I know diddly-squat about cars. The extent of my abilities is the fact that my vehicle prefers midgrade and how to administer it, until about a week ago I never knew the capacity of the tank and tended to guess when it was about at the 1/4 mark. Let the road trip for knowledge to empower myself begin!
Every time I acquire a new breed of animal (a live one, not metaphorical) I read up on the subject. What is the best diet to feed them, how often they need to visit the vet for routine checkups, what kind of shampoo they need so that their skin doesn’t dry out. You know the basics. Above all: Lots of water; hydration is key. If I extend love, I know it will be returned and they can live a long and healthy life. So why is it, then, that I’ve never thought to read a book about cars? They too need nourishment, an occasional trip the auto doctor and love. It’s necessary for a fulfilling and prosperous life.
I enjoy reading a good book, the more entertaining the better. Romances, post apocalyptic doomsday, gory horror fests, true crime. You name it; I might’ve read the genre. Not cars, though. I’ve tried reading car magazines, but end up looking at the pictures and dreaming of the day I will be rich enough to afford a Lamborghini. Hey, it could happen; like winning the lottery. I just need to buy a ticket. I did buy a ticket in 2001.
Standing in line at the grocery store I bought a mini magazine entitled: What The Heck Was THAT!? Scary Noises And Other Car Stuff Every Woman Should Know! To begin this road trip, I unlocked my glove box and pulled out my yellowing copy. Slightly musty, it’s still in good shape. It’s been sitting locked up since I bought my car seven years ago having been transferred from my previous car’s glove box. I figured it might come in handy since it tells how to jump start a car and I might not always have a man nearby to do this chore.
This is really a fun and entertaining place to start if you want to get a decent perspective on the mind and body of a car. There is lots of witty humor. Did you know that a woman invented the wheel? I didn’t either. It says so right in this book. I did look it up on the ‘net and it’s believed to have been founded in Mesopotamia about 3500 BC, the same place where blue eyes mutated from between 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. Anything’s possible. Just like a man invented high heels. (It’s actually believed to be Catherine de Medici.)
This mini mag is a quick read with 98 pages. It’s a little bit dated, but a lot of it still holds true from the air cleaner to the windshield wiper motor. Transmission fluid is a pretty pink color; coolant smells sweet and is a lovely shade of blue. (I might be slightly color blind, but I always thought it was green.) Today, anti-freeze does come in many shades of color. The sound of buzzing bees might be your fuel pump. Women tend to use sensory perception to diagnose a problem. It’s kind of like smelling a baby’s butt to determine if the diaper needs changing. I know my oil needs to be changed by the way it smells after driving.
There are a lot of reminders to be safe since women tend to be multi-taskers who are always thinking about the fifth project before the first task at hand is completed. Wear goggles, chock wheels and make sure the hood’s latch is secured. You don’t want an accident where you lose a head or hand; think about all the stress your hairdresser or manicurist will go through to repair the damage.
If there is a problem it is best to start with the basics: Is the battery working and then go from there. Not every weird sound is cause for alarm. Some sounds are quite normal. Learn your car. Periodically roll down the window and lower the radio’s volume to know if everything is OK, just as you need to glance at the dashboard to verify you are maintaining a decent speed and to check if any of the lights have come on to indicate a malfunction.
Join an auto club, create an emergency kit, check the pressure in your tires, fill up the gas tank, what to look for when you buy a new vehicle. Think and be safe. Color might be an added bonus, but visibility and control and so many other factors are involved. It’s fun to think that all we have to do is get in the car and go, but unfortunately it’s not a safe world out there and there are so many unscrupulous people who are willing to take advantage of the person who doesn’t know or is intimidated by something out of their comfort zone. Learn to change your own tire. Flagging down a motorist for help by flashing a sexy leg will only attract a pervert and if it’s the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere and you have no cell phone reception you could be in a lot of danger.
This little book covers all of this and so very much more, like how to change your oil or talk to the mechanic, why it is important to keep your car clean. I like to be able to see out of my windows without being blinded by the sun’s glare on my windshield, but road salt can eat away at the paint and cause corrosion. Who knew? Well, probably the man who keeps nagging you to take it to the carwash. Take your sweetheart with you and call it a date as you drink Starbucks and have a make out session.
I enjoy the perspective that Ms. Erickson gives the reader. She doesn’t belittle or cause a person to feel like an idiot, but creates a fun journey for knowledge and discovery. I would definitely suggest this to anyone: Man, woman, teenager just learning to drive. Then one day it could be passed down to the next generation of those hungry for the knowledge of do-it-yourselfers and compare how technology has advanced to feeding your horse hay to pull the buggy, to gasoline to maybe using vegetable oil or a banana in the tailpipe as we soar the skies. Enjoy.