Throughout my childhood I spent countless hours working with my dad to fix up his old ’72 Ford Maverick. Although I hated it at the time, all the energy I spent maintaining and rebuilding the car did a lot to make me the person that I am today. Working on a car is a unique experience that I truly believe teaches you various life lessons. Including…
The Value of Hard Work
This is an obvious life lesson learned from working on a car. Not all car fixes are easy and neither is life. The hardest automotive repair I ever had to do was change the shocks on the Maverick. One thing you have to remember with classic cars is they are all metal and bolts aren’t necessarily easy to access.
What’s more, my dad didn’t really believe in using easy tools like a socket extension. Everything was manually done and I had to squeeze my hands into tight corners and muster my strength to replace the shocks. Not something easy for a skinny kid like myself. At the same time, I had to watch out for the shocks popping at me once they became loose.
Something that difficult could have been taken to a repair shop, but by replacing the shocks myself, I learned I could accomplish a lot with hard work. Taking on an arduous car repair is a great way to teach children how hard work can pay dividends to making them a better person by giving them encouragement to do any project.
How to Problem Solve
Even though my dad had the Maverick working well most of the time, there were those instances when the car struggled to start. It meant going under the hood to figure out the problem. I remember praying for simple glitches like a dirty air filter or the intake tube got loose, but I wasn’t always so lucky.
The Maverick didn’t have computer chips so we didn’t have the luxury of the system telling us what was the problem. Naturally it meant fiddling with the engine to discover the problem. Sometimes it was the belt, sometimes the radiator. Whatever it was, we spent the time to solve the problem. Now, I try to solve any problem that comes my way and I look at all the options like you do when you don’t know what’s wrong with your car. Life throws curveballs your way and by working on a car, you’ll be prepared for whatever comes up.
How to Be Patient and Relaxed
Many people have told me that I’m very relaxed and I don’t mind patiently waiting for someone. Anyone who has worked on a car knows about how long certain projects take, making you have to have patience. When I worked on the car with my dad, sometimes we’d have to wait for one another to be done with one step to get to the next. Being impatient would do no good, so we’d figure out a useful way to occupy our time. Getting flustered also doesn’t help the situation and so being calm and patient makes the whole repair easier. If you can stay relaxed while working on a car all day, you can easily be relaxed while interacting with others during irritating times.
How to be Frugal
I remember going to different repair shops and haggling over prices for parts. Once we started using the Internet we had another tool to aid us in our search for the cheapest parts. Since we did all the work ourselves we didn’t have to pay someone for labor.
Now whenever I can, I try to do repair jobs around the house and on my car myself. It saves a lot of money and you get a good feeling from completing the job. Once you know you can do the work yourself, you will not only save money, but you also get the job done faster because you won’t have to wait for the repairman.
Health is Important
Even with the problems the Maverick had, it still was a very healthy old car. Seeing how important it was to take care of a car showed me how important it is to take care of myself. Knowing what type of oil to use or what time of food to eat can help any engine last longer. With the right maintenance both my car and me will run healthily.
How to Be a Man
There are certain things every man should know how to do. Car maintenance is one of those things. Changing a tire and maintaining fluid levels are elementary skills that every many should know how to do. Just think how you’d look if you were driving with a girlfriend and got a flat tire, but couldn’t change the tire. Plus you look pretty manly jacking a car, sliding underneath and getting dirty.