Why women don't change tires
Insurance.com surveys drivers about everyday annoyances like flat tires and dead batteries. Fewer than half of women have changed a tire.
This post comes from Karen Aho at partner site Insurance.com.
Women apparently don't see a reason to kneel in the mud. According to a newly released survey by Insurance.com, only half of female drivers said they had changed a tire before, and a third said they wouldn't even know how.
By contrast, nine out of 10 men said they had changed a tire, with only 6 percent admitting they didn't know how.
"There was a time before cell phones when you had to know how to do these things," Insurance.com Managing Editor Des Toups says. "Even now, knowing how to change a tire rather than call emergency road service could keep you from making an auto insurance claim."
The auto insurance comparison website asked 1,000 men and 1,000 women about their abilities to deal with car-related maintenance and problems. These also included checking the oil, jump-starting a car and checking a tire's air pressure. All the respondents were married homeowners with children.
While men bested women in all four areas, the greatest discrepancy was in changing tires.
Could it have something to do with the strength required? That's what Jennifer Newman, an assistant managing editor at Cars.com, wonders.
"I thought, Oh my God, I'm one of these women: I've never changed a tire," says Newman, who could recall having only two flats. "Both of these times I was in a big SUV and just trying to loosen the nuts on the wheels, I couldn't even get them loose ... I called my husband."
Garages use power air wrenches and often tighten lug nuts beyond the recommended torque. Newman's 200-plus-pound husband had to stand on the wrench to jimmy the nuts loose. "If he's struggling, then certainly I'm going to struggle with it," she says.
And once the nuts are off, there's the matter of maneuvering the tire. The entire wheel component can weigh 45 to 80 pounds, says Sarah Robinson, a technical marketing manager for Michelin.
"The steel wheels that come on a lot of base model cars are very, very heavy," she says. "When you consider the rim weight, it's not easy."
Nonetheless, these aren't good reasons for all drivers to not at least know how to change a tire, say these and other female auto professionals. Cell phones aren't always in range, strangers can't always be relied upon, and multiple claims on your auto insurance for towing or emergency road service can eventually affect your rates.
"I'm a little surprised that more women don't say they know how to do it," says Newman, noting that women today influence 80 percent of car-buying decisions and clearly are well-versed in other aspects of preventative auto care.
Sisters are doing it for themselves, mostly
The Insurance.com data largely bears this out, with a majority of women professing to other regular maintenance checks. The survey found that:
- 78 percent of women had checked their car's oil, compared to 93 percent of men; only 13 percent of women said they didn't know how to check the oil, compared to 4 percent of men.
- 76 percent of women have checked the air pressure in their tires, compared to 93 percent of men; 15 percent of women said they didn't know how to, compared to 4 percent of men.
- 65 percent of women said they had jump-started a car, compared to 88 percent of men; 26 percent of women said they didn't know how to jump-start a car, compared to 7 percent of men.
In a roadside emergency, women were most likely to call their spouse (58 percent) or roadside assistance (27 percent); men were slightly more likely to call roadside assistance (38 percent) than their spouse (31 percent).
That so many women aren't familiar with emergency repairs may also be a sign of the times.
In the Insurance.com survey, only 60 percent of all drivers under age 55 said they had changed a tire, whereas 80 percent of those 55 or older had.
"People always believe, ‘I've got my cell phone, I'll be fine’," says Robinson.
You don’t have to love it
Meanwhile, American car culture remains stubbornly male.
"A lot of the information that's out there seems to be geared toward men: the manner in which it's written, the pictures that are used, the terminology," says TerriAnn van Gosliga, editor of DrivingMamas.com. "You still have these scantily dressed women modeling these cars. How often do you see a half-dressed, ripped guy lying on a car?"
Van Gosliga created her own downloadable instruction cards on emergency repair after she said she was unable to find simple graphics online that would appeal to women.
"There are a lot of women who think you have to be really into cars to know these things. You don't," she says. "It's OK and it's good to learn about these things. It doesn't mean you're all of a sudden a motorhead.”
Besides, these women say, self-reliance is contagious. Robinson, who races cars in her free time, always included roadside repair the teenage driving courses she taught.
"I've seen the tiniest 15- or 16-year-old girl muster up the strength to change her own tire," she says. "It's just working smarter not harder… and having the determination to do it."
"When they realized, OK, I can actually change my own tire, there was a sense of accomplishment there," she says.
More from Insurance.com
I have changed multiple tires. And purposely had the wife rotate all of the tires so she knew what to do in case of emergency. We live in the boonies and can't count on cell coverage or other drivers to help out.
With only 6% of men admitting they don't know how I also believe it is higher but when you pull data from only 1000 people and who knows where in the country they are from it makes a lot of difference.
Physically, women generally are a liability. We'd still be living in straw huts if it we were dependent on women to build anything.
But for the most part they make up for that in other important ways, are soft and cuddly and smell good. We'd be lost without them.
A smart man doesnt wear heels
While some say women don't have the strength - the reality is that they never tried to change a tire, so they have no idea what strength is needed anway.
The real reason is that the majority of women don't have a clue how to change a tire - this has been confirmed by my unscientific survey of my wife, daughter, several of her friends, several of my femaie neighbors and co-workers. Most admitted they don't know how to change if and even if they did.....they're afraid of getting dirty performing the needed work.
I think it would be great if all woman knew how to change tires, wash the car, wax the car, mow lawn, clean gutters, paint the house inside and out, take the garbage out, do misc. repairs around the house, etc. etc. etc.
As a single father I am required to have all of those skills in additional to what's left, scrubbing floors, food shopping, clothes shopping, making dinner, making sure the homework is done, parent teacher meetings etc. etc. etc.
BTW, I am the CSO for a global software company.
As a man who grew up during the heat of the woman's movement. I have learned to except their need to be better than me. Having grown up during those times, many of the men I knew had a rule. Never get closer than two arm lengths from a woman.
You see, during those years you could end up in a court room for the slightest infraction when it came to a woman. So, we simply kept our distance.
So ladies, give it hell but you have a long way to go to be better than this man,.
My 2 cents.
Before my teenager was allowed to drive our cars: She had to know how to check the oil, change a tire, and put gas in.
She brought a boy home from college one weekend and they had a flat in Chicago. The boy did not have a clue, our daughter changed the tire and the boy was not on her list again as a person of interest.
Our daughter graduated with a masters and has traveled the world. Learn what you can and never be dependent.
A proud dad.
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