Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why Every Man should be a Mr Fixit

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!


Susanne said...

Indicator thingy sounds good to me! What I really liked was "windscreen." :-)

Great post and you seem a lot like my dad in your thinking about vehicles. It's a shame they are so complicated to fix and maintain nowadays. :-/

Occasional Professor Tom said...

I've been known to do this from time to time. Probably my greatest triumph is to splice in a new tail light socket, since the one intended for my car was impossible to get.

Well, good to see this hasn't totally turned into a spam blog. I was worried after the last few posts. Are you planning on covering the MA senate race?

Roland Hulme said...

Hi Susanne! I considered changing it to 'windshield' but I thought: "No! I should be true to my roots!"

Tom! Splicing of any kind sounds far more involved. I made the turn signal thing sound terribly complicated (and it took a long time for me to work out what to do) but actually it was pretty much replacing a fuse-type thing.

But not a fuse, no. A fuse type thing. It was round.

And, yes, apologies for the processed meat product of some previous blog posts. Normal service will resume shortly.

mre30seattle said...

Good for you Roland!! Being a car owner from an early age I had to learn to do my own work. I couldnt afford a shop.

Newer cars are tough. They require so much more than just some tools and a book from the local parts store.

At 24, my "Jake" still requires special tools from the manufacturer and I have yet to find a decent book about him yet. So my first round with him was spent in a shop.

Auto electrics can be tough. So much wiring in such a spall area.

Good luck with the Locomotive and may it give you many years of motouring happines.