ISSN 2330-717X

Take Care Of Your Cars – OpEd

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Years ago, I was working for a foreign joint venture company in Istanbul. For the upper management, company gave a rental car to the general manager and his deputies, which could be changed in every three years. We drove cars between home and work, to go to Ankara and thermal power plant trips. One day, I had to go to the Soma thermal power plant on South West of Anatolia, which was within the scope of privatization at that time. I spent the night in the powerhouse guesthouse. The next morning, the field engineer and I drove to the nearby Denis coal field in my car.

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On the road I drove my rental car very carefully and slowly. I wanted the road to be comfortable, the exhaust not to blown, the axle not to break, the car not to be damaged. My field engineer friend, who worked at the power plant, was amazed at the situation and asked, “This car is rented, not yours, why don’t you go faster?” I explained, “If something happens to the car, I will have to waste time dealing with repairs, the road we will go takes at most half an hour, there is no point for us to go fast and arrive ten minutes early”. My explanation probably wasn’t convincing enough. The next day, we crossed the same road with a Renault station given by the power plant. This time the same field engineer friend of mine drove the car, as you guessed, he drove very fast, the shock absorbers of the car were blown, and I felt very uncomfortable along the way. 

We recently went to the construction site in the Soma Eynez coal field. There were about 30 each 4-wheel drive SUV jeeps in the site parking lot, as you may expect the cars were worn out very quickly from harsh careless use. The driver who took me from Edremit airport and took me back and showed me around the field seemed as if to be fighting with the car. 

Electric taxis and small buses came to Büyükada, Prinkipo island near Istanbul. Time passed, we got used to the comfortable use of electric cars, we forgot the phaeton era. New underwater cables were installed between the islands and main continent for the necessary extra electrical energy. The capacity was increased. Electric cars have become a very good source of income for İstanbul Greater Municipality. However, over time, drivers started to drive the cars very hard. They were going up and down steep slopes, they were driving fast, they were wearing them out quickly. Female drivers continued to drive more carefully. However, two accidents have occurred recently. In one of them, the axle of the taxi was broken on the Büyükada Çarkıfelek ridge street, it overturned, and the ribs of the female driver were broken. Tepeköy track is my upper Kadıyoran ridge. I know very well that male drivers go hard and fast, as if they were very ingenious. This accident was not caused by a momentary error. It was caused by wear and tear accumulated over time from abuse. I’m sure the female driver was driving the electric car very carefully and slowly. I can’t say that most drivers use cars carefully. 

From time to time, I am coming from Ankara to Istanbul with YHT high speed train. I’m getting off in Bostancı train station. I’m going to the taxi stand behind the train station. I’m taking a taxi. If I have met the owner of the car, the driver is very careful, taxi is clean, ride is comfortable. Shock absorbers are solid. We’re taking the road at reasonable speed. If I came across a driver working as a day laborer, his car is dirty inside and out, noise comes from all sides of the car. Shock absorbers are blown. Air conditioner does not work. The owner of the car receives lumpsum 500 liras a day, the maintenance and gasoline costs belong to the daily worker. The casual driver takes the ambition of making less money by not taking care of the car. 

I admire the professional use of the drivers who use intercity buses. They drive their cars very comfortably and carefully. 

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On the other hand, the use of the drivers of company cars, which bring goods to and from the markets in the city, is very bad. I try to use my own car carefully. I slow down on deceleration bumps, watch out for manhole covers and potholes. I immediately give way to those who are behind me, wanting a clear way, and cars with strobes. I don’t mess with the careless drivers, I don’t make sudden maneuvers, let them pass. I especially avoid rental cars with 34 (istanbul) license plates. If the ambulance is coming behind, I will move to the far right, I will not get stuck behind it. 

I admire the great care taken by the drivers in Germany with the cars they drive. Drivers take great care when driving moving vehicles, whether they have their own car or not. It is a rule in factories to clean and leave the benches clean at the end of the shift. 

The more carefully we use them, the better the machines will work, the better their efficiency will be. It is not right to despise and abuse them by calling them a rental car or a company car. There is no pleasure in driving with a flat shock absorber.

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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