Decadent youth - Lud
I read in a small inside-page item in today's comic that while two thirds or so of 18-25 year old men in this country are happy ironing their shirts and smalls, only one in ten knows how to maintain a car.

I would declare my contempt for these mincing, scented degenerates if I didn't fear that a hundred or so of them might surround me in the street and stab me slowly and untidily to death with the tails of their little combs. So instead I will praise their feminist side, leaving their mothers and sisters free to slump in front of daytime TV with a fag and a can of beer.
Decadent youth - smokescreen
I read in a small inside-page item in today's comic that while two thirds or
so of 18-25 year old men in this country are happy ironing their shirts and
smalls only one in ten knows how to maintain a car.

I feel ashamed to be associated to that age bracket for so many reasons, nevermind this one!

Edited by smokescreen on 29/05/2008 at 15:30

Decadent youth - MichaelR
I know how to maintain my car - take it to the dealer when the yellow service light comes on.
Decadent youth - skorpio
When I first started driving 20years ago I couldn't wait to start dismantling and fettling with my first car, a Bronze/Rust coloured VW Polo. I subsequently enrolled on an evening class to learn basic repairs and servicing. It gave me the confidence to remove a rocker cover gasket, change a spark plug and to fit disc pads.

I still went out clubbing, smelt lovely and wore hair products however!
Decadent youth - Saltrampen
Had it not been for my dad's Triumph 1300 and rusting escorts of the 70's and 80's I would not have had a clue either when I was 18-25. Also I think I have learnt alot more about cars when I was that age.
If your dad just sticks his car into the garage all the time becuase he's bewildered by its modern complexity, he is less likely to point out bits about the oil and water etc.
OR is it the plug and play mentality? They take their Xboxes out and plug it in when they want to use them, and let them gather dust when not in use, same with the car until something goes wrong.
Don't worry in 10 years time, younger people will plug xbox into the datasocket in the car and it will tell them what it needs.

Edited by Pugugly on 29/05/2008 at 19:37

Decadent youth - commerdriver
Not all of them there is another thread running from a 24 year old who has just purchased a VW bay window, he expects to do a fair bit of the maintenance himself. Not sure how much help an aerospace engineering degree will be!
Decadent youth - perleman
Modern cars are more reliable and less home-maintainable. Due to the explosion in mass-affluence over the last 20 years, as well as globalisation and comoditisation, products are relatively cheaper to replace and thus there is an overall reduction in the need or desire for people to maintain their own cars. The youth of this country have never had it so good, with ready availability of technologically advanced products at affordable prices. And do they realise how lucky they are?????? Of course not.
Decadent youth - Lud
Don't worry in 10 years time younger people will plug xbox into the datasocket in
the car and it will tell them what it needs.

And of course they will understand perfectly and be able to entrust it grandly to a tooth-sucking villain of a main dealer workshop foreman, like MichaelR. Needless to say they will always have the means to cover the charges he sees fit to impose when he returns the car to them in a worse state than when he got it.

Keep it virtual!
Decadent youth - Robbie
The question was probably badly phrased. Although I used to be able to service my cars when I was in my youth, I'm afraid that I wouldn't know where to start with a modern car.

The last car of mine that I serviced was my first Vauxhall Carlton - 1980. That was my last low tech motor. No problem changing pads; tuning the engine with my Gunson Sparktune; adjusting the dwell angle with my other Gunson meter; and changing the points and plugs.

I certainly can't do that with my Honda Accord - anyway it's a diesel.
Decadent youth - Optimist
I do enjoy the picture of Lud, relaxed on his sofa this morning, up to his elbows in grease and hydraulic fluid, enjoying a read of the paper in a brief break from a taxing de-coke, while the women of his family iron his formal overalls in preparation for a "do" at the local scrap yard.

Outside, various mildly cross young men mince up and down waiting to give him a jolly good

It's ok, Lud, it doesn't make you a bad person to think this way!
Decadent youth - bathtub tom

I had to go and look that one up!
Decadent youth - Lud
Let's have a bit of realism here Optimist.

I am not a professional mechanic - the very thought makes me shudder - and my car, touch wood, fingers crossed, does not need daily mechanical surgery. But I am from time to time up to my elbows in oil or brake fluid, although I wouldn't sit on the sofa in that state.

