DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: The day I got my first car, my dad had me show him that I could change a flat tire, check the oil, and understand everything on the dashboard.
Of course, these days computer chips will tell you when some things need to be taken care of, but they can’t change a tire, put in some oil, replace windshield wipers, and just plain put water in the radiator.
I have told my kids (ages 19-31) that there is a lot to be said for being able to understand some of the simplest workings of your car, not to mention how to deal with some problems all on your own, especially if it comes down to your needing to do so.
Why are kids from their generation so happy to be ignorant about things that can be not just useful, but very important sometimes? --- THEY JUST DON’T GET IT
DEAR THEY JUST DON’T GET IT: While I’m far from mechanically savvy, I agree with you that it’s important for laymen to be able to handle some basic car maintenance — just in case. More than once, I’ve had to change a tire, and I’ve long considered it a skill well worth having.
Part of the issue now-a-days is something you already mentioned. Cars are programmed to monitor increasing numbers of routine functions. It’s also easy for people to pull up how-tos on their phones or other devices as needed.
However, that’s no substitution for being able to handle real-life emergent situations like safely putting on a spare tire or topping off an overheating radiator, especially if you don’t happen to have Wi-Fi access when troubles arise. I think it’s a good idea to remind your adult children that knowing how to do these things could very well save them time and trouble one day.