Do you our "Posters" object to reading about your car?

I am just looking for some feedback from our customers. What I would like to know is how they feel about reading about cars and how cars are repaired at the chain store,the Independants,the Dealerships.

Would you like some sources suggested to you in order to become more informed about your car. I can suggest publications that contain sections on “Service Issues” that are reported and fixes are given How to you feel? not interested?

Unfortunately, many people, who don’t post here, don’t want to be informed. Some people are actually proud to be ignorant on particular subjects.

I always search high and low for any information on my cars. I subscribe to True Delta, which reports regularly on car repairs, try to download any bulletins that pertain to my vehicles, etc.

Agree with other poster that some folks find it very traumatic to be told that they are wrecking their Subaru drivetrain by driving 100 miles with a mini-spare. Ignorance makes one avoid responsibility for actually having caused the problem!!

Some will go ahead and buy the very car I warned them NOT TO BUY as it would be the wrong vehicle for their use. Go figure!

Many of the posts are truely difficult and challenging programs, and I enjoy trying to help with those, but I’ve also read many with answers readily available with even the slightest bit of effort. Many even only require reading the owners’ manual, or a basic internet search.

My impression is that many don’t want to bother to put out the effort to look.

Every time a source you describe is posted, I visit it and bookmark it if I like it. I have an ever-growing list of car education sites thanks to guys like you. Keep up the good work. Please!

Doc, you’ve opened up an interesting point. I would argue that if a manufacturer includes a spare, the manuacturer has an obligation to provide one that will enable the owner to at least drive a reasonable distance without destroying the car. If I were to get a flat at night in many parts of the midwest I would be unable to get the tire replaced wihout driving many many miles.

I always thought those doughnut spares were unsafe, especially in bad weather, and the added point about the self-detruction of a Subie with a doughnut on it makes me even more opposed to them.

I would argue that the scenerio you describe is the fault of manufacturer’s irresponsibility rather than driver ignorance. I know that isn’t the subject of the thread, but sometimes I think we’re too quick to place responsibility with the owner.

I’d like to add also that there are lots of brilliant people out there with zero mechanical aptitude. They should be able to rely on the car’s designer to provide them with spares that won’t destroy the vehicle.

Sorry, but these doughnuts have been a pet peeve of mine since I first saw one.

I agree that the donut spare is something that makes an unaware Subaru owner prone to mechanical problems.

However, I also agree with your earlier post, “Many of the posts are truely difficult and challenging programs, and I enjoy trying to help with those, but I’ve also read many with answers readily available with even the slightest bit of effort. Many even only require reading the owners’ manual, or a basic internet search. My impression is that many don’t want to bother to put out the effort to look.”

The Owner’s Manual does make prominent mention of the necessity to insert a fuse in a special fuse holder on the right front strut tower in order to disable the AWD system, and this eliminates the possibility of center differential/clutch pack damage from driving more than a limited distance on that donut spare.

As you indicated, just the slightest bit of effort–reading the Owner’s Manual, which every car owner should do as soon as possible after buying a car–would clue the owner in to this bit of knowledge. However, as we know, many people never seem to even take the manual out of its plastic wrapper, so I am not sure what the solution to this problem–other than providing a full-size spare–might be.

Incidentally, more and more automatic transmission Subarus are now equipped with the premium Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) system, which is not subject to damage from mismatched tires or donut spares, so we should be seeing less and less of these “what went wrong with my Subaru?” posts after a while.

Whoops. I seem to have gotten caught contradicting myself, didn’t I?

I guess the difference is that in the case of the spare I envision getting a flat on a cold dark night in bad weather (like we have most of the year in NH) and changing the tire. The only thing on one’s mind at that time is getting home safely. It would be the rare individual that would turn on the dome light, dig out the manual, and start reading. And, realistically, few people read what to do for a flat until they actually have one. Those that do probably don’t remember the details four years later when the flat happens. Remember that in many parts of the country bad weather and short days are commonplace. For months it’s cold and pitch black when I leave for work in the morning and pitch black when I leave for home at night.

The scenerios I had in mind in my first post were the “what size tires does my car take”, and “how often should I change my oil”, and those kind of things.

I still stand by my posts on the issue, however I appreciate your feedback.

I am not trying to make mechanics out of people who have not chosen the field but we do get posts asking how to avoid being taken advantage of and my first idea is increasing knowledge about the automobile and how the garage system works,the good and the bad.

Perhaps some practicing mechanics just don’t know how many online training services are available. Just visiting a training site can give a DIYer a view on all the things that can be checked out and they can pay attention if their chosen mechanic is performing his diagnostics using a accepted method

I think that all of us have contradicted ourselves. In fact, I am sure that I have done this on more than a few occasions.