As for the women of my family doing any ironing for me, chance would be a fine thing. I have to make a clamour for three months just to get one of them to cut my hair (hate barbers y'see). They don't mind me looking like an alcoholic tramp. They are used to it.
Decadent youth - oilrag
The sad thing is that some of them are actually easier to service than before and complex electronics can be mixed/confused with the actual bits that need servicing.

On the engine of my paradoxical Snob and Gloat, Humble Truck Following Supplicant, only oil and filters need attention for 150,000 miles - no time limits.

What would we have said about that in the days when we were doing tappets, plugs, points, cambelts and fanbelt tensions in addition to the above.

I blame it on loose talk from journalists (not HJ) and the makers and dealers in trying to pretend that between the top and bottom plastic engine covers, now lies a nuclear fusion warp drive that would disintegrate if not touched up by the Main Dealer Special Diagnostic Tool.

They keep very quiet about EOBD..... As for incapability...well...


Decadent youth - oilrag
"no time limits." I mean as in cambelts, not with oils and filters
Decadent youth - Whisky
I am firmly in that age group (23) and yet a fortnight ago I changed the cambelt on my HDi. Now admittedly I'd be somewhat lost if not for my dads help and advice on bigger jobs such as the cam belt, but for general servicing such as oil changes and the like I can do them with my eyes shut. I have a haynes manual and can do most jobs following the instructions.

I did try to enrol on an evening course at the nearest college that offers such a thing (30 miles away) but was cancelled due to lack of interest. Don't think my generation are very interested. I suppose they might be if they we're aware you can do most jobs for little money compared to garages. Pug garage belt change = £500, my belt change = £50, bought a new telly with the savings.
Decadent youth - Lud
Well, you are one of the non-decadent ten per cent Whiskers, so you are not in the frame here. As for seeking advice or help from yr father or friends, everyone does that. It's the only way to learn anyway.
Decadent youth - Bagpuss
To be honest, the cars people drive these days just don't need fettling in the way they did when I fitted into that particular age group. I used to spend weekends trying to make sure that my current set of wheels would actually make it through the week without breaking down.

Fortunately, car manufacturers came up with ways of replacing points, condensors and carburettors with inherently maintenance free systems. This means today's car owners can put their leisure time to far better use than standing in the rain on a Saturday in October trying to get twin SUs in sufficient tune to prevent them fouling the spark plugs within 10 miles.
Decadent youth - mss1tw
The question was probably badly phrased. Although I used to be able to service my
cars when I was in my youth I'm afraid that I wouldn't know where to
start with a modern car.

Don't really understand this! Oil still comes out out of the bottom still and fresh stuff put in the top.

The sparktune and dwell angle meter can be left in their boxes!

If anything it's got to be easier? I certainly wouldn't know what to do with a dwell angle meter but have given all my cars services to the standard listed in the service manuals.
Decadent youth - Westpig

I can see your point and somewhere in me i sneakingly agree...but...with a huge whiff of hypocrisy..because;

as a youth i can remember the old man teaching me simple mechanics and as an example the brake pad change on mother's 1970 1600GT Capri was most simple, wheel off, couple of clips and it was like putting toast in a toaster...but, when she changed it to a 1978 Fiesta 1.3 Ghia, the pads on that needed the calipers taking off the disc (unless we were doing something wrong, which is entirely possible).

I've lost count of the times in late teens early twenty's when the 15 minute job has taken 4 hours, because the correct spanner is missing, or the nut has rounded or you can't get your hand in there or the essential widget drops down into the engine bay never to be seen again, the nice warm sunny afternoon suddenly changes into an arctic storm, etc, etc

so when you start earning enough dosh to not to have to bother, you pay someone else to do it to maintain your sanity and a reasonable stress level. I worked it out, i just don't have the patience.

Nowadays, even something really simple like changing a headlamp bulb is a trial. Unless you have a neighbour with a child that has a withered arm.. and they're willing to lend you said on earth are you supposed to get your hand in these places without dismantling half the car?

No, no, no...leave it to someone else, who knows what they're doing.

Decadent youth - Lud
leave it to someone else who knows what they're doing.

