3 in 5 adults admit they ‘fake it until they make it’ when it comes to things they don’t know

From pretending to know about cars to fibbing their ways through a political conversation, it turns out many Americans lack what feels like basic knowledge to many others.

NEW YORK — Three in five Americans are “faking it” through life. A new survey reveals that 62 percent confess to “faking it till they make it” through things they don’t know.

The study of 2,000 Americans who drive also discovered which topics respondents most commonly feel out of their depth when discussing. Making the list, 39 percent admit they’re at a loss when it comes to the latest technology and over a third (37%) are making it up as they go while parenting.

Auto Knowledge

One in four (24%) confess to not really understanding how politics work, while 37 percent have problems a little closer to home — saying they’re clueless in the kitchen.

When having car trouble, one in two say they “fake” their way through an entire consultation for vehicle repairs. Nearly half the poll (48%) lie or exaggerate about their auto knowledge. Of those, three in four (76%) admit to getting caught in that lie. When facing their fib, 39 percent admit they really don’t know what they’re talking about, but nearly the same number (38%) double down on the lie and try to hold their ground.

The study, commissioned by Continental Tire and conducted by OnePoll, also discovered the most common people respondents fabricate their auto expertise to are vehicle salespeople (51%), parents (49%), and mechanics (48%).

Doing your auto homework can clear up car headaches

This lack of knowledge can keep drivers from taking their vehicles in for timely repairs. Fifty-seven percent say they’ll wait weeks before bringing their vehicle in for an estimate — even if they know there’s something wrong with their ride.

One in ten admit they’ll wait five weeks or more before finally bringing their vehicle into an expert. Once they finally make an appointment to get their car checked out, respondents still have work to do. Two in five (42%) research repair prices online before they take their vehicle into the shop.

It’s no wonder seven in ten (69%) feel more confident walking into an auto shop if they’ve done research online. Just doing a few searches makes respondents feel better even if they don’t fully understand what they read. Two in three have done auto repair research online and say they still feel confused after.

Auto Knowledge

Almost half of respondents (48%) call or ask someone for a second opinion about their vehicle’s potential prognosis. Of those who want to hear an opinion about their ride from someone they trust, 53 percent ask their partner while 49 percent call up a sibling.

Tire trouble

Researchers find respondents are equally at a loss regarding auto basics as they are with big repairs. One in two (52%) could not confidently check a tire’s pressure without looking up instructions. Fifty-three percent wouldn’t know where to start to check their oil either.

Three in five don’t have confidence in their tire knowledge at all. Meanwhile, the same number can’t identify the driver’s side door as the place to look for a car’s tire size. Nearly one in four (23%) would immediately scour the internet for tire info they didn’t know and one in five would start scrolling social media for answers.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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