What Is Mechanical Sympathy And Why Should Every New Driver Learn About It?


Mechanical sympathy is one of those phrases that sounds like a really bad oxymoron; like saying soft concrete or heavy feathers. However, it’s a phrase commonly talked about in mechanic circles that can have a really big impact on how you car will last (and how much you spend on it).

Mechanical sympathy is the basic idea of understanding that everything on a car has a breaking point. Whether it’s the pistons (the bit’s that go up and down inside the engine), the gearbox or just the indicator stalk, cars are actually surprisingly fragile pieces of machinery.

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While it might be surprising to hear, a lot of the things that we see each day as mechanics can actually be avoided. From people wearing out their clutch too early to broken door handles and worn-out seats, so many things on a car are being replaced due to abuse instead of just the age of the car.

Why does this matter to a new driver though?


Interestingly, many new drivers (teenagers) are a little bit rougher on equipment. This roughness can lead to more of these breakages then you would normally expect and can end up costing thousands of dollars over the first few years of driving. Not a good thing for people who are usually in school or working their first job.

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How can you help though?

If you’re tasked with supervising a learner driver, one of the best things you can do is teach them a couple of things about the car as they learn. For example, if you’re learning to drive a manual, watch a video about how the clutch in a car works and help them to understand the costs associated with owning a car.


While this isn’t necessary for every car all the time, doing this for a few of the more common failures in a vehicle should teach them to have sympathy for the parts holding it all together. As a bonus, it might keep them from doing handbrake turns at the local Macca’s on a Friday night too.


 

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