Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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Cool skills to learn/Habits to form for personal development – Basic Car Maintenance

Monday December 24th, 2007 by fathersez

It may be a little stretchy to say that learning this skill may make us more productive personally.  

However, most of us will agree that reducing the probability of our car breaking down on us; will be good for peace of mind. And anything that improves our peace of mind should be good for personal development. Shouldn’t it? 

I worked in a company in Ghana, West Africa for about 3 years. During that time, our company had 17 cars with most of these driven by my Ghanaian colleagues. And most of them did not have their own vehicles and neither had they ever owned vehicles.   

We had horrendous vehicle maintenance bills. Diesel vehicles were filled with petrol, cars were run with no water in their radiator, and tires would have been semi deflated…… 

The list was long. Some of the cars were driven until they came to a complete stop. It would have been so much cheaper had the problem been arrested earlier.  

Reputable workshops were also few and far in between.  

I really wished then, that I had learned basic car maintenance, and could send my colleagues for such courses.  

We solved this problem or rather mitigated it by:- 

a)    Assigning Musah Swallah, (who knew more about cars than the rest of us) to a department we set up for Vehicle Maintenance. 

b)    Opened Car Maintenance Cards for each vehicle, where we recorded the maintenance record, the items being changed, total costs etc. Cars whose costs of maintenance were high were subject to query and more often than not sold off.  

c)     A checklist of basic things to do, like checking the oil, water/coolant, tire pressure etc. was drawn up by Swallah for all drivers to follow.  

This helped to control the costs.  

The YMCA in my country’s capital used to give lessons in Basic Car Maintenance. This course would not, exactly enable you to repair a Ferrari, but it did teach you at least some basics about all the various lights and levers on your dashboard and the steering, how to change tires, oil checking, etc. 

Now there also seem to be a number of online resources, like here and also here.  

I believe many car owners are just like me. They take the car into the workshop at the prescribed intervals and just let the mechanic do his job. And we have no idea what he is doing, or not doing.  

And there are some who may be a little worse. They see a light blinking on their dashboard and they do nothing. The car continues to move so they just ignore the light. Until the car comes to a dead stop, and if Murphy’s Law has any credence, at the most inconvenient of times. 

Now many insurance companies and car dealers offer toll free numbers to call in event of an emergency. The AA also provides this service.  

Nevertheless, basic car maintenance is a skill worth learning.

These days a car is almost a necessity. For many of us, the car is about the most expensive thing we own after our homes.

A little regular maintenance done by ourselves will help lowering costs as well as lengthen the life of the car. 

I have to admit, that I am still amongst the uneducated when it come to vehicle maintenance.  

However, we do keep vehicle records, where we note the mileage at the beginning and end of the day and the cost of fuel put in.

And we follow the maintenance schedules quite religiously.  

For the two elder girls, my wife and I shall make sure they attend basic car maintenance classes before they get their own cars.  

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2 Comments for “Cool skills to learn/Habits to form for personal development – Basic Car Maintenance”

by Ottayan
On December 25, 2007
At 11:29 am

Very practical and of course related to Personal development.

After all ‘a stitch in time saves nine’.

by fathersez
On December 25, 2007
At 8:29 pm

Thanks for the support, Bro.

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