The older I get, the more inclined I am to do that. But during most of my motoring life I have been chronically skint, or anyway short of disposable mazuma, and, er, needs must when the devil drives. I have never enjoyed doing brakes, wheel bearings or suspension, that awful combination of heavy labour, filth, barked knuckles and the need to keep certain things spotless amid all the grit and rubble. But I have had to do them in my time, and got away with it too.

Of course the phenomenon of pratting about for two days on a one-hour job is familiar to all mechanics, professional as well as amateur. These days I run what passes for a modern car, and as people have pointed out electronics and things like hydraulic tappets reduce the need for routine adjustment. I even paid someone, a good mechanic obviously, to change my car's cambelt because reading the Haynes manual made it look like a PITA, and I knew from my brother-in-law that the job is very easy to get wrong with a Ford 16-valve engine. Still, the knowledge and experience acquired over the years is useful in understanding the car and also garage men when talking about it, most especially understanding when they are talking rubbish either because they don't know or are trying to con the dumb punter. I absolutely hate that. The thought of the thefts such people perpetrate on simple average car owners really gets up my nose.
Decadent youth - P3t3r
two thirds or so of 18-25 year old men in this country are happy ironing their

I'm amazed by this I would have thought it would be closer to one third.

I'm in that age group and do both, although I didn't do the ironing or even own a car when I was 18!
Decadent youth - Big Bad Dave
I've got two mates, both x-army, both hard as nails and both utterly obsessive when it comes to ironing. They won't let their wives anywhere near their shirts which always look like they're brand new. I've never asked them, I just guess it's all part of soldier life.

I only ever wear t-shirts but I don't mind ironing them, I stick a fave movie on - something like Star Wars and just get on with it, but most of the time mother-in-law comes and does it. Not so keen on crawling under cars especially considering how cheap even main dealers are where I live. I suppose I'd be much happier ironing than replacing coils but when all's said and done I'd rather not have to do either.
Decadent youth - Lud
Ah yes BBD, I'd forgotten the military... an ironing board used to be part of an officer cadet's kit when he went to Sandhurst and I bet it still is. That fear of someone calling you a horrible little man in a foghorn voice and adding that your name has gone in the book for being naked on parade (meaning e.g. that there seems to be a crease, invisible to a normal human being, somewhere about the person's gleaming attire) stays with people for life judging by the polished, dapper, newly-shaved appearance of the ex-soldiers I have known. I'm not sure I would call most of them hard as nails though.

However, in reference to the OP here, I don't think the point was really that two thirds of contemporary youth are good military material, although I am sure some must be.
Decadent youth - oilrag
"The thought of the thefts such people perpetrate on simple average car owners really gets up my nose."

Same here Lud ;)

I tried to give up DIY around twenty five years ago with a run of new cars (on LA car loans)
However Main dealers soon proved incapable of even basic quality servicing and I had to start doing it again.

Great to see young people actually interested and doing DIY though.

Reminds me of a couple of years ago when a young chap approached me when I was changing a wheel. Not to stick me with a knife as my imagination had it, but to offer help...
A real milestone in perceived old age and physical weakness...

Although I kindly brushed him off, It put me onto behaving as though I`m even worse in certain situations to make life easier.


Decadent youth - PoloGirl
I'd rather have a man who can and will iron than fix my car - it's on a lease with maintenance and breakdown cover included!

Decadent youth - gordonbennet
This obvious deterioration in physical capability seems to be happening to me too.

I've noticed that at one of the midlands car factories, the very nice chaps at the dispatch yard often bring the new vehicles to me from the load lanes.

I secretly hope its because i'm a nice chap, but i think they see this poor worn out thing cluttering up their place, and want him out of the way ;)

I'm not going anywhere near a bus, i would be terribly embarassed if scores of capped and smart schoolboys offered me their seat...i may have just slipped into a parallel universe for a moment then ;)

Got my son well trained now in my more eccentric overservicing of cars...poor thing, i have a feeling his fiance wishes we would clear off and live somewhere like NZ, before he becomes more like me.
Decadent youth - Lud
A fellow offered to help me change a wheel in the street here some fifteen or twenty years ago. I refused politely. He hung about insisting until I said quite shortly that I was doing something and he was distracting me. At that he came to the real point: if he couldn't help me, perhaps I could help him with a small subsidy?

I could have of course - who couldn't? - but I certainly wasn't going to after an approach like that. Damn carphound.


Value my car