Learn to fix whatever is special and unique and weird about your car.

It lets you appreciate your car. Now you really do know what you have, and you can talk about it at length. You know why your car is special. Maybe you even have a deeper bond with it.

You can always find a mechanic to change the oil or rotate the tires or bleed the brakes. In fact, you can always find a lot of different mechanics to do stuff like that, in addition to a lot of non-mechanics, like friends in need of a few bucks. To me, having that kind of skill as a car owner is useless. It’s not a skill that’s ever in short supply. I’m never going to say damn, I wish I could find a mechanic who knows about oil changes.

But finding a mechanic who knows, in great detail, the immobilizer system or the transmission mounts or the window regulators on your specific car? A lot more difficult. Especially if you drive weird Jalopish cars. Even “specialists” might not know the details of your specific car. And automotive electronics experts, even on something as “basic” as immobilizers, are exceedingly rare.

You don’t even have to be able to physically do the repair yourself. But if you know in theory how to do it, and what to tell a generalist mechanic, you’ll be way ahead. And you’ll be able to enjoy um, unusual cars that in most people’s eyes are “impossible to maintain.”