Fixing My Car (part 1)

Problem #1: A friend of mine backed into my car and created a huge dent in the front bumper. Estimate: $600+ Fuck that.

Problem #2: I backed into a truck while babysitting. The kids were shocked, and I swore I’d get them dessert if they never told anyone it’d happened. They ate their desserts and told everyone. Estimate: $600+ Fuck that.

Problem #3: The A/C broke three years ago. The first place charged me over $100 (Canterbury Texaco, whose owner frequently stars in the comic strip Pluggers, seriously) to fix it. It wasn’t fixed, but they insisted it was as good as new. The second place (Toyota of Greenfield) charged nearly as much just to look at it and insist that it would cost them $900 more to fix it. They said that the A/C clutch was missing, that it couldn’t just fall out, and that they had no idea how the hell it could have disappeared. Back at Canterbury Texaco, when I asked if perhaps they might have forgotten to put it back in they angrily told me that it’s impossible to forget to put in a clutch, that the belt is attached to it and the whole car wouldn’t work if they’d forgotten it. Who am I to argue with anyone larger than me? So, that was that. Fuck that.

Problem #4: Accessory belt getting worn and cracked. Estimate: $200+ fuck that.

Problem #5: Changing the oil. Estimate: $40 fuck that.

Problem #6: The cops have pulled me over three times for a missing headlight. And my tires need to be rotated. Estimate: 150 years in prison. fuck that.

Total cost estimates: $2340 and 150 years in prison.

Problem #6: This is the one I tackled first. My roommates all promised to help me, but none of them would. I finally gathered all my courage and bought the headlight.

1. Aren’t I lucky to have the hands of a ballerina?
2. Figure out which of the headlights is missing. This is the hard part, because I still have a difficult time figuring out which knob controls which string on a guitar. But eventually I did it. Now, it’s facing downwards, I mean, the wires and plasticy bits. So I rotated them in whichever direction worked, and with lots of effort, pulled the fixture out. Hooray!
3. Taking this bulb off the fixture involves pulling up a little clip and yanking hard, and you can touch it any which way you want, I suppose, since it’s just going to be disposed of (properly–…of course).
4. Putting the new bulb into the fixture is more complicated because you can’t actually TOUCH the bulb itself, for god knows what reason, but that’s just how it is. And then you push it in, underneath the clip, and then back in the hole it goes and you twist the fixture back to how it was when you found it. And now, now the police aren’t going to stop you every night on your way home from the bars. Phew.

1. If you want to know what to get me for my birthday, get me a tire iron that’s in the shape of a cross, well, a Swiss cross, whatever that’s called. Because my pupsik little tire iron is useless when paired with my pupsik little arms. And the hubcaps are difficult to get off because they’re plastic and feel like they’re going to crack when I begin prying them off. So the best way is to just use both hands and stick out my arse and waggle it a whole lot until they just come off and I fall over.

2. The lug nuts are easy to get off with a decent tire iron. But the big catch is where the car is…I mean, in relation to the earth. Even with the parking brake on and the thing in first gear, two of the tires still roll easily, and the other two roll enough to make it impossible to get the fucking lug nuts off. This means that the car has to be touching the ground when you’re loosening them. And then it can be jacked up. So…here’s the Michael’s lesson on jacking up a car:

3. On the back side, the lift’s arms have to be…well, shit, I can’t remember. Maybe it’s the front side that has the ‘nubs’–and on the nubbiest parts of the nubs, that’s where the front arms go. And on the back, they’ve gotta go near the wheels, actually, in a spot that seems pretty dangerous. And then up the car goes by pushing the green button. And once it’s off the ground a little bit, you grab the car and shake it like it’s a baby, just to make sure it’s on there real solid. And then you push the green button until it’s at the height you want it, which isn’t particularly high unless you enjoy lifting tires way off the ground. Once it gets there you use the black lever to drop it until it hits the spot where it locks. And then it’s locked. Maybe I’ve gotten the order wrong. Be careful.

4. Take the tires off. Michael’s recommendation is to move the front ones diagonally to the back and the back ones directly forward.





Placing the lug nuts back on requires tightening them in the same fashion as when one tunes a drum, that is, in diagonals. Furthermore, they may need to be retightened after driving them around a bit.

Yay. So, especially since I just became righteously lightheaded, but my brother is friends with Danni Rosner and so we’re listening to her music right now.

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