What’s the Best Car Advice You Got From Your Dad?

It's Father's Day. Let's pool some Dad Knowledge.

If you’re fortunate enough that your dad is still kicking, and you’re on good terms with him, give him a call today or go hang out with him. Maybe thank him for any and all good car advice he’s given you over the years. (Or leave him alone for a few hours to take a nap or watch golf or something, if that’s what he wants.)

Today is Father’s Day in many countries, so consider this your official reminder from The Drive to give props to your old man, if you can. It’d be wrong to say that all car enthusiasts got the bug from their dads, but many of us did. 

It’s time we pool all that great—or sometimes questionable, but entertaining—Dad Car Advice in one place. What’s the biggest thing you learned about cars from your dad?

I don’t think I’d be into cars if it hadn’t been for my father. He explained how engines worked when I was a little kid, bought me countless books and magazines, taught me to drive automatic and then stick (fun fact: he wouldn’t let me drive the five-speed Miata he had when I was in high school, but was hot to trot to have me drive the C5 Corvette Z06 he bought a little later) and has joined me on plenty of runs where speed laws were flouted. 

So I can’t point to one particular good piece of car advice I got from him. There was a lot. One that really sticks out—amid his anguished cries of “What gear are you IN?” when he was teaching me to drive stick—was that if you get “lost” when driving manual, pop it back into neutral, and then three is up and four is down. Good advice for beginners who get overwhelmed, although I’m happy to say I have it down these days. That, and that you should always take care of your tires and brakes. Don’t cheap out on those things.

Your turn. This Father’s Day, why don’t you tell us the most useful thing you learned about cars or driving from your dad, or another person who filled that role in your life?