In recent years, it feels like there’s been an increase in generational tensions. With phrases like “OK boomer” and “entitled millennials” having found themselves thrown comfortably into mainstream conversation. It seems like young vs old is quite a hot topic at the moment.
When it comes to those “entitled millennials”, the big stereotype attached is that the youth of today don’t know how to do the basics anymore – like looking after their money, carrying out home DIY or knowing their way around a car. Where the latter is concerned, premium car dealers, Jardine Motors, recently carried out a study to find out all about basic car maintenance skills – one part of which was to define skills and knowledge by age.
So, just how “entitled” are younger people when it comes to looking under the hood?
Unfortunately for the younger folk, it would appear the baby boomers and Generation X-ers do tend to know a bit more about their cars.
According to the study, 58% of 18–34-year-olds could not complete a list of simple car maintenance tasks provided, compared to 43% of those over 55 years old. As for specific skills, there is a striking divide found in certain tasks – changing a flat tire, for example, was beyond the knowledge of 73% of 18–24-year-olds but only 49% of those aged over 65. The same goes for knowing where to find things under the hood with 52% of those aged 18-44 unsure how to check their windscreen washer fluid compared to just 23% of those 45 or older.
While the bigger takeaway from the study is that a lot of us generally don’t know how to carry out basic maintenance on our vehicles, it would appear that the problem definitely lies more with young than old.
Beyond the direct question of who knows more, there is a broader question surrounding whether young people actually require that knowledge. With things different now to how they were maybe 20 or 30 years ago, do the Gen Z and millennial crowd need the same skills in order to get by?
With the increased accessibility and affordability of cars and maintenance services, one could argue that having the repair skills previous generations do is a much more disposable aspect of modern life. Couple that with the increased reliability and safety of modern vehicles, and most young people probably don’t worry about something going wrong with their vehicles like older generations did.
Still, it definitely can’t hurt to know the basic maintenance skills that can keep a car ticking over. It is, however, fair to suggest that they just might not be as important as they used to be.
Dawn Of The EVs
If we look at stereotypes going the other way, older people are generally considered to be useless with technology. As we sit here today in the midst of an electric revolution in the automobile realm, another interesting question arises as to whether the ratios surrounding basic car maintenance will shift as electric vehicles (EVs), with their much-changed internal processes, become the norm.
Older generations tend to understand the combustion system of gas and diesel vehicles better than younger people do, but with the new petrol and diesel ban arriving in 2030 in Europe, that knowledge will become largely redundant in the next couple of decades. Perhaps then, the original question we were asking will be flipped, and it’ll be older generations under the microscope for their lack of knowledge in the growing world of electric mobility.