As always, I respect your opinions and your insights!

I be tryin’ to unnerstan’ who you mean by “Posters”. Do you mean visitors to Car Talk; or, do you mean the “Usual Responders”?
The Posters who, actually, want to know how, and why, things work (automotive and otherwise) are few; but, if some want to know about things automotive, here at this Car Talk forum are people willing to help them.
Ask away, Posters.

My post was specificaly targeted to people other than the regulars. We get a lot of post from people who with just a little bit of knowledge would be able to keep themselves from being victimized (as many feel they are). I am confident that on most days of the week there is someone claiming some kind of ripoff or unfair treatment. The best way to protect yourself is to educate yourself.

You are right people can just post a question,they don’t need to seek out the info. from truly educational informative unbiased sources. You post a question on CarTalk and you get opinion and it can be wrong.

How could anyone have been confused as to who I was speaking to?

I understand who you’re gearing the question towards and will add this. While auto repair ripoffs certainly do occur many shops are also victimized by unscrupulous members of the public.

My feeling is that many car repair problems are due to miscommunication or the simple fact that the majority of people know less than zero about what makes their car tick and choose to remain that way.
A hiccup in the process and they instantly feel they’ve been had.

One of the absolute worst people in the world I’ve ever had to deal with is my wife of all people. Almost 40 years of me and my explanation of why a car problem occurred and she constantly thinks I “screwed up”.
(Ex. Replace rear pads on my Lincoln, 2 months later the fronts squeak, and she will insist and even argue the point that it’s “something you did” even though at this point in time she knows nothing about a car and will still ignore something as simple as an oil light, temp gauge, or even a half flat tire. How was I to know, she asks?)

Did a major repair for my daughter on her car at zero labor, parts cost only with daughter even procuring some of the parts, and she hints I “ripped her off” when I plainly told both of them what is was going to cost 2 weeks in advance. Think that one didn’t make me hot.)

Now imagine my wife walking into a shop… :frowning:

I Too Was Confused By Your Question And Didn’t Respond Until Now.

Apparently, in the first paragraph you are talking to Car Talk regulars, calling visitors “our customers”.

Then the second paragraph seems to question the visitors.
Do I have it right?

I think the answer to your question is found by looking at the respondents. I’m counting 13 so far, all regulars, no visitors. A simple answer to your question is “No, Thanks”, at this point.

Did I actually comprehend what you’ve written and asked?


I am in agreement with CSA.
I also found the wording of the post’s title to be confusing–at best.
Do other people object to reading about my car?
Do I object to reading about my own car?
Neither of the above?
The intent of the question was definitely not clear–at least not to me or to CSA.

And, as CSA pointed out, since only our “regulars” seem to have responded, I think that you have gotten the answer to your question, albeit in a somewhat roundabout way.

Yes you have it right as to who I was asking a question. I wanted to confirm my feeling that people do not care enough to educate themselves in any issue of any depth involving their automobile or the process of getting it repaired but they certainly are very quick to claim “rip-off” when presented the bill.

Earlier in the week we had the post from the guy who bought too small of a truck for the trailer he wanted to tow. His defense was that he relied on the selling parties advice,this just does not work. This was the post that motivated me to ask people other than "the regulars’ if they were interested in being given directions to becomming more informed about their cars and the car repair process.

CSA’s conclusion is correct,the public does not want to take personal responsibility in staying free from exploitation and they are going to pay the price for this lack of interest.

Lack of personal responsibility is–IMHO–one of the biggest problems that we face in our society today. No matter how somebody “screws up”, it always seems to be the fault of someone else–according to the person who screwed up.

In my 34 years as an educator, I fought the good fight daily to try to teach young people to accept responsibility for their own actions (and inactions), but more often than not, my efforts were negated by parents who seemed to be intent on inculcating a lack of personal responsibility in their children.

Then, I went on to a second career as a Certified Legal Assistant, writing the county’s Child Abuse and Child Neglect complaints that were filed in State Superior Court. In virtually every case, the offending parents were unable to accept that they had not acted in a responsible fashion. Even when the kindly judge would patiently explain this concept to these parents (prior to bringing the gavel down on their guilt), they would argue that the injuries to their child were the fault of someone else.

So, whether it has to do with someone’s child, or their car, or their home, or…I see an epidemic of a lack of personal responsibility on the part of a huge percentage of the public today. When they act irresponsibly in regard to their cars, they are the ones who suffer. But, when they act irresponsibly in regard to other people–including their own children–the suffering is spread to innocent parties, and that is a real injustice.