems, while another might be better at advising you on basic maintenance issues.
You might feel reluctant to ask them questions, but remember this: there is no such thing as a ‘stupid’ question, when you’re honest and sincere about wanting to learn.
Sometimes it’s best to go straight to the experts. In most cases, workshops and mechanics themselves are more than happy to give you advice and explain to you how things work and why certain repairs or spare parts may be necessary.
Of course, there is a risk that workshops may be slightly biased and might advise you to get repairs you may not actually need. In this situation, use your best judgement and get a second opinion from other workshops or your car friends.
It’s always a good idea to compare feedback that you get from multiple sources. Then, you’ll be well-informed before you start making your own decisions on the matter.
I can never stress this enough: if you want to know about something, anything, chances are there’s a Youtube instructional video on it. When it comes to cars and other automobiles, there are plenty of videos specifically made to cater to people like you and me who want to understand the basics of car maintenance.
This includes do-it-yourself (DIY) type of videos that guide you on doing basic maintenance at home, as well as instructional videos on how to interact with your mechanic to describe the problems you’re having and ask for maintenance. In simpler terms, these videos are useful because they help you know what to expect and they equip you with the basic vocabulary needed to communicate more effectively with the people you’ll be requesting help from.
If you’re shy to speak to your friends or with mechanics directly (as I was when I first started), this is a great place to begin.
4. Short courses at TOC Automotive College
Personally, I prefer signing up for short courses. The reason behind this is because short courses are carefully designed with a syllabus covering everything from A to Z, so not only will you be equipped to deal with your immediate challenges, you’ll also gain knowledge useful for troubleshooting other issues that might come your way.
TOC Automotive College offers two such courses, specifically Car Maintenance 101 (a half-day course) and S.M.A.R.T Care (a car maintenance course approved by HRDF). These courses are great because they cover all the basics of car maintenance, helping you familiarise yourself with basic car servicing, perform basic inspections, as well as equipping you with insight into driving techniques for difficult driving conditions.
Short like these are designed by car experts who carefully select the most important topics that newbies like you and me will benefit the most from.
While it might seem daunting, taking over the management of your automobiles, the fact is that there is plenty of information out there to guide you. Take a step back, take a deep breath, make full use of the many resources that I have suggested above, and you’ll become an automobile expert in your own social circles in no time!