Something I was never offered in high school and I wish I was, was a driving class that you got your hands dirty with. Luckily, I have some very mechanically talented family members who I’ve been able to walk through issues with. I have the ability to change my brakes or change the oil. Other than that, I’m not very useful with my hands, but I at least know some basics in terms of different parts on a car, what they do, how they help other parts function, etc.
If you can get with someone you trust, watch them work on a car or have them walk you through how to do it yourself. I see it more and more now. Younger kids (and it’s not just reserved to that age group) know absolutely dick about cars and it’s not a good thing. Did you invest four digits into your car? Maybe you splurged and invested 5 digits. You bought a reliable Honda or a Subaru for $14k because you’ve heard good things and you want a car to last you for awhile. If you’re willing to invest that kind of money into something you use every day, you need to invest the time to learn what makes the thing tick.
Aside from knowing how to change a tire, you should look up resources online to see what makes the car go vroom vroom and not fek….feeeek….fekfekfek…
Knowing something simple like the difference between drum brakes and disc brakes could save you asinine amounts of money at a later date.
Edit: SOME Mechanics appear to be increasingly shady these days and they can and will take you to the woodshed if you’re not careful. My dad once had an issue with his suv… the mechanic said it needed a new engine. He took it to a trusted friend and it just needed a valve adjustment. Almost 7 years later and that car is still running. That’s roughly $5-10k in cost compared to a $100-200 valve adjustment…
EDIT: NOT ALL MECHANICS ARE BAD, BUT ONE BAD EXPERIENCE CAN PUT A SOUR TASTE IN YOUR MOUTH.
When I was in college I got a routine oil change at a national tire and battery. Dudes told me I needed to have calipers put on my rear brakes. My brakes were drum brakes. Drum brakes don’t have calipers. Knowing this simple factoid about brakes helped me save probably $300-500 and honestly who knows what the fuck they would have done had I let them work on my brakes.
Again, if you have time time to search and purchase a multi thousand dollar car, then you have the time to do research and learn about what you’re driving. Do it. You may find that you’re actually mechanically inclines and enjoy working on your vehicle. It could save you a few bucks or maybe even a few thousand bucks.
I can not recommend haynes.com/en-us/car-manuals enough. These guys write complete guidebooks and complete breakdown and repair of many models/makes of cars. You can quickly become an expert on what your car is by reading these. Sure you may not be able to do the work, but you’ll know what makes your car tick and it will help you be a better informed consumer, especially when trying to find good mechanics for the more complex stuff.
Edit: I’ve changed the mechanic/trust part a bit because people didn’t like the perceived generalization. I’ll repeat it here: not all mechanics are shady. Good mechanics are great, but if you have one bad experience it’s souring and really effects someone and makes it hard for them to find one they can trust. Do your research. Talk to the mechanic.