Too many people are uninformed about their cars, how they work

Dominic Manzione, Staff Writer

Basic knowledge on how vehicles operate is necessary for the safety of ourselves and others. Learning how cars run and how to fix them can save us time, money, and maybe even a life.



For the past two summers I have valet parked cars at a luxury relaxation spa and resort in my hometown. This was a big job for me, since guests at this spa were sometimes famous stars like NFL pro bowl running back Ladainian Tomlinson.

From my time there I’ve gotten to drive all sorts of cars, from six-speed Corvettes and Mustangs to a high-end BMW, a Mercedes-Benz and a Bentley.  I got to learn a lot more about all types of vehicles, but I learned one thing that really scares me. I learned that a lot of people don’t know much about their vehicles and how they work.

Being a long-haired twenty year old, I had to make sure I didn’t upset the guest handing me keys to a vehicle that costs twice as much as my Wilkes tuition. So you can imagine the trouble and difficulty in telling someone that their tire pressure is low or that their break pad might be warped. But for me, and the safety of others on the road, I felt it was my duty as a knowledgeable car guy to help.

So where am I going with this article? Well, vehicles are not just something that gets me from point A to point B. To me, a vehicle is a 2,000 to 4,000 lb behemoth that can go speeds from zero to over 100 mph.

And for anyone who is a physics major, — the rare few there are — you can understand that anything over 40 mph is a ridiculous amount of force. Now think of what happens when that force hits something, say a tree or another car going the same force right at you.

People say guns are dangerous, but to me putting an 18 year old kid behind the wheel of a vehicle can be more devastating. Now imagine if that vehicle (or metal behemoth) isn’t working as efficiently as it should be because of low oil or tire pressure. That vehicle has just become even more dangerous.

My sisters are prime examples of not knowing enough about vehicles. A little over a year ago my little sister drove home from work late at night with only the parking lights on. Now that’s a big deal, because regular headlights are way brighter than your cars parking lights.

Now my sister, the high honor roll and dean’s list student, drove 15 minutes home thinking there was something wrong with the battery. Not only was it dangerous for her but it was also dangerous for anyone else on the road.  And that’s the sad truth: lots of people just don’t know the basics about cars.

What I want people to get out of this article is not to be scared of cars but to respect them and realize that we need to take the time to learn about our vehicles for our safety and everyone else’s. Everybody should know simple tasks like how to check oil and tire pressure levels as well as change each when needed. Knowing how to jump start a car is an essential skill as well.

You may be saying “pfft I’ll just call someone to do it for me.” And if you want to go that route I can tell you it’s a bad idea, because sometimes it’s too late.

Being the only brother to two girls that know very little about vehicles, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s a lot nicer to be proactive when it comes to maintenance and respect for a car. It will save you a lot of time, money and maybe even your life.