New car owner who lives in Burlington VT and called car talk

this is info , not a question. I would recommend Bouchard’s Garage off Dorset St in South Burlington VT for honest, friendly service-- many of us locally use them. Good luck!

That recommendation should be very helpful to the young guy who called the show.

However, in addition, he needs to take a basic car-care course, perhaps at a local vo-tech school or a community college. These courses are offered in the evening, usually involve fewer than 10 sessions, and very cheap, and are geared to those who know nothing about cars–a category into which this young guy certainly fits.

As evidence that he knows nothing about cars, his reaction to an overheating car was to add oil. He gave us no indication that he ever checked the oil. As we all know, adding oil to a crankcase that is full can bring on a whole heap of problems. This young guy apparently thought that motor oil is like an aspirin–to be administered for a wide variety of problems. It is very sad that someone puts himself in the position of spending perhaps thousands of dollars, but knows so little that he potentially is causing more damage than already existed!

One would think that a young guy growing up in Burlington would know about the very common substance known as antifreeze, but apparently he had no clue about the need for this liquid in his cooling system. Since he apparently had bought the car only recently, this experience tells us that he did not have a mechanic check it over prior to purchase, and that he himself did not even know how to do some very basic under-hood checks prior to purchase.

In other words, he lacks “survival skills” for a car owner, and that is not a good thing unless he wants to have to scrap his cars or buy replacement engines frequently and/or wants to be cheated by unscrupulous repair places.

While I think that the brothers were probably accurate in their diagnosis of a cracked head or block as a result of the low coolant level and the ice in the cooling system, they erred in not advising this young guy to acquire some much-needed basic automotive knowledge.

I am not criticizing this young guy, but I think that it is obvious that he is “in over his head” on an everyday basis with his car. Luckily help is available, if he will only avail himself of it.

Maybe you should post this under “The Show”…See “Topic Index”…

It would be nice for people to get themselves educated in basic car care; but, for some (many?), that’s asking too much. Perhaps, the best advice would be to, “Take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic frequently (maybe, once a month) for a quick check of vital fluids, safety items, and the like.” The checks would only take about 15 minuets, and might, later, save the driver/owner a lot of preventable grief (time, money).

In principle I agree with you, but unfortunately the schools (in my area at least) don’t get enough enrollment to continue offering these programs. This I know from experience/

People seem to fall into one of two categories, those who are interested and seem to acquire the knowledge some other way, and those who simply are not interested and probably couldn’t grasp the concepts anyway.

Saturn used to offer a free basic car care class on Saturdays to all their new Saturn owners. I bought one in '95 (wife’s idea) and went to the class hoping to learn something about the car itself. There were probably six people there. The only thing I learned was that I was wasting my time at a beginner class (duh!), but I did win the doorprize…a nice set of Mr. Goodwrench sockets in a nice carry case.

Society has sure changed since many of us were young, I graduated in 1960 from high school, and the second thing all boys thought about in those days was cars. We read about them. We looked at older boys’ cars and acted like we knew something even if we didn’t. If there was a mechanic who let boys hand around his shop, those who lived close enough did that, too.

And, yes, as we got cars, we learned how they worked and how to keep them running. Many of us lived on farms and drove tractors before we were allowed to drive a car, and so we knew about engine coolant and checking oil levels.

Frankly, I would be surprised if his dad was in the house. If so, his dad is busted.

thank you for the wise advise, unfortunately I see other young people making similar uninformed decisions.

My wife and I raised three daughters, and would talk at the dinner table in front of them about car maintenance and repair issues. All three are aware of the basic things, like regular oil changes, and to be sensitive to new sounds in your car. My youngest just bought a new car, and while she was at the dealership, she called me and I checked the Internet and found that as a recent college graduate, Scion would give her a $1,000.00 credit. They also call me whenever they have a car question. This is what every parent should be doing, but our Vermont friend must not have had this upbringing. This forum is a great help for learning new things.