One of my New Year's Resolutions was to 'become a mechanic' and so far I'm doing pretty well at it.
I've replaced the indicator thingy on The Locomotive [Is 'thingie' the official term for it? - Editorial Bear] replaced a headlight and just triumphantly changed the windscreen wipers. That last one was the trickiest!
But the simply truth is; it's a good habit to be getting into.
From Charleston to Chicago auto repair is an increasingly expensive business. Repairing my own turn signals, for example, cost me $8 in parts - but would have been around $50 if I'd taken it to a shop!
Admittedly, it took me about a week to finally figure out how to do it (electrics have never been my strong suit) but I did do it. And although it's pathetic, I felt a totally disproportionate sense of accomplishment for doing so!
I used to change the oil of my old Triumph TR7 and fiddle about beneath the hood of my Pontiac Firebird; largely because I felt there was something innately masculine about knowing a thing or two about cars. I'm hardly a mechanic, but I do think it's more than just financially and emotionally rewarding figuring out simple auto-repairs - it's also kind of fun.
But the problem is, it's not so easy to fix modern cars - one of the reasons I refuse to drive anything that's not over the age of consent (21 years, for the record.)
Most repairs on a twenty-year-old car are approachable even for manual-in-one-hand-screwdriver-in-the-other mechanics like me. Changing a water pump on a modern-day Toyota Corolla, on the other hand, pretty much requires a $20,000 computer and an engineering degree these days.
So, men of the world - join me as I try to teach myself more about mechanics. You never know when you might need that knowledge!