My father was a strong Catholic who worshipped one God, most of the time, as long as the mechanical heap he was driving didn't get a flat, or a hole in it's radiator, or a squealing belt, a wobbly sort of frame, an oil spewing gasket. You get the picture.
When those things occurred, and they did fairly often in our household as extra money for newer cars didn't exist, my father would make reference to another power. One that waived about a large pair of channellock pliers in his omnipresent hands-one known as-The Car god. (Sorry, too many years in parochial school for me to be able to capitalize the "g" in any other god, even one with greasy hands and the breath of antifreeze.)
Dad would rationalize that our cars broke down when perhaps we had been negligent about making appropriate sacrifices to that ever lurking Car god. One who had the power to both inflict, and relieve vehicular injury. But, he also believed in the law of averages. After a run in breakdowns, he knew a good streak was due to follow, and when it arrived he enjoyed it. Often by driving too fast and picking up too many hitchhikers. He never could never pass up a fellow on the side of the road with his thumb out.
This past month Keith and have been slammed with car/truck repairs and we're wondering ourselves, what have we done to tick off the car god? First my little car needed new brakes, then a new power steering belt. Then last week my car started spewing transmission fluid as I motored down the road. A few days later Keith's truck sputtered, coughed and gagged while he was delivering a load of hay for a friend of ours.
Expenses were piling up. What could we afford to repair and what could wait? Could we dump my Dodge Neon with its 217,000 miles and just get by with Keith's fifteen year old truck? Were we healthy enough to chuck both cars and just walk the ten miles to the nearest grocery store?
We decided to try our hand at mechanical repair ourselves after getting the $300 estimate to fix the transmission fluid issue on my car. Turned out hoses and a new radiator was needed. Keith has many, many talents but he is the first to admit he's not so good with engines. But he talked with our repairman, ordered the new pieces, grabbed me for assist (I am really good at holding bolts and pointing out where one doohickey doesn't look like the same doohickey we removed and now replaced) crossed his fingers, and slid himself under my car.
It took us a couple hours, but we did it. We replaced the radiator in my car, and nobody died. Even filled it with antifreeze AND connected all the right hoses AND replaced all the transmission fluid lost. Know what that darn car did? It ran, just great, and still is a week later. We were so fortunate that it was super warm that day, we didn't miss our old machine shed with shop quite so much.
|Shiny new radiator in place|
What about the truck you ask? We decided not to push our luck and took it into the garage yesterday. We'd hate to totally tick off said car god with our mechanical independence.
So tell me. Who does their own car repairs? Oil changes? Tire rotations? Can you even fill the tank with gas or do you bribe the fellow at the station to do it for you?