TR

Engine and Drivetrain
Teach Your Children Well

17 posts in this topic

File this under "reasons to drive a 2002" or at least understand the basics of how cars work.  :)

 

My daughter recently graduated from college and was driving with her boyfriend (also a college grad and a smart "kid') when when the oil light came on.  They pulled off the road and he opened the hood while she dug out the car's manual.  When she came out to help she found him trying to insert the oil dipstick into the "oil fill" opening on the top of the engine.  She asked what he was doing and he replied checking the oil level.

 

Thankfully I taught her the basics so she knew what to do.  Here boyfriend thought the tube/hole that the dip stick came out of was just a "holder" for the dipstick!  

 

So now I see why BMW is no longer putting a dipstick in new cars.  

 

TR

 

 

 

 

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ha.... and when your (his)car needs oil you buy it and put it in the trunk

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Years ago...my oldest sister who was 16 at the time had a '75 Super Beetle.  She pulled up to the gas attendant and told him she did not know where her gas hole was.  My other sister and the gas attendant immediately started laughing.  She drove away without any gas.

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VinntageJoe - That idea briefly occurred to me but then I gave it some thought.  The days of people understanding their cars are over.  Thanks to cell phones and 24/7 roadside assistance why bother getting dirty.  Engine control modules run the whole show under the hood so even with a bag of tools I'll be waiting for a tow truck.  Oil lasts 10,000 miles between changes and this is a free service for the life of the car from my local dealer.  Cars have become so reliable I bet lots of people don't even know how to open the hood.  There's no need to know.  How much can be done without that specific car's diagnostic computer and web access for the latest Technical Service Bulletins?

 

I think you and I and everyone on this forum are the "odd balls".  We like our old cars and understanding what keeps them going.  I take pride in knowing that with a small box of spare parts and a few tools in the trunk I have good chance of fixing the car.  But what I really like is the sense of community around old cars and that if I see a 2002 on the side of the road with the hood up I am absolutely pulling over to help.  I'm sure they would do the same for me.

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I bet lots of people don't even know how to open the hood.  

A few years ago, I ran across a guy in a Honda Civic that needed a jump start. When I told him to pop the hood, he did not know how.  When I opened the hood and looked at the filthy engine compartment, I asked him when the last time he had the oil changed.  He shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't know.  "I just put gas in it.".  The oil level was dangerously low.

 

True story. Bet most folks have a similar one.

 

When my older sister started driving, she borrowed my parent's 81 Rabbit Diesel sedan (4 speed) for running errands and going to school.  As one stipulation, she had to learn to change the oil, air filter and water filter/separator.   She does not do it now but does keep up the maintenance on her high mileage minivan.

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One of the reasons I got my 02 was to teach my 3 boys that taking care of your car is not just calling the mechanic or running it through the car wash.  Having them know the basics and understand the workings of the car might help them when they have their own. 

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Spike - My daughter proved it does help.  Even if it's just the basic stuff.

 

And remember to tell your boys: If the "pocket protector crowd" is right when the earth gets bombarded with particles from a giant solar flareup the only cars running will be non computer based vehicles.  2002's may rule the roads again some day!!  :)

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Questions I get when my 14 year old rides in the 2002:

 

>"What is that smell?  Is that gas?  Should we be smelling that?"

>"How safe is this car?  How many stars does it get in crash testing?"

>(touching the dashboard)  "There's not an airbag in there, is there?"

>"How do you open the door?"  This is from the outside...all modern cars have the "door handle is one piece" approach, and you just pull it.  The 2002...you have to press IN a button, then PULL the door.  Complicated.  

>"How do these seat belts work again?"

 

I've noticed he's starting to get it, though.  Every time the Top Gear guys talk about how the BMWs are "epic", and all his teachers stop and chat about the car when I go pick him up...I can see the wheels turning.

 

The "gas hole" thing is classic.

 

Scott

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My car is in the shop now because I ran out of DIY time before the track (And I don;t have the time or gear to drop the front suspension to add camber plates...) but I do as much as I can, without a truly proper garage/shop, and when I can (too much and I risk my wife leaving me as we have small kids).  I have started small.  I am learning a lot, and half the fun is problem solving (even if I am not doing the actual work) and the sweat and tears I put into my car.  Actually, 80% of the fun is driving my car like I stole it, but I like to learn to wrench too.

 

The sad part is that with modern cars, even if you wanted to DIY, you probably could not.  That being said, modern cars are all plug and play parts.  Not working?  Replace it.  Local mechanics scratched their heads trying to get my KF up and running again.  They just did not know how to tune it with  the manual right in front of them.  I had to look hard for someone with the experience, and even he needed help from I.E. 

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And there's such a thing as "auto savvy osmosis." Case in point:  my wife, (not a car buff by any means but married to one for 47 years) was riding with a girlfriend when she turned to her friend and said, "your water pump is going bad."  Her friend gave her a "how come you know that" look and asked her the same question.  My wife answered, "we had the same problem on one of Mike's cars and it sounded just like that before the pump failed." 

 

Sure enough, a week later her friend called and said, "the water pump failed yesterday and I had to have the car towed.  Thanks for telling me to shut it down if the water temperature got too high.  The mechanic said it would have ruined the engine if I had kept driving."    And I"ve learned the same kind of stuff about gardening and art from listening to my wife talke about her hobbies....

 

mike

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