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Americans could be overconfident in their car repair assessment abilities

While eight out of ten Americans feel confident they know when that time is, more than half say someone else notices their problems first.
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 4:35 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Keeping a car up and running for a good amount of time requires maintenance every now again.

While eight out of ten Americans feel confident they know when that time is, more than half say someone else notices their problems first. Usually a spouse or parent.

Now, car repair shops are busy working on a full load of cars a day from wheels to what’s under the hood and everything in between.

Weston Chapman, Owner of Black Hills Tires, says often times a car will get brought in because of what at face value looks like something extreme, but in actuality is rather minor, because “they might think they have an alignment issue. They might think they have an engine problem, because they’re getting bad gas mileage. Simple things like that, and it’s all just low tire pressure.”

On the contrary, while some may be overly cautious, he says others just ignore the rattle in the back that seems to be getting louder and louder and “they just keep driving it and keep driving it. The ole’ turn the radio up theory.”

Maybe that’s why sometimes someone else will notice problems first, because they’ve become so familiar with the issue that has gradually progressed over time.

“I really do think that a lot of the things that happen to a vehicle happen so slowly that a person that drives it every single day isn’t going to notice it,” explains Chapman, “and just drive it until, literally, it needs to be towed into the shop to get fixed.”

When it’s not someone else letting you know your car seems a little broken, he says maybe it’s that pesky check engine light flashing on the dash, which “literally hundreds of things that can cause that. So, anytime you get that on there you definitely want to have that, not just scanned, but really diagnosed by a professional shop. So, you can figure out what’s causing that.”

As cars become more complex, figuring out the plethora of different things that could be the matter requires all kinds of tools, gadgets and gizmos just to get an idea. As that progresses, he says a heavier lean is placed on professional shops because it’s becoming increasingly more difficult “for someone to fix them on their own, backyard type of of mechanic.”

In other words, although being a mechanic is hands on, Chapman says “your brain is your most important tool. For sure.”

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