If like me you’re a child of the 80s and 90s then you’ll probably know bugger all about cars beyond where the petrol, water, oil and windscreen wash goes. It’s become a foreign language to many of our generation, mostly down to the advance in the technological advances and the computerisation of cars.
A generation or two earlier and you could have lifted the bonnet of a car and seen most of the working parts and been able to name them or even tinker with them – now you open the bonnet and there’s a big plastic shell hiding the engine from sight. Maybe it’s not a bad thing that we can’t tinker as much as we used to because knowing me I’d do a hell of a lot more damage meaning even more trips to the garage for repairs. I’m not the handiest when it comes to fixing things anyway – I’ll give things a go but when it comes to cars I leave it to the professionals to worry about.
There was a strange rattling on the underside of the car on Sunday when I was driving around. I did what we novices do – I got out, looked underneath, saw nothing hanging down, got back in and drove off praying that I’d make it home in one piece. That’s the extent of my knowledge! There are a lot of rumours and myths surrounding the world of mechanics, mostly because of all those “rogue traders” type programmes we see on TV, but I’ve never really had any hassle from any of them. There are always those that charge you more than your car is worth just for the labour costs of any repairs, but you only make that mistake once. The best bet is always the local independent mechanics because they rely on the repeat trade so always do a decent job at a good price.
Nothing major needed thankfully, but you do feel like an idiot when trying to describe what is wrong with the car. There was a rattling from under the car when I was in the lower gears and I had visions of the gear box being knackered and a grand vanishing out of my empty bank account – but no it’s the wishbone bushes needing replaced on both sides at the front. When they ask you what the rattling is like, I’m sure they are only doing it to see what you say or to listen to your terrible impressions of it. I always feel completely out of my comfort zone – and it doesn’t help that the young mechanic that was looking at the car couldn’t have even been twenty yet.
It’s strange that we don’t hold people with trades higher in our estimation really. It’s all very well being a high-flying accountant or lawyer or architect, but if it wasn’t for the mechanics and sparkies and brickies and joiners of this world we’d be pretty much screwed – well my generation anyway! And I don’t mean that in a patronising way either because I genuinely think we take these folk for granted, but their skills are what keeps us all going I our cars and allows us to get our houses the way we want them. I don’t know why we don’t encourage more young folk to go and get a trade as my Dad’s generation did if they weren’t going on to further education. We’d be a much better and wealthier society if we had more young people with a trade than all those sitting with worthless degrees having to take jobs in supermarkets.