Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'll Admit It...

I began my twenties as a reluctant driver.  I didn't learn till I was 24, with the wonderful folks at the local AMA (Alberta Motor Association) driving school and a very patient husband.  To this day I have my driving idiosyncrasies:  I drive only a five-speed, standard transmission small car (currently a nine-year-old red Toyota Echo that I've named "Cutie Pie"); if I don't have to drive in the winter, I don't.  Yes, I've rented automatic cars -- not my idea of a good time, but I can put up with them for a few days if I have to.  And no, I don't want to be "up-graded" to a larger vehicle!

But I digress...

What I really wanted to tell you about was my 2 1/2-hour class last evening at the AutoTrust shop in Stettler -- with Kelly Williams, a former Canadian stock car racing gal who runs a fabulous Car Care Clinic for women.  I came home with notes, a pink tire pressure gauge and a big smile on my face.  Yes, I knew stuff about my car, but up to now I'd avoided doing even routine checks -- like tire pressure and oil levels -- simply because I let my local Toyota Canada dealership take care of this stuff for me.

So... why did I decide to take the class?

  • Well.... I felt I should know more about how to take care of my car.  After all, it's aging, and I want it to last another 5 years so I can save up to replace it!
  • And while the Toyota folks are up-front and don't give me (a single woman) the run-around that so many car dealerships do, I figured I should be better able to understand their lingo when they were telling me things that needed to be done.  I also felt I should understand the content of the reports that the dealership gives me each time I have it serviced.  I was following the schedule, yes...but wait!  Only last night did I find out that my brake pads -- last checked 2 weeks ago as part of the Maintenance Service -- are okay...for now...but at 6 mm thickness, I'm going to have to save some $$ to replace them by spring, because -- replaced 4 years ago at this time -- they're now at about 50% of maximum!
  • was free.  

How could I not?!

So here's the deal, Ladies -- especially if you're single and not inclined toward things automotive -- find a Ladies' Car Care Clinic near you, preferably one put on by Kelly (info is on her website), and get thee to it.  It'll be an evening of fun, new experiences, a few laughs, and lots of good, sound information.  I guarantee it!


Bee said...

Great idea, Margaret! I should look into it. Cars are such a huge expense and I've wondered if I'm being taken advantage of. My solution so far, has been to keep a newer car that is under warranty. I may not be able to do that in the future. Thank you for the information!

Gina said...

Even knowing the basics has been valuable knowledge. And over the years I've been lucky enough to have a couple "personal mechanics" in my group of friends. I glean all the information I can when they work on my car, and occasionally I even watch what they're doing.

Dad made sure I knew how to top up the oil and windshield fluid, and put air in the tires. Not sure if he showed me how to boost a battery, but he gave me the cables to do so (and in the last several years I have learned how and written it down in my glove compartment).

You're right--having some of that knowledge helps prevent being taken advantage of by auto repair centres. But even more importantly, I've found it's allowed me to start walking through issues that come up with my car.

Judy Warner said...

I am proud of you, Margaret. What a great idea! Maybe I will look into a class too.
Judy said...

When I lived in Calgary, I met a mom who was a mechanic. For some strange reason, I would never trust anyone else to fix my vehicle. It's like gynecologists. I wouldn't really trust a man to check & fix my parts. Female mechanics ROCK.